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BM in Music Performance: Jazz and Commercial Music

The  BM in Music Performance: Jazz and Commercial Music at West Virginia University  provides opportunities for students to perform and to expand on their skills as players and improvisers. Students are trained to know jazz repertoire and to embrace the jazz style while also looking to the future of music making through courses and ensembles. 

Apply now to the BM in Music Performance: Jazz and Commercial Music program

WVU jazz and commercial music students are trained to embrace technology, to strive for creativity in composition and arranging, and to develop their own leadership skills—all of this to be best prepared for a career in the modern music world. Students learn that jazz is not merely a destination but also a methodology for music making that can be applied to various types of creative and commercial music.

Rufus Reid, guest artist, working with students Faculty & Guest Artists

Students in the program learn from internationally recognized faculty who are currently active in the music industry:  Jared Sims (program director, jazz), Jeff Siegfried (saxophone), Robert Sears (trumpet), Hakeem Bilal (trombone), Shawn Purcell (guitar),  Brian Wolfe (percussion),  Alton Merrell (jazz piano), Paul Thompson (bass), and Lisa Bleil (voice).

A partial list of our recent jazz guest artists includes:  Allison Miller,  Rufus Reid,  Gary Smulyan,  Dick Oatts,  Matt Wilson,  Wycliffe Gordon,  Jazzmeia Horn, and  Tamir Hendelman.


Any WVU student regardless of major or degree program is invited to audition for our jazz ensembles. Our ensembles range from jazz trios and small combos to big bands. Jazz ensembles at WVU focus on traditional style and repertoire but also embrace jazz-adjacent styles such as funk and Afrobeat. Each year, jazz students also collaborate with and perform for the Mountaineer Honor Jazz Band, a two-day jazz experience for high school students. 

Jazz night at MBC Real life experience

Students have many opportunities to perform on and off campus. The WV Wine & Jazz Festival in the fall and a spring WVU Jazz Fest serve to bring the jazz community together. Our weekly Thursday Night Showcase features a rotation of student jazz combos and an open jam session that is both educational and enjoyable.

Expand your jazz education

The jazz and commercial music program curriculum is comprehensive and several degree programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels including  BM in Music Education and  BM in Music Composition degrees, along with a  Master of Music degree in Jazz PedagogyWe also offer a  minor in jazz studies that  provides skills and knowledge that enhance many other music degrees.