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Jazz Camp in Depth

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Jazz Camp is designed for participants aged 12-17, playing jazz at beginning* to advanced levels. Jazz Camp is open to players of all instruments including strings (violin, viola and cello) and vocalists.

Jazz Camp immerses participants in a fun, focused, and supportive environment. The program offers instrumentalists and vocalists an opportunity to study and play with motivated peers and a prestigious faculty of professional musicians and educators.

Jazz Camp curriculum includes master classes, ensemble playing, private lessons, and performance, as well as theory, musicianship and jazz history. Emphasis is placed on developing participants' jazz skills and techniques. Jazz Camp culminates in a public recital by student combos. In addition to daily class sessions and rehearsals, students may attend jam sessions and Stanford Jazz Festival concerts to enhance their training. Students may also enjoy recreational and social activities organized by a staff of college-aged counselors at Stanford University's world-class facilities. *"Beginning" students are defined as having little or no experience improvising or playing jazz in a small combo, but should have studied their instruments for at least 18 months.

Jazz Camp participants may choose to stay on campus, or may attend the workshop as a commuter. See our FAQ's for more information.

* "Beginning" students are defined as having little or no experience improvising or playing jazz in a small combo but should have a basic proficiency on their instrument.

Jazz Camp FAQ Jazz Camp FAQ

Activities for parents and families
Families and friends of Jazz Camp students are invited to attend the Jazz Camp Participant Recital, held on the final Friday of each week of Jazz Camp. Admission to the recital is free. Tickets for the pre-concert BBQ will be available for purchase. Families and friends are also invited to purchase tickets to nightly Stanford Jazz Festival concerts. Information on how to purchase festival tickets will be included in the Jazz Camp follow up materials. Families wishing to stay near or with participants are encouraged to contact the Stanford Jazz Festival's Official Sponsor Hotels. These hotels frequently offer discount packages during Jazz Camp.

Vocalists and String Players at Jazz Camp
The Jazz Camp Vocal Program offers singers access to the general Jazz Camp curriculum as well as instruction in jazz vocals within a small ensemble setting. The String Program is designed to serve as bridge between classical music studies and jazz techniques. The program provides string players access to the general Jazz Camp curriculum and instruction in improvisation and jazz techniques specific to their instruments.

Classes and activities (please see Jazz Camp FAQ's for a sample daily schedule)

  • Theory
    This class (about 20-30 people) focuses on harmony, forms, scales, and advanced concepts in music theory. There will be four different levels of this class, from beginning to advanced. There will also be a special theory class for drummers.
  • Musicianship
    This small class (about 5-6 people) will focus on ear-training and rhythm exercises. Students will learn by trying to repeat by ear what the instructor plays, and through a variety of other techniques.
  • Masterclass
    Players of similar instruments (i.e. all trumpets, or all pianos) will meet and discuss techniques and concepts particular to that instrument.
  • Special Presentations/Demonstrations
    Our faculty will relate personal experiences as leading artists in jazz, perform live demonstrations, and take questions. Students will hear recorded examples with directed listening and will be given names of recordings to listen to in the future.
  • Small Ensembles / Combos
    Students will play and rehearse daily in small combos directed by faculty artists. These groups work on improvising as an ensemble and putting into practice the lessons learned during the day. Music will be provided as necessary.
  • Private Lessons
    Each student will receive one private lesson with our faculty during the week. The date and time of the lesson will be assigned during camp and noted on a student's individual daily schedule.
  • Jam Sessions
    Students are encouraged to come and play with others at these optional playing sessions.
  • Afternoon Free Time
    There are organized activities during this time, which may include sports, arts and crafts, and jam sessions. Students may also practice or rest.
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