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Why Study Jazz Music?

Explore the important role of jazz in the music world as you hone your skills for instrumental performance. You'll study the rich history and influence of this American-born genre that has given rise to distinct styles that are heard around the world. Maximize and hone your talent at the university level, learning from professional musicians and gaining valuable stage experiences. Take the next step toward a career as a jazz musician in a variety of settings, from schools or churches to nonprofit organizations or jazz clubs.

Why North Park?

North Park University’s bachelor of arts in music with a concentration in instrumental jazz studies combines a foundation in classical musicianship and performance with focused study in jazz techniques, theory, and history. Whether you play a wind, string, or percussion instrument in the jazz style, you’ll have opportunities to explore additional subjects and disciplines that will enrich your understanding and practice of music while receiving expert coaching and personalized advising. Take advantage of Chicago’s vibrant music and performance scene as you reach your own educational and professional goals.

Careers in Jazz Music

  • Jazz musician
  • Popular music musician
  • Recording musician
  • Private instructor
  • Music critic
  • Music retailer


Personal Attention

Throughout your time here, your professors and coaches will help you prepare for a career as a professional musician. With a 13-to-1 student-faculty ratio, and most classes with under 20 students, faculty know you and give you personalized feedback to enhance your development as a musician and guidance for planning your next years of school. You’ll also participate in recitals and receive valuable critiques in all your lessons and courses.

Interesting Classes

Focus your music degree in instrumental jazz studies with coursework, ensemble participation, private lessons, and recitals. Specialized requirements and options include:

  • Jazz History
  • Jazz/Pop Theory
  • Arranging
  • Jazz Keyboard
  • Fourth-Year Recital

Learn more about the courses and requirements for this program.


Performance Opportunities

North Park’s signature ensembles include an instrumental jazz band and jazz ensemble, along with a student-led vocal jazz ensemble. You’ll participate in one or more of these groups and perform throughout the year both on- and off-campus. Special annual events also feature various choirs and instrumental groups, including the Fall Choral Concert, Festival of Lessons and Carols, Hymn Festival, and the opera or oratorio that is performed each spring.

Explore our ensemble options.

Meet the Faculty

As a jazz trumpeter himself, Dr. Joe Lill knows what young musicians need to succeed in the genre and walks alongside students as they discover the many options that the School of Music offers: access to world-class musicians, opportunities for performing in a variety of ensembles, and a great classroom education.

Learn more about Dr. Lill and the School of Music faculty.

Joe Lill, Music professor
Double Major

A BA in music is easily paired with a second major to prepare you for your ideal career. For example, a double major in music and business and economics or nonprofit management will give you the music knowledge and business acumen you need to work in a studio or performing organization. Other complementary majors include theatre and performance studies, media studies, history, creative writing, and psychology.

Beyond the Classroom

Take advantage of opportunities to expand your education outside the classroom through activities that include: