JazzRevel in

Learn from accomplished faculty and guest artists as you study jazz at Friends University.

The perfect place to start.

Your interest in jazz has a future with Friends University. You’ll be prepared to pursue professional instruction or performance, while establishing a firm intellectual foundation and boundless artistic development.

Start your future in music.

The Friends University Jazz Department provides unique opportunities for playing and studying jazz in an intimate setting. Applied instruction in improvisation is offered for all jazz instruments. The annual jazz festival hosts high school students from across Kansas to work with leading jazz educators and to hear world-class concerts featuring celebrity guest artists.

Program Highlights

Your passion for music.

The Bachelor of Music in Performance degree offers majors in vocal and instrumental areas (keyboard, woodwinds, brass, strings, jazz, and percussion).

Scholarships Available

Music scholarships are awarded on the basis of audition regardless of degree program. These awards include special scholarships such as the Sebits Jazz Scholarship.

Exceptional Opportunities

Friends University affords exceptional opportunities to undergraduate students including guest artist masterclasses, student conducting, accompanying, ensemble section leading, and hands-on management.

Jazz Events

Annual events include the Jazz Festival, the Miller Solo Competition, and the Sebits Jazz Guest Artist Series.

Apply for a scholarship or schedule an audition.

Jazz Ensembles

Where the fun begins.

Participation in ensembles fulfills degree and scholarship requirements, and provides an opportunity for both the development of solo and group performance skills, and the integration of applied and academic studies. Ensembles provide a supportive community of excellence to foster professional and personal growth and to represent the university.”

  • Large Instrumental Jazz EnsemblesThe Friends University Jazz Department offers three large Instrumental Ensembles including the Concert Jazz Band, Conjunto Latino and the Jazz Lab Band. Open to all with audition, these bands perform a variety of repertoire and have performed at competitions in national and international jazz festivals.
  • Small Instrumental Jazz EnsemblesSmall Jazz Ensembles include the elite performing group, SOULstice, the Friends University Brass Band, and various jazz combos. Groups perform jazz standards, student compositions and other unconventional genres.
  • Jazz Vocal EnsembleThe Friends University Jazz Vocal Ensemble performs standard, traditional, and contemporary vocal jazz literature, both a cappella and accompanied. This select 12-voice ensemble offers intensive training in musicianship, vocal style, and performance skills. The Jazz Vocal Ensemble performs on campus, and throughout the state and region. Members of Concert Choir and Singing Quakers may audition. 

Featured Faculty

Renea Abdallah

Renea Abdallah

  • Jazz Bass
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M. Friends University; M.M. Wichita State University
Cindy Blasdel

Cindy Blasdel

  • Theory, Piano
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Friends Univeristy; M.M. Wichita State University
Jamie Knight

Dr. Jamie Knight

  • Assistant Professor of Piano
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Friends University; M.M., D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music
Shawn Knopp

Shawn M. Knopp

  • Assistant Professor Music Education & Band Director
  • Fine Arts
  • M.E., M.M., Kansas State University

Dr. Gary Leopold

  • Trumpet
  • Fine Arts
  • B.A., University of Kansas; M.M., Washington State University; D.M.A., Arizona State University
Nathanael May

Dr. Nathanael May

  • Professor of Music; Tim & Gail Buchanan Division Chair of Fine Arts
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., University of Wisconsin–Whitewater; M.M. Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester; D.M.A. University of Kansas
Nicholas Schroeder

Dr. Nicholas Schroeder

  • Assistant Professor of Music, Program Director of Jazz
  • Fine Arts
  • Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies, University of North Texas; Master of Music in Jazz Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Doctor of Musical Arts in Jazz Performance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Andrew Slater

Andrew Slater

  • Percussion
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Pittsburg State University; M.M., Wichita State University
Randall Zellers

Randall Zellers

  • Jazz Guitar
  • Fine Arts
  • B.M., Wichita State University; M.M., Wichita State University.

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