Thursday, October 1, 2009

Introduction to the Jazz Vocal Program at The City College of New York

Hi everyone,

Since its creation in 2007, the BFA Jazz Vocal Program at The City College of New York has grown rapidly and is quickly becoming the premier place to study jazz singing in the New York metropolitan area. With that in mind, I thought I would take a moment to introduce myself and share with you some of the concepts we are trying to impart to our students.

Prior to my coming to CCNY in 2005, the jazz vocalists had the good fortune to study with the great Sheila Jordan, who shared her talent, expertise and pure jazz spirit with City College students for 27 years. Pianist Ray Gallon, Lecturer at CCNY, served as accompanist for Sheila's class – the Jazz Vocal Workshop – in recent years. I hope that I have created a curriculum that will help keep Sheila's flame alive in the hearts of future generations of jazz vocalists (header photo, l-r: Ray Gallon, Sheila Jordan, Suzanne Pittson).

Our third BFA jazz vocal class has now begun the newly designed jazz vocal sequence. As far as I can tell, CCNY is one of the few universities in the country where the vocal curriculum focuses on the development of vocabulary and language for improvisation. Of course, we offer performance classes, where practical performance tips are offered, but the cornerstone of our jazz vocal curriculum is the development of musical content, based on the transcription, assimilation, and application of melodic ideas.

I hope that through this blog, many young singers and their families will discover the jazz vocal program here at The City College of New York during the college application and audition process. Please feel free to consult the Music Department website – – where you can learn more about our incredible jazz faculty: Dan Carillo, Ray Gallon, Mike Holober, John Patitucci & Scott Reeves, and where much of the information you need about our programs is resident.

Musically Yours,

Suzanne Pittson

Assistant Professor of Jazz Vocal Studies


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