University of Maine at Augusta

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Jazz & Contemporary Music

Passionate About Professional Music?

Degrees Offered: B.M. and A.S.
Augusta Campus

UMA’s music program is Northern New England’s preeminent modern music education resource. We offer concentrations in Performance, Sonic Arts and Composition, Music Education and Audio Technology.

Our renowned faculty, progressive program content, multi-stylistic approaches, highly-personalized instruction, technical facilities, and extremely competitive tuition have made UMA the prime choice for dedicated music students with a contemporary focus.

Jazz and popular music are in the foreground in a forward-thinking program that prizes individual creativity and contemporary musical thinking.

Whatever your direction, UMA’s music program will have you ready to play!

For more information about Music at UMA, or to schedule a visit or an audition, contact the Program Coordinator, Professor Anita Jerosch, at  (207) 621-3179.


The Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the University of Maine at Augusta immerses its students in the music of today—jazz, rock, new classical—with an emphasis on creativity, technology, and careers.

Jazz-week-performance (1)Our program also offers many benefits often absent at larger institutions: an optimum teacher to student ratio, highly-personalized attention, and a supportive peer group. The environment is nurturing, motivating and relaxed—a perfect mix for ensuring an enjoyable learning experience, year after year.

Once you graduate, the array of careers is limited only by your own creativity. Perhaps your desire is to perform regionally or nationally, become a studio session player, or compose popular tunes or symphonic works. Maybe teaching music courses in elementary, high school or college-level institutions is your direction.

There is also the exciting world of music technology, with creative opportunities in recording, mastering, live sound, MIDI, broadcast media or sound track production. And for those with business interests, perhaps band and concert tour management, music and copyright law, promotion and marketing or even music instrument retail may be your career focus.

Music Concentrations

UMA Music insures a well-rounded and relevant education by providing a diverse array of concentration pathways including performance, composition, recording technology and music education.  Designed to address your future career vision, there’s a concentration interest for any student wanting to study at UMA.


Guitar, bass, keyboard, brass, woodwind, voice, percussion… or perhaps your instrument is violin or French horn. You came to play, and UMA provides! You will receive hours of hands-on performance opportunities every week. Lessons, ensembles, recitals, clinics and the acclaimed Jazz Week Concert Series at the end of each semester all contribute to the real-world experience you desire. And no matter what your stylistic direction or preferred instrument may be, you definitely have a home at UMA. Our broad performance diversity explores jazz, Latin, blues, modern rock, funk, fusion and popular music while embracing the important foundational idioms of Western classical styles. UMA’s Performance Concentration is the curriculum to master real-world contemporary music performance.

Performance Checksheet

Music Education

UMA has a long tradition of turning out competent, dedicated teachers who secure Maine State Certification and enjoy long and fruitful careers within elementary, high school and private institution environments.   Our Music Education concentration, much of which is available in an online format, provides both the skills and the qualifications you need to become a full-time music teacher.  UMA’s Music Concentration students have the advantage of being particularly skilled in the in-demand areas of jazz, popular music, and music technology, as well as being thoroughly trained in the expected traditional music areas.

Music Education Checksheet

Audio Recording

Your private studio creating personal projects. A local production facility generating band projects, TV and radio spots, and small film scores. The big scene in Nashville, Los Angeles, New York, where history-making music is recorded. Regardless of your aspirations being small town or big city oriented, to be a successful engineer, you need to build on the basics, and concisely develop your tracking, mixing, processing, mastering, production and editing skills. There is no better resource in northern New England for refining these skills than the Audio Technology Concentration at UMA. Big rooms, lots of mics, great outboard gear, Tascam™ and ProTools™ makes it all happen. Not to mention a horde of musicians on-site, ready to supply your projects with capable session players. Formalize your passion for recording at UMA!

Audio Recording Checksheet

Sonic Arts and Composition

Songwriting, jazz composition, contemporary classical composition, electronica and computer-based creations–our Sonic Arts and Composition Concentration opens the door for you to realize your creative visions and potential.  We recognize that composition, sound creation, and technology are wholly intertwined, and our curriculum and facilities equip you with both the compositional and technical skills you’ll need to make your mark in today’s multi-faceted music scene and marketplace.  Our versatile faculty provides broad-based composition studies encompassing and integrating jazz, popular and modern classical styles, and our students have access to both our primary Recording Studio and our fully-equipped Sonic Arts project studio.

Sonic Arts & Composition Checksheet

Dr. Mark Polishook

The Online Artist-in-Residence program brings together two different aspects of UMA’s unique history. First, it was one of the first universities in the nation with a music program focused on jazz and related contemporary musics. Second, it has long been a leader and an innovator in the overall field of distance education.

PolishookDr. Mark Polishook, a former full-time UMA faculty member with international accomplishments as a jazz pianist, composer, music technologist, and music educator is UMA’s first Online Artist-in-Residence.

Individuals with Artist-in-Residence status will work within the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program to develop and deliver programs that innovatively meet the needs of music students and professionals in Maine and around the globe. For example, Dr. Polishook—through the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program—offers:

  • degree and non-degree students the opportunity to earn university credits in piano, improvisation, and music technology through individual instruction on Skype
  • group lessons and workshop and consultation services over Skype for music educators who wish to broaden and extend their approach to teaching jazz and improvisation
  • music educators the opportunity to earn re-certification credits through instruction over Skype in piano, improvisation (for all instruments), or music technology

For more information about Online Artist-in-Residence possibilities through the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program contact Dr. Mark Polishook at or Professor Anita Jerosch at

For more information about Dr. Polishook and his international teaching practice visit his website at

UMA Audition Requirements

For all Bachelor of Music applications, we require you to complete a live audition and interview.  We recognize that each one of our students is a unique individual and we want you to show your strengths when you audition with us.  While there is a general format for the audition, we use this opportunity to assess your potential to succeed in our program, rather than just to check a list of requirements.  UMA considers all applicants for both admission and scholarships during the audition process.

Generally, we anticipate an audition to consist of two contrasting songs, whether you play, sing or compose. We also typically hear some technical material, such as scales and offer auditioning students the opportunity to sight read.  You may elect to improvise on one or both of the pieces, but that’s not mandatory.

Theory Placement Testing

We want to place you in the music theory class that’s going to be best for you.  As an incoming student, you should plan to take a brief music theory placement test on topics such as key signatures, intervals, and chords. Or, if you have little or no formal theory background, that’s OK–plan on taking our “from the ground up” Fundamentals of Music class.

To Learn More

For more information about Music at UMA, or to schedule a visit or an audition, contact the Program Coordinator, Professor Anita Jerosch, at  (207) 621-3179