Studying Jazz at Luther College

The jazz program at Luther College is an immersive experience in which students are able to develop their skills through multiple performance opportunities and rigorous coursework. Luther students have the opportunity to perform regularly with Luther’s two big bands, and a variety of additional informal performance opportunities are available through combos and jam-sessions. In jazz performance, there is an emphasis placed on individual expression, group identity, and collaborative acumen in the pursuit of swinging, soulful music-making.

Additionally, students who pursue jazz studies have the opportunity to sharpen their skills through applied improvisation lessons, improvisation classes, theory/arranging, and history courses. Whether you intend to be a music major or not, every aspect of the Jazz program at Luther is available to you.

If you are interested in developing critical jazz skills while experiencing the joyful and collaborative nature of jazz, Luther College is the place for you!

Luther is home to two jazz ensembles, open to students from any academic discipline.

  • Jazz Orchestra: One of the four principal touring ensembles at Luther that has a long legacy of excellence.
  • Jazz Band: An auditioned ensemble that gives students a solid foundation in numerous jazz styles from the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Mary Lou Williams to Latin Jazz and contemporary music.

Luther College Jazz Ensembles

Jazz Combos at Luther College offer students the opportunity to develop jazz performance skills through the study of improvisation, interaction, and rhythmic and time feel in the context of small groups. Listening and analysis of essential repertoire and recordings from the history of jazz is central. Combo students learn how to perform in a jam session environment while also expanding capabilities for arranging and composition.  An emphasis is placed on individual expression, group identity, and collaborative acumen in the pursuit of swinging, soulful music making.

Combos are formed by the students at the beginning of each semester and coached weekly by a faculty member. Each group is expected to perform at least two times during the semester. Students at every stage of learning participate in the combo program. Every semester, a variety of combos emerge with a range of experience levels and aesthetic priorities.

Check out Luther Jazz on YouTube!