With a focus on improvised music, the specialisation Jazz is individually adapted to each student. The core of the study programme is your main instrument with the goal of becoming a professional musician. We wish to facilitate the development of your own personal expression while at the same time allowing you to become a better musician and gain more knowledge about the architecture of music. Your study plan will be adapted to the direction you yourself wish to specialise in.
Our methodology is based on ear training and active use of the voice and body in the learning process. As a student, your curriculum will include subjects such as main instrument, music theory (ear training/improvisation and arranging/composition), ensemble, jazz history, second instrument, and much more. We offer many different choices, freedom and variety in your studies. In their 3rd and 4th year of study, students can choose from a wide range of subjects and thereby shape their own study profile. Popular elective courses for students specialising in jazz are ensemble/chamber music, second instrument and newer composition techniques for practicing musicians.
IPlaying together with others in different bands and ensembles is a hallmark of jazz and rhythmic music. Therefore, The Grieg Academy places great emphasis on ensemble playing, which is integrated into most of the subjects we offer, including theoretical subjects.
The study programme is designed to allow as much room for practice and performance as possible so our students can meet today’s high standards for performing musicians. In addition, we wish to develop students’ flexibility to enable them to master different musical situations. We offer solid working methods that provide students with the basis for learning throughout their careers.
A performing music education places high demands on the learning environment so students are able to fully benefit from their studies. In a stimulating environment, students learn a great deal by playing together. This type of peer-to-peer learning may perhaps be the most important factor in determining students’ development during and after their studies.
As a jazz student in Bergen, you will have ample opportunities to play concerts, both at the department and the city’s jazz clubs. Close cooperation with the region’s organised jazz scene has been an important factor in the study of jazz, and has included collaboration with West Norway Jazz Centre, Bergen Jazz Forum and Nattjazz from the very start. Thanks to this collaboration, today’s 2nd and 4th year students hold their exam concerts as part of Nattjazz’ programme. Additionally, students are given the opportunity to play professional concerts together with established jazz musicians. This is organised in a separate concert series we have called the GIG-Academy, in which students have collaborated with musicians such as Jon Eberson, Jon Pål Inderberg, Dag Arnesen, Kjetil Møster, Petter Wettre, Håvard, Wiik, Frank Jakobsen and Erlend Slettevoll.
Each academic year also includes a number of project weeks during which students are taught by our regular faculty members and outside musicians. The study environment has a strong international orientation, and names such as Jack DeJohnette, Steve Swallow, Kevin Dean, Jerry Bergonzi, Adam Nussbaum, Ellen Rowe, Mike Westbrook, Shannon Powell, Andy Sheppard and Marc Ducret have all been visiting guest instructors. In addition, we organise regular study trips to the United States for our teachers and students. This has included visits to New York and New Orleans, among other places.
Ever since our study programme was launched in 2004, our students have made a name for themselves in jazz, rock, pop and other forms of improvised music.
The department’s faculty members are active performers. Here is a Spotify list of some of the recordings our teachers have made. Further information about the teaching staff in our jazz programme can be found on the website of The Grieg Academy Research Group for Jazz and Improvised Music (GAIMPRO).