Jazz Workshops are usually designed for a three- to a seven-day period and includes all levels of abilities, from the very beginning student who has never played jazz, to those individuals who are at an advanced level. Most students are from junior high school through adult age.
Students are welcome to participate on any instrument, whether it is a Western musical instrument such as flute, clarinet, violin, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drums, etc., or whether it is an instrument that is unique to other countries such as the oud, pipa, accordion, tabla, etc.
On the first day of the Workshop, all students are auditioned and placed in Jazz Improvisation, Big Band, and Jazz Combo classes with students of like abilities. This allows students to learn the maximum amount of information in the shortest period of time, and to perform in ensembles with students of the same ability levels.
Each day begins with 30-minute Student/Teacher Initiated Classes, before the regular classes begin. Students and/or teachers initiate these classes to address special needs of the students.
Each day Master Classesare presented for each specific instrument such as saxophone, trumpet, trombone, etc. These classes provide an opportunity for students to learn the basic fundamentals in order to gain better command of their musical instrument. Basic fundamentals include, but are not limited to sound, technique, range, style, musicianship, etc.
Students are placed in daily Jazz Improvisation courses based on ability levels. In these classes the students learn scales, chords, ear training, jazz nuances (such a glissandos, fall offs, bends, shakes, etc.), and how to listen to jazz music. These classes assist the student in developing the confidence and ability to create their own music and melodies.
Jazz Combos are small performing musical ensembles in which students are placed by ability levels, allowing them to receive individual attention from the teacher in order to learn, practice, and develop their improvisatory skills. Jazz combos usually have between seven and nine members.
Made up of 12-20 musicians, these ensembles perform music by the great masters such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, as well as more contemporary writers/arrangers such as Maria Schneider, Vince Mendoza, and many others. In these ensembles, students learn to read music, to interpret the written music in the jazz style, and to add unwritten jazz nuances and phrasing to the music. Also, these large ensembles give outstanding students the opportunity to be featured soloists, as well as work together in a large group of musicians, working for a common outcome.
At the end of each day teachers perform for the students so they have chance to not only listen to their teachers perform, but also to learn the etiquette and the discipline that is inherent in the performance of jazz music.