The California Jazz Conservatory (F/K/A Jazzschool, Inc.) is an innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and performance of jazz — America’s indigenous art form — and related styles of music from around the world. Founded in 1997, the institution has recently been granted accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), making it the only accredited, stand-alone conservatory devoted to jazz studies in the United States. The school is located in the heart of the vibrant Downtown Berkeley Arts District, home to Berkeley Rep, the Freight & Salvage and many other arts organizations.
Hailed as one of the nation’s most comprehensive schools of jazz and related styles of music, the CJC offers instrumentalists and vocalists of all ages and skill levels a broad spectrum of performance ensembles, lectures, workshops and private instruction. Courses are designed for the professional musician, the serious student and the jazz aficionado seeking personal enrichment. A multifaceted institution, the CJC comprises several key components:
CALIFORNIA JAZZ CONSERVATORY
The California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool Institute) is a music school offering the aspiring professional a comprehensive 4-year degree program culminating in the Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies. The CJC provides a challenging curriculum of performance, jazz theory and improvisation, ear training, composition, arranging, transcription and analysis, and music history courses, taught by professional artists and educators. Coursework also includes music business, music technology and financial planning, thoroughly preparing students for a fulfilling career in the performing arts.
JAZZSCHOOL COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL (JCMS)
The JCMS provides music education and performance opportunities for people of all ages and levels of ability. Consisting of the JCMS Adult Music Program and the JCMS Young Musicians Program, the JCMS operates year-round on a quarterly basis and offers over 100 ensembles, courses and workshops to build all aspects of musicianship. Students are routinely featured in concert performances, open to the public. With a formidable faculty of renowned musicians and educators, the JCMS is a cornerstone of the Bay Area’s thriving music scene.
JCMS ADULT MUSIC PROGRAM
The Jazzschool Adult Music Program offers life-enriching opportunities to learn about and play jazz and related styles of music from throughout the world. Courses are available for both instrumentalists and vocalists, and everyone from young adult to senior citizen is welcome. Instruction and performances occur primarily in late afternoons, evenings and on weekends, making the program easily accessible to the working professional.
JCMS YOUNG MUSICIANS PROGRAM
The Jazzschool Young Musicians Program offers middle and high school students of all skill levels a wide variety of combos, big bands and vocal performance courses throughout the entire year, as well as camps during the summer. Select ensembles participate in national competitions, and Jazzschool bands have routinely taken top awards from DownBeat, the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and others.
Visiting artists and Jazzschool faculty lead fascinating and practical workshops, typically a single session of two or three hours in length and held on a Sunday. Content may focus on any specific aspect of jazz theory or performance, such as playing in odd time signatures or the art of vocal improvisation. Past workshops have been taught by prominent musicians from Bobby McFerrin to Dave Liebman, Janis Siegel, Peter Erskine, Sheila Jordan, Nguyên Lê and others.
The CJC facility includes an intimate venue with seating capacity of 100. Throughout the year, Jazzschool faculty and students perform for the public, providing a real-world incubator for developing new concepts and gaining audience exposure in the competitive Bay Area environment. High-profile artists have performed at the Jazzschool, including Terence Blanchard, Art Lande, Kim Nalley, Taylor Eigsti, Sachal Vasandani and many more.
The CJC’s in-house retail store is a treasure trove of jazz-related reading and listening materials. It provides students, teachers and the public with convenient access to extraordinary books, recordings, videos and accessories.