4-Year Program

The Music BFA program offers a broad and rigorous general musical education alongside highly individualized lesson instruction and mentoring. All undergraduate students engage in intensive shared training in musical techniques and concepts spanning classical, jazz, popular, electronic, and experimental styles, and both Western and non-Western musical cultures. They will graduate with experience in creating original work, ensemble performance, music notation and theory, professional development, and artistic metiers outside of music.

About the Specialization

Undergraduate students of jazz bass, guitar, keyboard, drums, brass, reeds, and in special cases for other instruments, jazz performance, develop their skills through major lessons, jazz forums, and a range of classes covering transcription, jazz improvisation, harmonic improvisation, keyboard theory, composition, arranging and jazz history, among other topics.

Intensive ensemble work includes performing with both a student jazz ensemble and a faculty jazz ensemble, West African Music and Dance ensembles, Balinese and Javanese Music and Dance ensembles, North Indian Music ensembles, Persian ensembles, and a variety of multi-focus and cross-genre groups in the School. Along the way, students build both concert and recording studio experience.

Mentors and faculty provide continuous musical guidance and collegial artistic advice throughout the BFA residency, as students develop the musical skills and creative voices they need to excel as professional jazz artists after finishing at CalArts.

All BFA jazz students are required to pass a Graduation Recital  in order to obtain the degree.

Full Curriculum

View Curriculum Requirements 

The Undergraduate Experience

CalArts is committed to providing a broad program of general education designed to enable students to consider aesthetic questions within larger socio-cultural, ethical and political contexts.

Learn more about the General Education curriculum

Interdisciplinary Opportunities

In addition to CalArts' rich and diverse community and naturally collaborative atmosphere, the Institute provides several programs of study that can be pursued concurrently with a student's chosen metier.

Music Theory Minor

The Minor is intended for undergraduate students who wish to receive advanced training and accreditation in Music Theory as a supplement to their major.

Music Theory Minor

Digital Arts Minor

The Minor is designed to help undergraduate students grasp the knowledge to build, engineer and design innovative custom systems.

Digital Arts Minor

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