HL 041: The 1st Female Percussionist to Earn a BA in Music at Albany State
From a young age, Jazz Kelley dreamed of becoming a professional musician. Her passion for music led her to Albany State University, where she became the first female percussionist to earn a music degree at her school. After years of intensive training, Kelley is committed to teaching the next generation of music students.
When Kelley was in high school, she learned about Albany State University from a family friend. After taking a campus tour in 2010, Kelley knew that she wanted to go to ASU.
“I went there, and I remember going into the city. When we pulled up to the school, I saw the palm trees. Then I was like, that’s it, I’m sold, I’m coming. There’s no other school that I want to go to.”
After high school, Kelley moved to Albany where she enrolled in college as a music major. Kelley was a bass drummer in the ASU Marching Band, and when the band played at the 2016 Tournament of Roses Kelley got her first taste of life as a professional musician.
“That scenery when you’re marching down that street is so beautiful. We got to a point where you could see the mountains in the background, and the sun was just starting to come up, because it was really cold. It was clear skies, the sun was out, all these people are on each side. I mean thousands of people, and they’re just cheering you on.”
When Kelley wasn’t playing the bass drum, she was studying music theory and learning different instruments. After years of intensive study, Kelley became the first female percussionist to graduate from ASU with a bachelor’s degree in music.
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