Lifelong Learning: Summer Jazz Education Programs Abound in Our Region
Compiled by Danielle Bias
Whether you’re a fifth grader with serious chops on the trombone or a 55-year-old firefighter learning to improvise on piano for the first time, there are organizations throughout the Puget Sound region offering intensive jazz instruction catered to students of all ages and experience levels. From Jazz Night School offerings in Columbia City to enduring in-home workshops with Ev Stern to workshops at Jazz at Port Townsend, you will find a variety of creative and supportive settings where you can learn from renowned musicians and work toward becoming the artist and performer you dare to be. Put off by the cost of tuition? Don’t fret as many programs provide scholarships to qualified students.
Cornish College of the Arts
Cornish College of the Arts offers a Summer Music program that affords students age 12-19 the opportunity to study with the renowned Cornish music faculty and special guest artists in a series of weeklong intensive workshops designed especially for the aspiring young musician. All music classes take place at the college’s historic Kerry Hall on Capitol Hill.
“Exploring Hard Bop,” which provides aspiring jazz players with an overview of the music of Horace Silver and Art Blakey, is July 9-13. Concepts learned are applied in a small ensemble context. This weeklong workshop, taught by Jay Thomas, culminates with a Friday evening concert and is open to high school students, college students and adults ages 14 and up, playing at an advanced level and with considerable facility on their instrument.
Other classes include “Jazz Fundamentals” with Chuck Deardorf, Dawn Clement and Denney Goodhew (July 9-13); “Advanced Jazz Workshop” with Clement, Goodhew and guest instructor J.D. Allen (July 16-20); “Vocal Jazz” with Beth Winter and Johnaye Kendrick (July 16-20); and “The ABCs of Latin Jazz: Argentina, Brazil and Cuba” with Ben Thomas, guest artist Chris Stover and Jovino Santos Neto.
Summer courses require auditions, which begin on June 1. Tuition ranges from $195-$395. For a full course catalog and to register, visit www.cornish.edu/summer.
Ev Stern’s Jazz Workshop
The summer workshop moves to a new location on Beacon Hill and begins with an open house jam session open to all ages, all levels and all instruments, on July 7. Sessions are eight weeks. Since 1994, the workshop has guided emerging musicians toward pursuing their dreams and nurtured their humanity through jazz improvisation.
Registration is $300-$350. More information at evstern.com.
Greta Matassa Workshops
Working with a live band is key: Greta Matassa hosts recurring Rhythm Section/Performance Workshops, a rare opportunity for singers to work with one of the top rhythm sections in the Northwest. The workshops include four, half-hour sessions with piano, bass and drums, and Matassa. This summer’s is August 1-22, with a performance at Tula’s on August 29.
Cost is $300. More information is available at www.gretamatassa.com. Or to sign up, (206) 937-1262 or email@example.com.
Jazz Night School
Jazz Night School offers year-round ensembles and instruction for aspiring jazz musicians – instrumentalists and vocalists – of all ages. Beginning and intermediate level music studies and playing opportunities there build solid performance skills and knowledge – excellent complements to private instrument instruction or great stand-alone studies.
Located in Southeast Seattle near Columbia City, Jazz Night School is held in a comfortable home setting with multiple rooms for ensemble classes, each equipped with acoustic piano, drum set and small amp.
The Summer Four Week Session is open to all ages, instruments and levels and takes place from June 17-July 14. The summer session includes four distinct opportunities: small ensemble instruction; a series of classes focused on ear training for jazz, jazz harmony, improvisation workouts and jazz composition; “Instrumental Labs” for jazz guitar, bass and drums; and “Jazz Standards for Vocalists,” focused on building vocalists’ repertoires for singing with any combo.
The “Evening Jazz Intensive,” July 16-July 20, 6pm-9pm, is known as the “jazz boot camp.” It is open to all ages, instruments and levels and provides one full week of small jazz ensemble playing and jazz studies, customized for participants and guided by their requests.
