Dick Dunscomb

Dick Dunscomb

Professor Emeritus
Columbia College Chicago


J. Richard Dunscomb is one of the leading authorities in the field of Jazz music and music education. He has been recognized nationally and internationally as a guest conductor, author, adjudicator, clinician, and consultant. He has presented more than 200 workshops including conducting and jazz clinics throughout the United States, as well as Australia, Europe, Canada, Sweden, Japan and South America.

Throughout his career, Professor Dunscomb has been recognized with numerous honors and awards. The International Association of Jazz Educators elected Dunscomb to its Hall of Fame. The Midwest Clinic, an international band and orchestra clinic awarded Dunscomb the prestigious Medal of Honor. He also received numerous awards for his outstanding conducting, teaching and service from several universities. He was the North American Coordinator for the Montreux (Switzerland) International Jazz Festival for 18 years and has served as Executive Director of the Chicago Jazz Ensemble. 

His most recent publications include, with Dr. Willie Hill, Jr. “Jazz Pedagogy: The Jazz Educator’s Handbook and Resource Guide,” a publication designed to provide a foundation and structure to plan and implement a successful Jazz program, available from Alfred/Belwin Music. His newest publication is, “ JAZZ ZONE ...THE BEGINNING” a beginning jazz method for big bands, available from Print Music Source and J.W. Pepper.

Dunscomb is Professor Emeritus of Music at Columbia College Chicago.  He was Chair of the Music Department at Columbia College Chicago, the nation’s premiere visual, performing, media and communications arts college located in Chicago, Illinois for 11 years. He is Vice President of the board of directors for the Midwest Clinic, an annual event in Chicago, Illinois with more than 18,000 participants.  Dunscomb is also an educational consultant for the Conn-Selmer Company.

  Session Titles

Creating, Designing and Maintaining a Successful Jazz Education Program - Where Do I Start?


A workshop designed to provide a foundation and structure on which to build a successful jazz program. Topics include: We've never had a jazz program. How do I begin?, How to build a basic library of charts and resource materials?, What basic equipment do I need to purchase?, Should I begin with a big band or a combo?, What do I need to know about the rhythm section?, What do all those jazz terms mean?, and How do I start an improvisation program?

Jazz Rehearsal Techniques and Strategies


This session helps you make the most of your rehearsal time and provides everything you need to know to use your time efficiently and productively. Topics discussed include: The Right Set-Up, Warm-Up Materials, Correcting Problem Spots with Minimum Time & Effort, Jazz Articulation, Jazz Style, Developing & Maintaining Good Intonation, The Layering Technique, and a Director's Checklist of Rehearsal & Performance Techniques.

Jazz Rhythm Section Basics from Day One!


The foundation of a great jazz ensemble starts with the rhythm section. This workshop discusses the role of each instrument (Piano, Drum Set, Guitar) both individually and then collectively as a section. Topics include: Selecting the Right Equipment, Establishing & Maintaining a Groove, Understanding the Various Styles & Role of Each Instrument, Piano & Guitar Voicings, Bass Line Construction, Amp Settings, Handouts with Tips for Every Instrument.

Yes, You Can Teach Jazz!! “Hear it, Sing it, Play it”!


A dynamic workshop that teaches the methods used by the jazz greats. A great way to build and maintain a successful jazz program utilizing realistic approaches and practical solutions. Topics discussed include: The Art of Listening, Jazz Articulations, Jazz Styles, Rehearsal Techniques & Strategies, Success Through Selecting the Right Music and Teaching Jazz Concepts.