UTAustinX: UT.8.01x - Jazz Appreciation

Jazz Appreciation

Listen and learn about the artists, eras, and musical methods that make jazz a great original art form.


Louis Armstrong. Charlie Parker. John Coltrane. You’ve heard their names, but do you know what makes them great? In Jazz Appreciation, you will learn what these artists and many others contributed to America’s great original art form, revered the world over for its innovation and creativity. Jazz emerged during a time of tremendous change and upheaval in American society; this course will also discuss how its evolution both reflected and contributed to those changes.
Much more than a lecture series, Jazz Appreciation weaves in musical performances and examples that will deepen your understanding of the musical process and develop your ability to identify and analyze different jazz eras and great jazz soloists. It also incorporates cutting-edge adaptive learning technology that will allow you to practice your new knowledge and skills, at your own pace, until you reach mastery.
Join this course to enhance your enjoyment of jazz by developing an informed understanding and deep appreciation of the art. 
Before, during, and after the course, check out the official facebook page for announcements and discussions, at


Simply Audit this Course

Can't commit to all of the lectures, assignments, and tests? Audit this course and have complete access to all of the course material, tests, and the online discussion forum. You decide what and how much you want to do.

Try for a Certificate

Looking to test your mettle? Participate in all of the course's activities and abide by the edX Honor Code. If your work is satisfactory, you'll receive a personalized certificate to showcase your achievement.


Jeffrey Hellmer
Jeffrey Hellmer
Professor Jeff Hellmer is Director of Jazz Studies and University Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Texas of Austin. A two-time finalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, he has performed and taught jazz throughout the United States, and in Europe and Taiwan. His recording Peak Moments was declared an "exciting addition to the modern jazz piano catalog" by the All Music Guide. He has been a guest conductor and soloist for the Dallas Wind Symphony numerous times, and has led the UT Jazz Orchestra in appearances with many jazz masters including Kenny Garrett, Michael Brecker, and Chris Potter. He is co-author of the textbook Jazz Theory and Practice, and has published numerous compositions for jazz ensemble.
Alex Heitlinger
Alex Heitlinger
Composer and trombonist Alex Heitlinger has performed at music halls, clubs, and festivals across the United States, and around the world.  A successful bandleader for over a decade, he has released two critically-acclaimed recordings of original music, and his work as a freelance musician in New York, Boston, Denver, and Austin, has included gigs with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Birdland Big Band, New York Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, Darcy Argue's Secret Society, Slavic Soul Party, and Travis Sullivan's Bjorkestra. He is a 3-time winner of ASCAP's Young Jazz Composer Award. Alex holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the New England Conservatory of Music.  He is currently a DMA candidate in Jazz Composition at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has taught Jazz Appreciation, Beginning Improvisation, and directed various ensembles.  He is perhaps best known for being the creator of the viral YouTube video, "The Lick."
Gianni Bianchini
Gianni Bianchini
Gianni Bianchini was born in South Florida and began playing piano at age 4. After graduating from Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Gianni went to Florida International University where he played with Grammy winner Arturo Sandoval. He later graduated magna cum laude from the Berklee College of Music. He then received his master’s degree and held an adjunct teaching position at NYU, where he studied with Kenny Werner, Jean-Michel Pilc, Grammy winner Gil Goldstein, and Stefon Harris as well as playing with John Scofield. Gianni has performed with Ron McClure, Ralph Lalama, Duffy Jackson, and Bill Prince. Gianni is currently pursuing his DMA in Jazz Performance at the University of Texas at Austin, and is studying with Jeff Hellmer.
Daniel Dufour
Daniel Dufour
Daniel Dufour, raised in Willis, Texas, is a freelance percussionist whose influences cover many music genres of today. After receiving a Bachelor's Degree in Percussion Performance at Sam Houston State University, Daniel moved to Austin, Texas where he is currently pursuing his Master's Degree in Jazz Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. While living in Austin, Daniel has had the opportunity to play with many great musicians including Andre Hayward, Louis Gasca, Ephraim Owens, Elias Haslanger, Red Young, Pete Rodriguez, Peggy Stern, and Maria Schneider. His teachers include Jeff Hellmer, Wayne Salzmann II, John Mills, John Fremgen, and John Lane.
Leslie Hall
Leslie Hall
At UT's Center for Teaching and Learning, Leslie manages projects that integrate technology and high-quality pedagogy. Leslie has taught in the classroom and worked in education advocacy, policy and practice research, and program evaluation and implementation. She earned a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California at Berkeley and is also a proud alumna of UT Austin. 


None. No prior musical experience is required.
The course experience will be enhanced if music contained within the course is listened to through quality headphones or speakers.