There’s no more unique form of American music than jazz, and the students at North Carolina Central University are learning to further its legacy.

NCCU students have embraced unique opportunities to explore jazz’s musical stylings, such as learning from the legendary saxophonist Branford Marsalis, who served as artist-in-residence last year, or performing at Lincoln Center earlier this year with famed saxophonist Jimmy Heath.

Ira Wiggins, associate professor and director of jazz studies, said the music department’s mission is to further the appreciation of such a unique form of music.

“The origins of the Jazz Art Form in terms of its foundations, innovations, major artists and composers were initially realized in the African-American community and is now recognized as “America’s Classical Music,” Wiggins said. “Therefore, it is essential that this academic pursuit maintain a presence on a campus such as NCCU for its preservation and perpetuation. This vital pursuit is particularly important given that jazz music is recognized as a national treasure that is valued and imitated internationally.”

NCCU offers a Bachelor’s of Music with a concentration in jazz, as well as a Masters in jazz.

“Advancing the scholarship around the rich legacy of jazz music is one of the most socially responsible principles that our music department can offer its students, alumni and community,” he said. “The Jazz Studies Program at North Carolina Central University is dedicated to fostering a quality education, shaping the future of aspiring musicians, and maintaining the integrity of a great art form.”

Written by Phillip Ramati



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