1. Departments
  2. Roots, Jazz, and American Music

Curriculum: RJAM Undergraduates

Life isn’t an audition.

Any music school can make you a better player. Our interconnected courses are built to transform you intellectually, artistically, professionally, and individually. You’ll understand the roots of your music, freeing you to take it somewhere new. You’ll see how your training broadens your options, rather than narrowing them. You'll find your voice. And you'll enter the world with the same confidence you bring to the stage.

As an RJAM student, you’ll study with members of the SFJAZZ Collective, who form the core of our teaching faculty. You’ll also enjoy access to a vast array of world-class jazz artists in concerts and master classes. We’ll embrace a global, Afrocentric approach to the teaching of music theory and history. Most learning will occur in the context of small working ensembles, with multiple local and regional performance opportunities.

The RJAM Bachelor of Music experience embraces a weekly core of eight hours. Music history is customized to meet the needs of the developing jazz musician and is taught in a small class of 15 to 20 students. All other core skills, including improvisation, composition, and repertoire, are developed in the RJAM Seminar (your working ensemble), a comprehensive, sequential study of jazz styles through exposure to select jazz artists.

Jazz Fundamentals aims to introduce and develop skills in three areas including ear training for the jazz musician, jazz and commercial keyboard, and hand drumming and rhythms of the African Diaspora. African Roots of Jazz explores the African cultural lineage in American music, the aesthetics and performance practice of varying traditions of the African Diaspora in the Americas, and the preservation as well as the evolution of African music alongside its American descendants.

Jazz Composition students work with mentors such as Edward Simon and David Sánchez to hone their voices as composers while continuing to develop performance skills as members of a lab ensemble. In upperclass studies, composition students will have the opportunity to work with faculty and students in the Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) and Composition programs at SFCM, broadening the palette of professional possibilities for the future.

Applied study and access to a wide range of multi-disciplinary electives, including academic courses, round out the four-year bachelor's degree. Off campus, it is expected that students and their ensembles participate in the numerous opportunities provided through SFJAZZ and in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

Curriculum: Bachelor of Music in Roots, Jazz, and American Music
Credit Total: 136

Requirement Cr.
Private Instruction 32
Keyboard Skills 4
Humanities & Sciences 30
Musicianship & Music Theory 24
Music History & Literature 12
Professional Development 4
Ensemble 24
Electives 4
Winter Term 3 Years
Digital Portfolio 4 Years
Juries & Recitals N/A