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Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Summer Jazz Workshop (SJW) is designed to support advanced high school jazz musicians aspiring to reach the next level of their jazz education. The one-week program provides students (grades 9-12) a unique jazz immersion experience unlike anything else in the heart of the jazz capitol of the world, New York City. Students apply through audition and participate in big band, combo, instrumental studio classes, and elective classes in ear training, history, recording, composition/arranging, and performance practices. The faculty, comprised of renowned jazz musicians, guide the students through a robust and eclectic curriculum that will inspire the prepare the students for future growth in jazz. The Summer Jazz Workshop is hosted in collaboration with Fordham University at the Fordham College at Lincoln Center campus.   


Melissa Aldana, Saxophone

Christopher McBride, Saxophone

Jon Irabagon, Saxophone

Lauren Sevian, Saxophone

Gary Smulyan, Saxophone 

Tatum Greenblatt, Trumpet

Marquis Hill, Trumpet

Nick Finzer, Trombone

Matt Buttermann, Guitar

Willerm Delisfort, Piano

David Wong, Bass

Marion Felder, Drums

Instructional Classes

Big Band: Ensembles will explore a selected repertoire from the large ensemble works of Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Mary Lou Williams, Fletcher Henderson, Don Redman, to the pieces we write today.

Combo and the Art of the Small Ensemble: Combos will study and perform music of all eras. Students will be able to play together in less formal settings but be provided a training ground around the format and value of this time-honored jazz tradition.   

Jazz Language and Improvisation: A daily session dedicated to developing the how the language of jazz is learned through playing, listening, and the understanding of theoretical elements. Students will participate on their instruments as the instructors guide them through key concepts.    

Instrument Studio: These group lessons will focus on instrumental pedagogy from a foundational and jazz standpoint. All aspects of technique will be covered with an emphasis on breathing, tone, attack, flexibility, velocity, range, phrasing, control, special effects, reading, and expressing different emotions.

Topics in Jazz Performance (sample):

  • Transcription: There are many ways to approach jazz improvisation, and one method proven among jazz musicians for generations is the practice of transcription. In this class the instructor will guide students through the process of transcribing improvised solos by ear and how to apply that to their own playing.  

  • Tunes by Ear: Another key aspect to learning jazz vocabulary is garnering a solid foundation of typical jazz tunes. Learning essential jazz repertoire is a necessary piece to understanding how jazz is performed and learning those songs aurally – as opposed to from reading – will improve anyone’s overall musicianship and playing ability. During these interactive sessions instructors will guide students through the process of building their jazz repertoire through learning entire songs solely by ear.    

  • Composition & Arranging: The ability to make new music and arrange for different size ensembles is an important aspect of being a complete performing musician. During these classes the students will learn basic techniques for composing new songs and making arrangements for different sized ensembles. 

  • Guided Listening: During these structured listening sessions, instructors will guide students through selected recordings and discuss how the music was developed and how those musical elements remain active strategies in playing jazz today. Listening to music collectively will expand anyone’s perception and interpretation of recorded music to better inform how they approach playing their own instrument.  

*Topic in Jazz Performance survey courses are offered once per week and students are assigned the day & time of the sessions to attend.  


Email: youthprograms@jazz.org

Phone: 212-258-9871