Jazz Institute

Sunday, August 2 – Friday, August 7, 2015

  • For adult instrumentalists with no jazz experience all the way to professional musicians
  • Special vocal program; requires advance audition
  • For advanced young musicians 17 and under by audition only
  • Prerequisite: minimum of 18 months of instruction on the instrument you’ll play
  • Stay in Stanford dorms or commute from off-site

  • Menu-based program: You select your classes and activities
  • Emphasis on small combo, one-on-a-part improvisation and performance
  • Combo placement by experience level
  • Classes include jazz theory, applied theory, reharmonization, and more
  • Dozens of Special Events taught by all-star faculty, such as
    • "My approach to art," with Chick Corea (2014)
    • "The art of piano trio playing," with Fred Hersch (2014)
    • "Afro-Caribbean concepts for jazz players," with Brian Lynch (2013)
    • "The art of the trio," with Chris Potter, Eric Harland, and Larry Grenadier (2013)
    • "Wow, it is so much fun playing with you!" with Matt Wilson (2012)
    • "Zen and the art of jazz improvisation" with Charles McPherson (2012)
    • "Now that we can play jazz, what do we do?" with the Bad Plus (2011)
    • "52nd Street Themes: an open rehearsal and discussion" featuring Joe Lovano (2011)
    • “Narrative flow in jazz improv” with Joshua Redman (2010)
    • “Anatomy of a composition” with Dave Douglas (2010)
  • Instrument-specific and vocal master classes
  • Daily combo rehearsals
  • Piano trio and guitar trio program
  • Organized evening jams for students
  • Jazz Institute Showcase, Thursday night
  • Free admission to nightly Stanford Jazz Festival concerts and CoHo jams

SJW’s Jazz Institute offers a six-day-long intensive interaction with jazz legends, top professionals, gifted educators, and motivated students from around the world. Students choose their own classes from a curriculum that focuses on improvisation and includes small ensemble playing, master classes, and performance opportunities, as well as theory, musicianship, arranging, Afro-Latin jazz, jazz history, and more. Admission to nightly Stanford Jazz Festival performances is included, and multiple evening jam sessions are available for participation and listening.

Ideal for jazz players at all levels, the Jazz Institute provides a high-quality and individualized introduction to improvisation for beginning students, as well as an intensive experience for intermediate and advanced musicians and professionals. Tailored to serve a variety of needs, the Jazz Institute is also perfect for musicians from other musical genres looking to gain insight and experience in jazz, music educators honing their jazz skills for teaching and performance, and those just looking to reconnect with music or to get started in jazz. For those who want to learn but not participate as players, the Jazz Institute welcomes auditors at a special tuition rate.

For young musicians with advanced jazz experience, the Jazz Institute features a fantastic jazz immersion experience. SJW’s inter-generational approach gives unparalleled access to some of the greatest jazz musicians in the world, so young players can learn directly from living legends, touring artists, and recording pros. Classes, combos, and other activities may mix participants of all ages. Supervision by SJW’s experienced team of musician/counselors is provided for youth who choose to stay in Stanford housing.

Jazz Institute faculty over the past few years has included Fred Hersch, Chick Corea, Kenny Burrell, Peter Erskine, Eric Alexander, Brian Lynch, Chucho Valdés, Branford Marsalis, Taylor Eigsti, Julian Lage, Joe Lovano, Wycliffe Gordon, Lee Konitz, Jimmy Cobb, Ray Drummond, Joshua Redman, Geri Allen, Mundell Lowe, Marcus Belgrave, Slide Hampton, John Scofield, Mulgrew Miller, Jim Rotondi, Dave Liebman, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Ronnie Mathews, Peter Bernstein, Steve Davis, Dena DeRose, and many others.

NOTE:  Jazz Institute instrumental applicants under the age of 18 who have not attended Jazz Institute in the past must submit an audition recording. Participants who have attended Jazz Institute or Jazz Residency in the past but wish to attend the Jazz Institute on an instrument different from that which they played in the past must submit an audition recording. If you are not accepted to the Jazz Institute program, we will offer you a space at Jazz Camp if there is space available, or we will refund your deposit.

Vocal Program at the Jazz Institute

For vocalists, the 2015 Vocal Program provides intensive instruction in vocal performance with professional rhythm section accompaniment, with a special performance at the end of the week. The 2015 Sing Like a Horn program places vocalists in instrumental combos where they have the opportunity to learn to function as part of the horn section and to improvise. These programs are directed by Madeline Eastman and Dena DeRose, and require advance audition for first-time attendees.

For details on the SJW Jazz Institute Vocal Program, click here.

First-time participants must audition in advance.

Auditor Status

Auditing is a great option for listeners or music educators who wish to broaden their knowledge and appreciation of jazz styles — or to learn new approaches to playing and teaching the music. Auditors attend classes and lectures, but do not play in combos or recitals. Auditors may play in jam sessions, and are welcome to attend nightly Stanford Jazz Festival concerts (Sunday through Friday).

Questions? Please e-mail registrar@stanfordjazz.org or call 650-736-0324 x303.

Photos by Teresa Tam and Jeffrey Dean.