Our innovative jazz program teaches students how to improvise and to understand contemporary and classic jazz.
Visiting jazz artists work with our jazz studies program director, Titus Abbott, to make this American musical art form come alive for our students.
- Ensemble classes for youth and adults
- Jazz harmony
- Jazz history
If you’re already enrolled in a school jazz band, our program can help you feel confident:
- Performing on stage
- Preparing for college auditions.
Titus Abbott leads the program. He is a jazz saxophonist who performs both as leader and sideman in the US, Canada and Europe. His primary instruments are saxophones and clarinets, but he has trained on piano, bass and drums.
He has been teaching privately for over 20 years and is dedicated to introducing young musicians to the art of improvisation.
Spring 2019 Schedule (Download the schedule as a PDF)
Youth Jazz Ensemble – Intermediate Ages: 12-19
January 23 – April 3 | Wednesday, 5:00 – 6:00 pm | 10 weeks
This improvisation class is for traditional jazz instrumentation of bass, drums, piano, guitar, brass and woodwinds. It’s best for intermediate students developing jazz improvisation skills. Students improvise on jazz standards and then incorporate more contemorary jazz material. A performance at the end of the class is planned as well as master classes with local musicians.
Youth Jazz Ensemble – Intermediate/Advanced – Ages: 12 to 19
January 26 – April 3 | Saturdays, 11:00 am–12:00 pm | 10 weeks
This improvisation class is for players with some prior experience in a jazz band or jazz combo who want to learn to improvise in both traditional and non-traditional styles. The class focuses on improvising on standard and contemporary jazz material. An intro to jazz composition, free jazz improv and group improv along with an end of session performance are planned. Master classes with local musicians are incorporated.
Adult Jazz Ensemble – Intermediate – Ages: 18+
January 23 – April 3 | Wednesdays, 6:00–7:00 pm | 10 weeks
This improvisation class is for adults who play traditional jazz instruments or strings at an intermediate level and who can read basic melodies or learn by ear. The class introduces students to standards and jazz blues charts. An introduction to free jazz improv and group improv leads to an end of session performance.
We schedule two other courses each semester, based on student interest.
Jazz Theory I – All Ages
This course covers jazz theory from basic chords and scales to chord substitutions and altered scales. The focus is on aural understanding with the use of recorded samples and demonstrations on piano or saxophone. An introduction to basic jazz composition concepts is also introduced.
Jazz History – All Ages
This is an informal survey of jazz from the early days of New Orleans right up to the present day in New York City and Europe. The focus is on listening to recordings and discussing developments and influences. The bulk of the course will cover early Be Bop to the present day including free jazz and the loft scene.
Jazz Summer Camps 2019
Want to take a jazz class this summer?
Titus directs an Advanced and an Intermediate Jazz Camp for students ages 12-18 with 2+ years of experience on an instrument. If you’re Interested in the Advanced camp, you’ll need to first audition.