Gretchen Valade Graduate Teaching Assistantship in Jazz


The Gretchen Valade Graduate Teaching Assistantship will be awarded to an outstanding graduate student pursuing the Masters of Music in Jazz Performance at Wayne State University. Candidates will be identified through an application, audition, interview, and review of scores/recordings as appropriate. The Assistantship will be awarded to the candidate who displays exceptional artistry, academic excellence, professionalism, and potential for growth.

The scholarship recipient's work will be directed by the Gretchen Valade Endowed Chair in Jazz and will include jazz performance/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.


1. Apply to Wayne State University - Apply and be accepted to the University through Graduate Admissions
2. Submit an Audition/Interview Request Form by the February 22, 2021.
3. Submit audition materials by March 1, 2021. Upon approval of your Audition Request Form you will be notified (usually within 48 hours) of your approval and provided instructions for uploading your audition materials online.
Uploaded materials must include:
  • Letter of interest
  • Resume
  • Sample of work (video, audio samples, scores, etc.) to demonstrate artistic accomplishment
  • Recorded Audition (click here to view requirements)
All auditioning students will submit a recorded audition on a principal instrument. For audition requirements please visit our Online Audition Requirements page. 
4. Participate in an online interview. In addition to your recorded audition, students will meet virtually with jazz faculty for an interview to discuss your goals, review your submitted audition materials and possible live playing of audition material.


Appointment Begins: August 2021

Stipend: Current first-year, nine-month contracts provide stipends from: $18,534.  In addition, students receive a full tuition scholarship up to 10 credits per fall and winter semester as well as medical, dental, and vision packages. 


  • Bachelor's degree in music,
  • 3.0 GPA, and
  • unconditional admission to the Graduate School.

Candidates may be asked to present an audition and/or a campus interview.

Deadline:  To be assured of consideration, candidates should complete the application and campus audition/interview by March 1, 2021.

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.

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

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.

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.