Associate of Arts Instrumental Track


Associate of Arts Instrumental Track

The CJC Associate of Arts Instrumental Track offers you an opportunity to earn your degree in Jazz Studies in two years, comprised of the first two years of CJC’s Bachelor of Music degree program. You can fast track your career in jazz at half the tuition cost.

You’ll work with a faculty of artist-educators in an in-depth program of jazz study and performance based on a 100% jazz-relevant curriculum, from core music courses to general studies requirements, a program focused on transforming students into professionals, musicians into artists.

Beyond the classroom, you’ll enjoy plentiful performance opportunities, including end-of-semester concerts, our Rising Stars Summer Series, as well as regularly scheduled performances and jam sessions at CJC and throughout the Bay Area.

CJC’s Blue and Green Ensembles provide advanced instrumentalists with an opportunity to strengthen musicianship skills, develop artistic sensibility, and serve as our jazz ambassadors.

CJC Associate of Arts Instrumental Track students enjoy multiple opportunities throughout the year to tour and compete in various jazz festivals across the country and around the world, including domestic stops at festivals in Monterey, Reno, El Cerrito and the Next Generation Jazz Festival and international performances in Montreux, Umbria, Scotland and Singapore

Recording opportunities are also offered year-round to CJC instrumentalists, with access to some of the world’s foremost recording facilities.

The California Jazz Conservatory is proud to offer these opportunities to the aspiring jazz instrumentalist, and we invite you to apply now for CJC’s Associate of Arts in Jazz Studies.


Curriculum Requirements

The CJC awards the Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies to instrumental students who satisfactorily complete 66-68 credits of study divided among:

  • Core music courses 42 credits (pianists) / 44 credits (non-pianists
  • Elective courses (6 credits)
  • General studies courses (18 credits)


Residency Requirements:

Instrumentalists are required to complete a minimum of 17 credits in residence during their third and fourth semesters at the CJC.



Students are required to take two juries over the course of their studies at the CJC: the first at the end of the first year, and the second at the end of the second year. The purpose of these juries is to evaluate students’ progress in private instruction, and to confirm their mastery of the material covered in the Jazz Theory and Improvisation and Ear Training and Sight Singing curricula.


Students must take a jury when advancing in class level to continue their studies at the CJC. Class level is determined by the total number of credits earned towards their degree: students who have earned between 0 and 34 credits are considered Freshmen; students who have earned between 35 and 68 Credits are considered Sophomores.


Instrumentalists are required to take a total of 12 credits of performance ensembles including:

  • Jazz (4)
  • Afro-Caribbean (2)
  • Brazilian (2)
  • Indian (2)
  • Elective (2)

Instrumentalists may also use 4 Elective credits toward performance ensembles.

Students perform for the public a minimum of twice per year. Performances include concerts at the CJC, dates at clubs throughout the Bay Area, and appearances at specially scheduled events.

Additionally, students may attend concerts scheduled at the CJC throughout the year, free of charge. The CJC Concert Series features a range of local, national and international artists.


Core Music Courses / Instrumental Track

Instrumentalists are required to take 44 (non- pianists) / 42 (pianists) credits of the following Core Music Courses:

12 credits of stylistically varying performance ensembles over 4 semesters including:

  • Jazz Repertoire Ensemble (4 credits
of PRF100-400 series)
  • Latin American Ensemble
(2 credits of PRF030 series)
  • Brazilian Jazz Ensemble (2 credits of 040 series)
  • Indian Ensemble (2 credits of 050 series)
  • Ensemble of choice (2 credits)
  • 4 additional credits may be taken as Elective courses

Additional required Core courses include:

  • Ear Training and Sight-Singing (12 credits)
  • Keyboard Proficiency (2 credits)
  • Jazz Theory and Improvisation (12 credits)
  • Music Technology (2 credits);
  • Private Instruction
(4 credits)


Instrumentalists are required to complete 6 credits of elective courses. Students may transfer up to 5 degree-relevant elective credits from any accredited institution on a by-approval basis by the Dean of Instruction.


General Studies Courses:

Students are required to take 18 credits of General Studies courses. General Studies requirements include:

  • English Communication (6 credits)
  • Social Sciences (12 credits)

The CJC accepts the English Communication General Studies requirements from any accredited institution.

Tuition for General Studies courses at other institutions is additional.

Note: the Social Sciences requirement is not transferable from another institution. This requirement must be fulfilled at the CJC.


Keyboard Proficiency:

All students must demonstrate a basic level of keyboard proficiency to graduate, either by completing Beginning Piano for Non-Pianists and Jazz Piano for Non-Pianists, or by passing an equivalent keyboard proficiency exam.


Workshops and Master Classes:

Students have the opportunity to attend a broad range short-term workshops – two, free of charge – taught by local and visiting artists throughout the year. Students may schedule private lessons with visiting artists on a to-be-arranged basis between student and artist.