Skip to Content

School of Music

  • jazz students in a recording session


21st century jazz education for the 21st century musician.

The Jazz Studies program focuses on creating dynamic, innovative 21st century music professionals who can improvise, compose, produce, arrange, engineer and succeed as independent artists in a rapidly shifting environment. 

Jazz education is global and builds success in whatever musical endeavors you choose to pursue, in any genre. Our world-class faculty offers real, unique educational experiences via undergraduate and graduate degree programs, diverse ensembles, and professional performance opportunities.

We offer three degree programs in jazz studies: Bachelor of Music, Master of Music in performance or composition and Doctoral minor.

Our graduates find work in commercial music as live and studio performers and as professional composers and arrangers.

Every year great jazz musicians come to UofSC to perform and work with the students. In the 2021-2022 academic year, our students had the opportunity to work with: Quentin E. Baxter, Mimi Jones, Justin Faulkner, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Jeff Coffin, Arcoris Sandoval, Summer Camargo, Tal Cohen, Lauren Sevian, Michael Feinberg, Tonina Saputo, Ryan Middagh and Jason Kush.

Past artists include luminaries like Louie Bellson, Steve Houghton, Marian McPartland, Bob Shephard, Steve Kujala, Bill Watrous, Marvin Stamm, Bill Holman, Jim McNeely, Randy Brecker, John Fedchock, Dick Oates, Dave Zoller, Ed Soph, Marcus Roberts Trio, The US Army Blues Band, Mark O'Connor and Hot Swing, The Andy LaVerne Trio, Benny Green and Russell Malone, Chris Potter, Patty Austin, Al Jarreau, The Mike Stern Trio and The Jeremy Kittel Band.

Visit UofSC Jazz Studies page

Auditions are required for students wanting to be jazz majors and students looking for scholarship money in the jazz studies program.

Jazz Faculty

Craig Butterfield

Craig Butterfield

Craig Butterfield is Professor of Double Bass and Jazz Studies. Butterfield has performed around the world as a jazz artist as well as classical musician and clinician, including touring and recording with the legendary Maynard Ferguson. Dr. Butterfield has recorded eight albums as leader or co-leader on the Summit and Centaur record labels. 

Colleen Clark

Colleen Clark

Drummer, composer, educator and bandleader, Dr. Colleen Clark is the first drummer and woman to earn a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Jazz Performance at the world-renowned University of North Texas, the oldest jazz institution in America. 

Lauren Meccia

Lauren Meccia

Lauren Meccia is director of jazz bands at the University of South Carolina and UofSC Aiken and instructor of saxophone at UofSC Aiken. She is the founder and director of the CSRA (Central Savannah River Area) New Horizons Band for senior adults in Aiken, SC and assistant director of the Congaree New Horizons Band in Columbia, SC.  

Matt White

Matt White

Trumpeter, Composer, Educator, and technologist Dr. Matthew White is a curious musician, often blurring the lines between musical styles and conventions. Before entering academia, he was a freelance and session musician in Nashville and Miami.

Mike Wilkinson

Michael Wilkinson

Michael Wilkinson is a versatile music educator and musician who doubles on tenor and bass trombone (as well as alto, contrabass and euphonium) and taught middle school band in Arizona in his “past life.” Equally at home in varied musical styles, he has played with the South Carolina Philharmonic and the Brass Band of Central Florida, as well as being a member of the newly-formed South Carolina Jazz Masterworks Ensemble. Michael released his first solo CD, “Wait for Me!” on Random Act Records in 2017, and is an S.E. Shires Trombone Artist.

Bert Ligon

Bert Ligon

Bert Ligon was director of jazz studies. Ligon has published several jazz books, and published several original compositions and arrangements for big band, jazz orchestra and steel drum ensembles.

a photo of Adam Knight

Adam Knight

Adam Knight is a dynamic, soulful, and versatile guitarist. He’s also an accomplished composer,  writing for jazz, rock, funk and fusion, in formats such as small combos, guitar ensembles and big band orchestras. Adam joined the School of Music faculty in 2022.


Jazz Events

Faculty Jazz Ensemble with Special Guest Mike Steinel

Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023

Location: See Description for Event Location.

Cost: Cost varies.

USC Jazz Festival Performance

Friday, Mar. 17, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: Free

USC Jazz Festival: Michael Dease with the Left Bank Big Band

Saturday, Mar. 18, 2023

Location: Koger Center for the Arts

Cost: Free

Kyle Bryant Graduate Jazz Guitar Recital

Sunday, Mar. 26, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

Kristopher Phelps Senior Jazz Drumset Recital

Tuesday, Mar. 28, 2023

Location: School of Music 206 Recital Hall

Cost: FREE

View the Calendar

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.