Welcome to the Furman Jazz Studies
website! We are proud to offer a wide variety of jazz courses and performing
ensembles. All of our courses and ensembles are open to all Furman students
regardless of major.
Matt Olson, Director of Jazz Studies
Steve Watson, jazz guitar and jazz combos
Keith Davis, piano
Ian Bracchitta, jazz bass
Justin Watt, drumset
Furman Jazz Ensemble
, under the direction of Matt Olson, performs traditional
and contemporary big band literature, entertaining groups with concerts on
campus and throughout the Southeast. The Jazz Ensemble also plays a number of
school outreach concerts each year. We are excited to release our first CD
during the 2014-15 school year.
Furman’s jazz program includes 3-4 smaller jazz
combos, which focus on small-group jazz performance and the art of jazz
- Fundamentals of Jazz Improvisation (Music 350) is an
entry-level jazz improvisation course. Students study the basic melodic and
harmonic shapes that are used by all jazz musicians, and also engage in a
transcription project as part of the course. The only prerequisite for this class
is an understanding of basic music theory and an interest in learning to
improvise. This course is a highly recommended elective for all music education
- Applied Jazz Improvisation (Music 351) is a private-lesson
based follow-up to Music 350.
- Introduction to Jazz (Music 102) is a course that examines
the history of jazz, focusing on the stylistic elements of the music, its
master musicians, and important recordings. This course also satisfies the Visual
and Performing Arts (VP) general education requirement.
- Jazz composition and arranging independent studies are
available for interested students.
- Private instruction in jazz guitar, jazz piano, bass, and
Recent Guest Artists
Joel Frahm, Byron Stripling, Chris Vadala, John Riley, Michael Mossman, Mike Kocour, Joel Spencer, Rick Simerly, Vern Sielert,
and Tim Coffman