UCO Jazz Studies

Musicians wishing to take their jazz studies to a higher level will soon be able to do so at UCO. In the fall of 2007, the University of Central Oklahoma will begin offering graduate studies in jazz. It will be the only one of its kind in the state and has already aroused a tremendous interest. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education recently gave approval to UCO for the new program.

The Master of Music in Jazz Studies will have two distinct areas of specialization. The first area will be in Performance and will include a final Master’s Recital for each graduate student. The other area, Commercial Music Production, will be unique for a graduate program. This will teach students how to quickly compose, arrange, transcribe and adapt to varying musical demands. Technical aspects of modern music production, such as recording techniques, mixing and mastering techniques, and incorporating software/hardware components and much more will be taught in this area. After four semesters of coursework, the student will complete a commercially viable CD album.

Brian Gorrell, head of the Jazz Studies Division for the UCO School of Music, said Dr. Kent Kidwell and Lee Rucker deserve much of the credit for getting the program going. It took several years of planning and preparation.

“They built the jazz program up and I just stepped in and did my little part,” Gorrell said.

A native Oklahoman and graduate of UCO, Gorrell has been part of the teaching team since 2000.

“I am drawn to jazz music in particular, because it is the ultimate form of self-expression for me as a musician. (With jazz) you are not only the performer, but also the composer and arranger all at the same time. You t