Faculty and Staff

Rob Tapper

Director of Jazz Studies, Professor of Trombone


Room 013 - Music Building
Office Hours

Please contact me at robert.tapper@umontana.edu to set up an appointment

Personal Summary

Rob Tapper is Professor of Trombone and Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Montana where he coordinates the Jazz Program, the UM Jazz Festival, UM Jazz Artist Series and the trombone studio. A relentless advocate for music education, Rob initiated the Spokane All-City Jazz Program 2001 and most recently the Missoula All-City Jazz Program for middle school & high school musicians in 2017. Rob created in 2014 the UM Jazz Artist Series bringing internationally recognized jazz musicians to campus such as Matt Wilson, Benny Green, Black Art Jazz Collective, Jeff Hamilton and others with the mission of performing as well as offering musical outreach to students and community. With the help of Missoula music educators, the Montana Jazz All-State weekend was created in 2018 encompassing high school musicians from across the state of Montana. Rob is in the Washington Music Education Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame and is proud to have received the University of Montana 2019 Community Engagement Award as well as the 2022 Arts Missoula Educator of the Year. Rob is currently Principal Trombone in the Missoula Symphony and is also a member of the Missoula Jazz Collective and Founder/Artistic Director of the Missoula Jazz Orchestra (MJO).



Eastman School of Music - M.M. in Jazz and Contemporary Media

University of New Hampshire - B.M. in Music Education

Courses Taught

Jazz Ensemble I

Jazz Band II

Jazz Improvisation

Applied Trombone

Jazz Arranging

Jazz Pedagogy

Trombone Choir

Small Group Coach


Teaching Experience

A native of Boston, Massachusetts, Rob is currently Assistant Professor of Trombone and Director of Jazz Activities at the University of Montana coordinating four big bands, eight small groups, an undergraduate Jazz Degree and the trombone studio. Previously he held a similar position at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA.

Field of Study

Classical Trombone

Jazz Improvisation

Jazz Pedagogy


Professional Experience

As an active performer and educator in both classical and jazz idioms, Rob has performed and adjudicated at many festivals, concert halls, universities and conferences in orchestral, jazz and commercial settings around the United States, Europe and Canada alongside some of the biggest names in the industry. Rob has had his compositions and arrangements commissioned and performed by numerous middle school, high school and college ensembles.

Recently he has performed with the Missoula Symphony (principal trombone), the Bob Curnow Big Band, the Spokane Symphony, at the Bellevue College Jazz Festival, with Byron Stripling and with Eden Atwood. Rob is a Getzen clinician playing Getzen trombones exclusively.

Honors / Awards

Washington Music Educators Hall of Fame (2012)

Oregon All State Jazz Ensemble Director (2014)

Washington All State Jazz Ensemble Director (2014)

Montana All State Jazz Ensemble Director (2007)

Nevada All State Jazz Ensemble Director (2010)

Washington State "Teacher of the Year Award” (2008)

Spokane Arts Commission “Contributions to Education” Award (2004)

EWU CenturyTel Outstanding Faculty Award (2002)


Rob is available to arrange music for your jazz ensembles at all levels. He particulary enjoys arranging good music for younger jazz bands. Please contact him at robert.tapper@umontana.edu.