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Jazz & Contemporary Music

Mission Statement

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.


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, Assistant Professor Anita Jerosch, at  (207) 621-3179.

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.

UMA Jazz Week Logo

Each fall and spring semester, the Jazz and Contemporary Music Program hosts a week of superb concerts featuring both student and faculty performers. The four nights of performances are the semester culmination of the UMA Music Program. The next Jazz Week will be held December 1st through the 5th – check back for details as those dates approach. 

Spring 2015 Jazz Week Photo Gallery

For more information contact Richard Nelson at 207.621.3286 or

Online Artist-in-Residence Program

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.

Mark Polishook at a PianoDr. 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 recertification 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 Assistant Professor Anita Jerosch at

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

UMA's Steve Grover awarded 2014 Arts Visibility Grant

Steve GroverUMA Music faculty member and jazz composer/drummer Steve Grover was recently awarded a 2014 Arts Visibility Grant from the Maine Arts Commission to support the release of his new CD “Haiku”. The Maine Arts Commission is an independent state agency supported by The National Endowment For The Arts.

UMA’s Steve Grover’s new CD release

Featuring a stellar quartet of respected contemporary jazz artists, “Haiku” is the latest in a series of recordings that feature Grover’s own original compositions. In celebration of the new CD, Grover assembled Christine Correa, vocalist; Andrew Rathbun, saxophone; Frank Carlberg, piano; Sean Farias, bass; and Grover on drums for two recent performances: the first was at Bowdoin College on February 28, and another the following evening March 1 at The Portland Conservatory Of Music, sponsored by Dimensions In Jazz.  All of the musicians except Correa and Farias appear on the new CD. The program at each concert featured a generous selection of compositions from “Haiku”, as well as a portion of the song cycle “Blackbird Suite”, which won The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz/BMI Jazz Composers Competition in 1994.

In the liner notes to the CD, Grover cites the inspiration of the writers William Carlos Williams and Jack Kerouac, and goes on to say that “The music on this CD is an attempt to occupy a space between musical structures involving the use of language, and a freer musical language of the moment”.

Reviewing the CD for The Portland Phoenix, Sam Pfiefle writes, “It warrants your full attention…he deserves all the accolades, for the pieces he puts together as well as the musicians out of whom he coaxes great things…perhaps what Grover does best in his compositions is create moments where you can’t imagine anything else going on in the world but that particular instrument being played at that particular time.”

For more information about the CD Haiku by The Steve Grover Quartet, contact Steve at

For the complete “Haiku” review, go to

Steve also got a mention in the Portland Press Herald!

Sean Morin gets a 'shout out' from Rolling Stone

Sean Morin, UMA Songwriting Faculty Member (and Music Program graduate), featured in Rolling Stone as Music Director and guitarist in acclaimed Beatles performance. Sean, who transcribed all of the music and directed the rehearsals, is the guitarist on the left in the video at the bottom of the article.

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, Assistant Professor Anita Jerosch, at  (207) 621-3179