Letter to Students Interested in the University Jazz Bands

Welcome, or welcome back, to Cal Poly!

I’m the new director of jazz studies at Cal Poly, so like many of you, am new to campus.

I was previously director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri and at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. I'm a composer and saxophonist, but enjoy teaching above all.

I’m so thrilled to have the opportunity to help students like you reach their full potential. I can’t wait to get started, and I look forward to hearing your audition!

About the University Jazz Bands:

There are two big bands — with vocalists — a vocal jazz ensemble, and numerous combos (small jazz groups), so there are ample opportunities to learn jazz by rote, by the blues, and through improvisation. The ensembles have an active performance schedule with three or more annual concerts in campus venues, plus a variety of other gigs both on and off campus.

  • Jazz Ensemble, one of two flagship ensembles, rehearses Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m.-noon 
  • Jazz Band, the training big band, rehearses Monday and Wednesday from 3:10-4:30 p.m.
  • Vocal Jazz Ensemble, the other flagship ensemble — as well as combo schedules — are by arrangement, and meet twice a week.
  • Students in the jazz program work with world class guest artists. In 2019, Grammy-award winners Peter Erskine and Joe Locke were visiting clinicians at Cal Poly.


Audition requirements are posted on the University Jazz Bands website. Any changes to the process will be announced with ample time for preparation.

Please email me with any questions. I look forward to communicating with you!

With best wishes,

Arthur White, Director of Jazz Studies
Office: (805) 756-5792