Jazz Night School also administers the “Up-Beat Girls Jazz Camp” for female student vocalists and instrumentalists in grades 6-12. It takes place this year August 6-10. Some proficiency on an instrument is required along with the desire to have fun working on jazz skills with other young women.
Class prices range from $160-$345. For more information, visit jazznightschool.com.
Jazz Port Townsend
Whether you’re a journeyman performer, aspiring professional or an enthusiastic beginner, the weeklong workshop at Jazz Port Townsend, July 22-29, is an opportunity to meet other musicians, soak up a week of jazz in a seaside paradise and leave as a better musician. As is past years, artistic director John Clayton has hand-picked faculty who are outstanding both as performers and teachers, to inspire students with their playing and work with them to develop their own skills.
During the seven-day intensive, students of various ages and ability levels receive focused instruction in combos or vocal classes. Jazz theory sessions are also provided along with master classes conducted each day by faculty members who cover topics specific to their chosen instruments. The popular faculty concerts each afternoon give students a chance to hear performances in an intimate setting. The workshop culminates in a series of concerts in which all participants have an opportunity to perform.
Applicants must have good technical command of their instrument or voice, as well as elementary improvisation experience or a basic knowledge of music theory. Differing levels of experience are expected, and every effort is made to match players of similar abilities. An audition is required.
Tuition ranges from $535-$715. Audition and registration details can be found at www.centrum.org/jazz-port-townsend-the-workshop.
Music Works Northwest
Music Works Northwest is a nonprofit community music school offering music lessons and performance experiences for all ages, located minutes from downtown Seattle at Eastgate in south Bellevue. Kelly Barr Clingan serves as Director of Concert Bands and Jazz. A graduate of Roosevelt High School and the University of Washington, she is rooted in Seattle’s celebrated tradition of music education and has been teaching at her alma mater, Washington Middle School, for four years. The jazz camps run July 9-July 20.
The jazz camp for beginning and intermediate instrumentalists ages 10-14 introduces students to improvisation, styles and musical skills through performance, master classes, listening sessions and harmony classes and sets the stage for exceptional, systematic jazz learning. The camp includes classes, workshops and performance groups as well as opportunities to jam.
Jazz camp for advanced students ages 14-18 explores more advanced blues and other harmonic progressions and scales, a variety of styles, including fusion, Latin, Brazilian, mixed meters and listening to the great jazz artists both present and past. The camp begins July 16 and culminates with a performance on Friday, July 20.
Camps costs $275. More details and registration info is available at www.musicworksnw.org.
Seattle JazzED Summer Ambassadors Program
The Seattle JazzED summer opportunity includes both intensive improvisation and performance training, combined with community outreach to young people who have minimal access to music education. The Summer Ambassadors Program will be offered in two-week sessions the weeks of July 9 and July 13 or the weeks of July 23 and July 30. Both sessions culminate with Sunday concerts at the Royal Room in Columbia City.
During the first week of the session, students work to advance their improv skills, learn jazz standards and develop the ability to perform in a small jazz combo setting. During the second week, students will be asked to put their newly acquired skills to practice by performing in JazzED music education workshops in community centers and day camps located around the south end of Seattle. The program is open to students in grades 6-12 and sessions take place at the Rainier Valley Cultural Center in Columbia City.
Tuition is $575 and more details are available at www.seattlejazzed.org.
UW Jazz Workshop
The workshop’s mission is to provide a positive educational outlet for young jazz musicians. This year’s workshop runs from June 25-June 29. Created in 2001, the workshop is limited to approximately forty students. With seven faculty members, this creates a great teacher-to-student ratio and keeps the performing ensembles to a realistic size. All faculty members are active, performing, professional jazz musicians and highly regarded educators.
“Jazz Workshop 2012” begins each day exploring topics of jazz theory. Students are divided into three different levels of theory instruction. Twice daily, students break into jazz combos appropriate to their skill level for rehearsals, and are also part of daily master classes given for each instrument. At 3:30pm on Friday, June 29, the workshop combos perform in Brechemin Auditorium at the UW School of Music.
Tuition is $400. Registration information is available at www.uwjazzworkshop.com/register.html.