Gretchen Valade Graduate Assistantship in Jazz

WSU jazz trumpet performanceGraduate Assistantship Available

For the 2023-2024 Academic Year

The Gretchen Valade Graduate Assistantship in Jazz is awarded to an outstanding graduate student pursuing a master's degree at Wayne State University. Candidates are identified through an application, audition, interview, and review of scores and/or recordings. The Assistantship is awarded to the candidate who displays exceptional artistry, academic excellence, professionalism, and potential for growth (these attributes comprise the hiring criteria). It includes a tuition scholarship, a stipend, and several additional benefits.

The recipient's work is directed by the Gretchen Valade Endowed Chair in Jazz and includes jazz performance and educational initiatives associated with the Gretchen Valade Jazz Center. Depending on the recipient's experience and background, the Gretchen Valade Graduate Assistant may be assigned composing/arranging for jazz ensembles and teaching/assisting combos, big band, jazz history, improvisation, theory, jazz arranging, or other Jazz Studies undergraduate courses.

Application Instructions

  1. Apply for admission to the Graduate School at Wayne State University. (Current students do not need to reapply for admission to the Graduate School. Instead, send an email with a letter of interest, and any additional materials, to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Music, Professor Duchan.)
  2. Apply for admission to a graduate program in the Department of Music through the Acceptd website. Be sure to check the box indicating that you wish to be considered for the Gretchen Valade Graduate Assistantship in Jazz and upload all required materials (see below). (Current students do not need to reapply for admission to the Department of Music through the Acceptd website. Instead, send an email with a letter of interest, and any additional materials, to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Music, Professor Duchan.)
  3. Participate in an interview with the jazz faculty, if you are invited. Selected applicants will be contacted directly to schedule. Interviews may be conducted in-person or virtually (via Zoom).
Required application materials include:
  • Letter of interest
  • Resume
  • Sample of work (video, audio samples, scores, etc.) to demonstrate artistic accomplishment
  • Recorded Audition on a principal instrument (click here to view requirements)

Assistantship Details

Appointment Begins: August 2023

Scholarship: Full tuition scholarship up to 10 credits for the Fall and Winter semesters. (Full-time graduate students take 8-9 credits per semester.)

Stipend & Benefits: Current first-year, nine-month contracts provide stipends from $18,534 as well as medical, dental, and vision packages. (This information is based on the 2021-2022 assistantship. Updated information will be posted here when it becomes available.)


  • bachelor's degree in music,
  • 3.0 GPA,
  • unconditional admission to the Graduate School, and
  • unconditional admission to the Department of Music.

Deadline: To be assured of full consideration, candidates should submit a completed application by Friday, March 24, 2023. Applications submitted after the deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Department of Music anticipates awarding the assistantship by the end of the Winter 2023 semester.

Inquiries may be directed to the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Music, Professor Duchan. Click here to send an email.

About Us

WSU - Our Students
Nearly 28,000 students call themselves Wayne State Warriors. WSU (a Carnegie I Research Institution) is home to students from nearly every state and 60 countries the most diverse student body among Michigan's 15 public universities and a microcosm of the real world.

The Department of Music
The Department of Music cultivates music as a contemporary and global art, grounded in a long historical tradition, by combining higher education with professional training and experience for its undergraduate and graduate/professional students. The Department offers students of music opportunities to learn, grow, and develop their skills and disciplines in an urban cultural setting. With close proximity to Detroit's cultural center, students have access to the resources of such premier institutions as the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Opera House, and Orchestra Hall. The long historical relationship between the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Department allows students to study and coach with exceptional guest artists and resident artist-faculty who are specialists in all musical styles and media.

Building on the strengths of its geographic and cultural setting, the Department maintains public access to its performances and degree programs, offers high-level professional and academic standards and unique creative and scholarly opportunities appropriate to a large research university, and cultivates a deep aesthetic understanding of music in our students and the larger urban arts community.

Jazz Studies
One of the oldest jazz studies degree programs in the country, Wayne State's Department of Music offers a Bachelor of Music in jazz studies and a Master of Music in jazz performance. With an emphasis on composition, arranging, and improvisation, the WSU jazz program challenges students in a competitive and rewarding environment in the heart of Detroit's Midtown Cultural Center. The jazz faculty is comprised of the leading jazz artists in the region who embody the extensive Detroit jazz tradition. Past WSU Students include; Kenny Burrell, Joe Henderson, Yusef Lateef, Pepper Adams, Donald Byrd, Rick Margitza, Alex Graham, Todd Carlon, and Nate Winn.

Wayne State has played host to a vast array of visiting jazz clinicians, including Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Randy Weston, Branford Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Chick Corea, John Clayton, Jon Faddis, Elvin Jones, Steve Houghton, Dave Liebman, Kenny Werner, Fareed Haque, Marvin Stam, and Woody Shaw. The Wayne State student Big Band performs regularly with many of these artists throughout Detroit and globally - Most recently, members of the WSU Big Band performed at the Panama Jazz Festival with Danilo Perez as part of the Detroit Panamanian Big Band. For specific program information, contact Christopher Collins, Valade Endowed Chair in Jazz and Director of Jazz Studies at

Gretchen Valade is a life-long supporter of Detroit with a deep passion for jazz and the artists who create and propagate the art form. She is the Chairman of the Board of Directors and primary sponsor of the Detroit Jazz Festival, founder and owner of the Dirty Dog Jazz Café and Mack Avenue Records, and visionary. Her love of jazz, education, and the Detroit legacy have been central to preserving and promoting all things jazz. She is recognized throughout the world as one of the most important and active patrons of this art form.

Non-Discrimination Statement
Wayne State University and the GEOC (Graduate Employees' Organizing Committee American Federation of Teachers) recognize an obligation and reaffirm by this Agreement their commitment to achieve equal employment opportunity, non-discrimination, and non-harassment within the University. Accordingly, it is agreed that, consistent with University policies, the University and members of the bargaining unit shall not discriminate or harass on the basis of race, color, veteran status, height, weight, ethnicity, religion, creed, political affiliation, political beliefs, membership in any social or political organization, national origin, caste, ancestry, marital/relationship or parental status, caregiver status (i.e. providing care for a dependent person), age, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, disability, or HIV status, of those capable of performing their professional duties. The preceding list is illustrative but not exhaustive. For the purpose of this agreement, discrimination applies both to incidents characterized as "disparate treatment" and "disparate impact." Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit Wayne State University from the application of bona fide occupational qualifications as may be appropriate or from taking such measures as may be permissible by law, to protect the health and safety of the University community.

last updated: 3/20/2023