UConn Jazz Ensemble – Course Outline

Spring Semester, 2018

Course #: MUSI 1115, 5305, section 1 (one credit)
Rehearsal schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:45. Room: MUSB 102
Director: Earl MacDonald
Office: MUSB 207 Telephone: 486-0670

In keeping with the selective nature of the UConn jazz studies program and the music department as a whole, the UConn Jazz Ensemble, unlike the typical 17-piece big band seen at most academic institutions, ranges from nine to twelve instrumentalists. The comparatively small size of the ensemble makes off-campus performances practical and facilitates instruction in improvisation and musical interaction within rehearsals. Each semester the Jazz Ensemble focuses on the music of a specific composer, arranger or professional band. Past composers include Michael Abene, Phil Allen, Bill Cunliffe, Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Earl MacDonald, Rob McConnell, Jim McNeely, John Mills, Gerry Mulligan, Dave Rivello and Nathan Parker-Smith.

This semester we will prepare the 10tet music of Rob McConnell (1935 – 2010), the Canadian valve-trombonist, arranger and Grammy-award winning bandleader, best known for leading the Boss Brass.

The instructor’s goals in directing this ensemble remain the same as in past semesters:

  • nuture and develop skills in ensemble playing and the interpretation of notated music
  • acquaint students with the stylistic nuances of swing, through instruction, demonstration, and the study of recordings.
  • encourage the development of jazz improvisation, musicianship and interaction.
  • elevate the sight-reading abilities of the individual ensemble members.
  • expose the Music Education majors (future band teachers!) to jazz literature & rehearsal techniques.
  • inspire the students by inviting guest artists to campus or organizing off-campus field trips to see live jazz performances.
  • present exciting, well-programmed concerts of the highest caliber.
  • prepare the students for professional performance situations.
  • create a “buzz” of excitement at UConn!
  • have fun, playing great music!

On-campus performances:

  • Feb. 22 (Thurs.):  Jazz Showcase.  8PM. VDM.
  • April 21 (Sat.): UConn Jazz 10tet. 3 PM. VDM.
  • April 28 (Sat.): Spectrum Concert. 4 PM. Jorgensen.

Off-campus performances:

  • Feb. 14: Manchester High School Jazz Festival
  • April 16 or 23: Black-eyed Sally’s, Hartford, CT.

Jazz Ensemble Rehearsal & Performance Policies

  1. Students must be in attendance and on time at all rehearsals and performances. If sickness or an emergency situation requires that the student be absent from a rehearsal, the student must arrange for a substitute. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor in advance and get the music to the substitute. (It is also the responsibility of the student to get his/her music back from the substitute for the next rehearsal.) Failure to provide the substitute with the music for rehearsal, or failure to get the music back for the next rehearsal may result in the lowering of the student’s final grade. A message should be left at least one hour prior to the rehearsal at 486-0670. An unexcused absence will result in the lowering of the student’s grade. Students with three unexcused absences will be immediately dropped from the class and assigned an “F” for the semester. Only the instructor may determine what constitutes an “excused absence”. Repeated tardiness will result in a lowering of the student’s final grade.
  2. Performances scheduled after the semester begins will be mandatory for the student if no objection is raised at the time of the query. Any student who misses a performance without permission in advance from the instructor will be immediately dropped from the class and assigned an “F” for the semester.
  3. No food or drink (except water) is allowed in the rehearsal room.
  4. Cell phones are to be turned off and not used during rehearsals and performances. “Texting”during rehearsals is not permitted.
  5. Any music handed out to students during the semester is the sole responsibility of that student. Failure to return any music to the jazz department that was handed out during the year will require the student to pay for replacement of the missing music. When music is no longer available from the publisher, student will submit a complete part transcribed from the score utilizing a music notation program (Finale, Sibelius, etc.) NO EXCEPTIONS! Grades will not be issued until all music is returned.
  6. Students are expected to act responsibly and professionally at all rehearsals and performances. Concert attire is semi-formal: ties/coats for men. No tennis shoes, jeans, sunglasses or hats. At NO TIME are students permitted to drink alcohol at/before a jazz rehearsal or performance.


  • Class Participation: 40%
  • Repertoire (“spot checks”): 30%
  • Personal Achievement: 10%
  • Performances: 20%

Students with Disabilities

Please contact me during office hours to discuss academic accommodations that may be needed during the semester due to a documented disability.

The Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) engages in an interactive process with each student and reviews requests for accommodations on an individualized, case- by-case basis. Depending on the nature and functional limitations of a student’s documented disability, he/she may be eligible for academic accommodations. CSD collaborates with students and their faculty to coordinate approved accommodations and services for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a documented disability for which you wish to request academic accommodations and have not contacted the CSD, please do so as soon as possible. The CSD is located in Wilbur Cross, Room 204 and can be reached at (860) 486-2020 or at csd@uconn.edu. Detailed information regarding the process to request accommodations is available on the CSD website at www.csd.uconn.edu.For more information, contact: Kim McKeown at kimberly.mckeown@uconn.edu

Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Inappropriate Romantic Relationships

The University is committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination or discriminatory harassment directed toward any person or group within its community ­ students, employees, or visitors. Academic and professional excellence can flourish only when each member of our community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect. All members of the University community are responsible for the maintenance of an academic and work environment in which people are free to learn and work without fear of discrimination or discriminatory harassment. In addition, inappropriate romantic relationships can undermine the University1s mission when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their authority. To that end, and in accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits discrimination and discriminatory harassment, as well as inappropriate romantic relationships, and such behavior will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. More information is available at https://policy.uconn.edu/2015/12/29/policy-against-discrimination-harassment-and-related-interpersonal-violence/.

Sexual Assault Reporting Policy

To protect the campus community, all non-confidential University employees (including faculty) are required to report assaults they witness or are told about to the Office of Diversity & Equity under the Sexual Assault Response Policy. The University takes all reports with the utmost seriousness. Please be aware that while the information you provide will remain private, it will not be confidential and will be shared with University officials who can help. More information is available at https://titleix.uconn.edu/

Some useful telephone numbers:

  • Counseling and Mental Health Services: 486-4705 (after hours: 486-3427) www.cmhs.uconn.edu
  • Career Services: 486-3013 www.career.uconn.edu
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Services: 486-9431 www.aod.uconn.edu
  • Dean of Students Office: 486-3426 www.dos.uconn.edu

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