As an Instrumental Performance major at UArts, you can choose to learn one or many instruments, including bass, drumset, guitar, hand drumming, percussion, piano, saxophone, strings, trombone, trumpet, vibes and woodwind. If you consider your instrument to be a true extension of yourself and your personality, and if jazz or contemporary musical performance is what you want to do for a living and you're a creative and critical thinker, the Instrumental Performance program at the University of the Arts will put you on the right track to become a professional touring and recording musician, arranger, producer, or music director.

  • Student Experience
  • Faculty Spotlight
  • Curriculum
  • Alumni & Careers
  • Gallery

At UArts, you'll develop your individual musical voice as you learn the fundamentals through hands-on education and private lessons with our professional performing and recording artist faculty. You'll get exposure to all styles and genres of music while having the flexibility to focus on your particular niche. There are lots of opportunities for collaboration and concert performances – with other Instrumental Performance students as well as with guest performers and students in the Vocal Performance, Dance and Theater programs.


Click the images below to read more.

    SHot of Matt Gallagher playing trumpet, dressed in all black.
    Matt Gallagher

    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Renowned trumpeter, director of "Z" Big Band (named top college jazz band in US)
    Headshot of Chris Farr with gold-tone tenor saxophone, purple shirt, glasses
    Chris Farr

    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Sought-after sax player, has performed with Rihanna, Eminem, The Roots, John Legend
    JArred Antonacci playing trombone
    Jarred Antonacci

    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Has played with R Kelly, Wynton Marsalis, Aretha Franklin, The Philly Pops, The Temptations

    Sample Courses in the Instrumental Performance Major

    First Year
    Applied Instrumental Performance Instruction
    Level 400 Ensemble
    Music Theory
    Creative Practices

    Second Year
    Applied Instrumental Performance Instruction 
    Jazz Musicianship  
    Jazz Theory 
    Classical Jazz Piano
    Jazz Improvisation

    Third Year
    Applied Instrumental Performance Instruction 
    Level 400 Ensemble
    Jazz Musicianship
    Jazz Improvisation
    Advanced Theory

    Fourth Year
    Applied Instrumental Performance Instruction
    Advanced Musicianship
    Creative Composition
    Senior Recital
    World Music

    About the Curriculum

    The Instrumental Performance curriculum provides a direct and practical education for students interested in establishing a career in jazz and/or contemporary music.  The core of this curriculum includes theory and musicianship, piano, improvisation, technology, and music business.  Additional study topics include recording, acoustics, orchestration, arranging, and an array of music history and literature courses. 

    Students receive weekly, one-hour private lessons in their major area with renowned artist teachers. Ensemble and performance opportunities play a critical part in the student’s education by sharpening technical and improvisation skills and increasing the student’s command of repertoire and styles.

    Areas of Concentration:  Clarinet, Saxophone, Woodwinds, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Guitar, Electric and/or Upright Bass, Violin, Cello, Percussion, Drums, Hand Drums, Vibes, Piano, Flute

    Woodwind majors may elect to enroll in a woodwind specialist program that includes the study of various woodwind instruments.

    Students successfully completing the Instrumental Performance program will demonstrate:

    • Strong technique and artistry through the study of varied repertoire and technique exercises;
    • Knowledge and understanding of contemporary and traditional music theory;
    • Knowledge of fundamental aural skills through singing, sight-reading, dictation and solo transcription;
    • Understanding of jazz forms, improvisational concepts, and how to apply them to a broad range of musical styles;
    • Ability to collaborate artistically with other performers, both vocal and instrumental, as a performer, arranger, creator and leader;
    • Ability to compose, orchestrate and create musical arrangements;
    • Knowledge of current technological applications to assist in the creation of one’s art.

    To earn the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Jazz Studies: Instrumental Performance, students will complete a total of 129 credits as follows:

    • 61.5 credits in the Instrumental Performance Major
    • 4.5 credits in Creative Practices and Collaborative Studio
    • 9 credits in Music History
    • 33 credits in the Liberal Arts
    • 21 credits in free Electives

    Click the images below to read more.

    Adam Blackstone playing bass guitar in studio, wearing black baseball cap, black shirt and jeans
    Adam Blackstone


    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Bassist, music director for Rihanna, Justin Timberlake, Maroon 5
    Head shot of Dan Berkery
    Dan Berkery

    BM Performance ‘11, MM Jazz Studies ‘12

    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Drummer for Broadway shows Hamilton, Book of Mormon, Dear Evan Hansen, Wicked, Avenue Q
    Nick Bockrath playing guitar with Cage the Elephant
    Nick Bockrath

    BM '10

    Music - Instrumental Performance
    Lead guitarist for Grammy-winning band Cage the Elephant



    School of Music: Blues Ensemble

    Get Started

    Start your application

    Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

    Apply Now

    See UArts for yourself

    The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.

    Plan Your Visit

    Not sure where to start?

    We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.

    Request More Information