Department of Music


The Missouri Western Music Department supports a comprehensive jazz program, offering university students the opportunity to participate in ensemble settings as well as classes in the jazz curriculum. Courses offered include jazz improvisation, jazz history, and jazz pedagogy, with ensembles including two big bands and combos. St. Joseph’s and Missouri Western’s close proximity to a major metro area also offers the students numerous opportunities to perform in the region, whether in university ensembles or their own groups. Since 2010, the MWSU Music Department has offered a Concentration in jazz, open to all music majors.

Jazz Ensemble

The Missouri Western State University Jazz Ensemble is one of two large jazz ensembles in the music program, and is the premier jazz group of the university. The Jazz Ensemble has a rich and deep heritage of giving outstanding performances across the Midwest.

Past Performances

  • Elmhurst Jazz Festival in Chicago
  • Wichita Jazz Festival
  • Mobile Jazz Festival
  • Missouri Music Educators Convention

Last year saw the Jazz Ensemble perform several times in the region as well as perform for the second time in three years at the Missouri Music Educators Conference. The MWSU Jazz Ensemble performs an eclectic mix of literature, ranging from the great classics of Duke Ellington and Count Basie, to new and original material by some of today’s leading writers. The MWSU Jazz Ensemble is conducted by Bob Long.

Jazz Lab

The Jazz Lab is the second of two big bands on the Missouri Western campus. The ensemble is open (through auditions) to any majors and non-majors on campus. The Jazz Lab’s focus is to further develop an appreciation and understanding of jazz literature written for this genre. A variety of literature will be covered, ranging from newer originals to historical transcriptions. The Jazz Lab gives 3 to 4 performances each school year. As the name implies, the Jazz Lab is also used as a lab band, and may have student directors (who are in Jazz Pedagogy) standing in front of the group at various times working on their conducting/rehearsing skills. Music majors on secondary instruments are also encouraged to take this ensemble. MWSU Lab Band is conducted by Steve Molloy.

Jazz Faculty

Audition/Scholarship Application