Jazz Studies


The Jazz Studies program at Cal State LA offers a highly stimulating, challenging, and ultimately inspiring creative environment designed to prepare students to become the successful jazz performers, educators, and recording artists of tomorrow.

Cal State LA's Jazz Studies faculty invites you to not only come and study the jazz tradition, but also, to bring your unique musical, cultural, and ethnic background, whether it be blues-based, Afro-Cuban, R&B, rock, Salsa, hip-hop, Brazilian, funk, "world music" (e.g., African, Asian, or Indian), or of course, any of the many jazz styles such as bebop, hard bop, Bossa Nova, or fusion. As you immerse yourself in deep study of the jazz tradition and interact with faculty and your fellow students, your creativity will flow naturally and, as you incorporate your core identity into your music, you will find your voice. And, to remain vital, "jazz" needs you to make your unique contribution and help shape the future of this great tradition.

The Jazz Studies program at Cal State LA is an ideal choice for the jazz student not only because of its excellent faculty, strong commitment to student success, and wealth of additional resources; California State University, Los Angeles is itself an excellent urban university centrally located in the heart of vibrant, multicultural Los Angeles. The Cal State LA Jazz Studies program is thus ideally positioned to be the fertile training ground for the jazz musicians of tomorrow.

Audition Requirements

An audition is required for admission into the BM in Jazz Studies. More information about applying to Cal State LA and the audition process may be found by clicking here.

Please contact the Jazz Studies area coordinator, Dr. James Ford, with any additional questions.

Ensemble Opportunities

Jazz Orchestra

The Cal State LA Jazz Orchestra has a proud tradition of producing well-known jazz professionals who are respected for their musical creativity. From its earliest years Cal State LA has had a vibrant jazz program. Many of our alumni have gone on to jazz careers as performers, composers, arrangers, producers and educators. Under current director, Dr. James Ford, the Jazz Orchestra continues this tradition. The ensemble performs regularly drawing from the established standard repertoire developed over the long history of jazz orchestra music in the United States. Students in the ensemble also have the opportunity to perform new and original charts by significant jazz composers and arrangers, as well as original work by our own students.

Jazz Combos

Jazz Combos at Cal State LA are as varied as the musicians who comprise them. Open to any Cal State LA student by audition, the combo experience provides an environment where students can refine their skills as improvisers and performers in a collaborative music making environment that encourages exploration and innovation. The jazz combos are directed by Dr. James Ford.