Jazzschool Young Musicians Program Requirements


Jazzschool Young Musicians Program Requirements

We’re thrilled to announce the return of in-person Jazzschool Young Musicians Program ensembles for Fall 2021!

The Jazzschool Young Musician Program ensembles require a commitment of three quarters (fall, winter and spring). Students unable to commit to a full school year are still encouraged to audition, however, priority will be given to those who can remain in the program for the entire school year. Students wishing to audition mid-year will be placed in the program based on the availability of open spots in ensembles and the student’s ability level. Please note that we may not be able to accommodate all students but it is our mission to find a place for everyone if at all possible.

Please familiarize yourself with the CJC COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols before applying:


COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols

In the interest of providing the best possible health and safety conditions for our campus community, all in-person participants are required to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. This includes staff, faculty and students in classes and workshops, and performers and audience members at concerts. Based on current CDC guidelines, all participants must wear masks regardless of vaccination status with the exception of horn players and vocalists in classes/workshops and performers in concerts, providing they maximize physical distancing.

After registering, a CJC staff member will contact you to request a scanned copy of your COVID-19 vaccination card or a copy of your Digital COVID-19 Vaccination Record. Registration will not be considered confirmed and finalized until proof of vaccination has been received.

The California Jazz Conservatory kindly requests that anyone feeling unwell refrain from attending in-person events of any kind.

Participants who are exempted from receiving the COVID-19 vaccination for medical reasons only, must provide the California Jazz Conservatory with verification of exemption from a licensed medical professional, and proof of negative COVID-19 test results within 72 hours of each event, to participate. Note: As a testing option, PMH Laboratory is available to conduct free weekly tests at the California Jazz Conservatory, beginning August 16, 2021.



Jazzschool youth ensembles will take place in person at the California Jazz Conservatory. All ensembles require a consultation/audition. Ensembles conclude with a performance, open to the public during the week following the 10th class session.

Ensemble Descriptions

The Jazzschool offers ensembles for middle school and high school students at all levels.

Studio Band (big band)

Develop technique, knowledge of jazz style and an ability to improvise through standard and contemporary big band repertoire. This highly-selective ensemble records at a professional studio, performs frequently and participates in competitions throughout the U.S. The Studio Band has played at top local clubs and jazz festivals in California, New York, Seattle, Idaho, the Vienne Jazz Festival in France and the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Full school year commitment is required. Instrumentation: 5 saxes, 5 trumpets, 5 trombones, guitar, piano, bass and drums.

Mondays 6:30 – 8 pm

9/20 – 11/29 (10 weeks) No class 11/22

Dave Eshelman, $260 (per quarter)

Advanced High School Jazz Workshops

Explore the post-bop harmonic, melodic, rhythmic and formal innovations of Coltrane, Shorter, Corea, Hancock, Brecker and others in this multiple DownBeat award-winning ensemble. For advanced level high school student players, competent in the bebop language. The ensemble records annually and participates in various competitions and festivals.

Mondays 4:45 – 6:15 pm

9/20 – 11/29 (10 weeks) No class 11/22

Mike Zilber, Erik Jekabson, $395 (per quarter)

High School Jazz Ensembles (Combos)

Gain a greater understanding of jazz theory and develop improvisation skills through the study and performance of challenging jazz repertoire.

Multiple sections throughout the week. $395 (per quarter)

Middle School Jazz Ensembles (Combos)

Learn to play jazz and improvise while covering a wide repertoire from John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Eddie Harris and other jazz masters.

Multiple sections throughout the week. $395 (per quarter)

High School Funk Ensembles

Learn the classic funk hits of James Brown, Sly Stone and others. Vocalists and horns welcome! Music is learned by ear. (Also open to advanced middle-school musicians.)

Saturdays 10 – 11:30 am, 11:45 am – 1:15pm

9/25 – 12/4 (10 weeks) No class 11/27

Jon Monahan, $395 (per quarter)


High school and middle school combos:

August 28 & 29, 2021

Studio Band:

August 21 & 22, 2021

Advanced High School Jazz Workshop: 

August 29, 2021


To schedule an audition, please fill out the ONLINE APPLICATION. After your application is received, you will be contacted within 1 – 2 weeks with an audition time. Auditions are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis and will be scheduled at the earliest available time. Students will be contacted with placement information following the audition.

Advanced High School Jazz Workshop Audition Instructions

Pre-screening: students may be asked to send in a recording of themselves playing a jazz standard before scheduling an audition.

Students should prepare one ballad and one uptempo tune, memorizing the melody and changes.

Please choose from the following:


You Go To My Head, Miyako, Weaver of Dreams

Up Tempo

Shade of Jade, Room 608, Grand Central

Leadsheets are available here.

Students will also sightread a provided piece at the audition.

Drummers should be prepared to play in odd-metered time signatures.

Studio Band Audition Instructions

  1. Please play the melody and solo over a jazz standard of your choice, unaccompanied.
  2. Please play the prepared piece for your instrument (find charts here.)
  3. You will also be asked to sight-read a piece.

Students that audition for the Studio Band and Advanced High School Jazz Workshops are automatically considered for Jazzschool youth combos as well.

High School and Middle School Combo Audition Instructions

Entering musicians are asked to prepare a skill-level appropriate jazz standard, improvise over a 12-bar blues (optional) or rhythm changes (for high school students only) and sight-read.

Drummers: please demonstrate your ability to play a swing groove, a Latin or straight 8th groove, and improvise within these grooves.  If able, you can demonstrate your ballad or waltz playing abilities.


Students have the option of submitting an online video audition rather than scheduling an in-person audition. Students submitting their audition online are still required to fill out an online application (see above). On the application form, please select live audition or video submission. Please note: online video submissions are not available for the Studio Band or Advanced High School Jazz Workshops.

Instructions for Online Video Submission

The student should be clearly visible (and audible) on the video.

Perform two skill-level appropriate jazz standards. Please state the name of each piece before you play it.

Download one of the two 12 bar blues (either F or Bb) improvisation tracks by clicking here for the improvisation portion of your audition. Two choruses of improvisation are required.

On the video, it is important that your playing is heard louder than anything else, including any accompanying tracks.

Piano and Guitar Players

Follow the above instructions with only one change: after improvising, please demonstrate comping/voicings on a blues or rhythm changes.


Please demonstrate the following styles:

swing, bossa nova, funk/rock

Demonstrate each style at various tempos (i.e. slow, medium, fast)

On each style/tempo please “trade fours” with yourself (4 bars of time, 4 bars of solo, etc.)

Make sure your different style and trading 4s demonstrations last for at least 16 measures each.

After you have completed your video, upload your audition to YouTube and title the video with your name (Example: John Smith Jazzschool Audition). You should make this a private video (unless you don’t mind it being available to the public). Once the video is uploaded, send a link to erik@cjc.edu. You may also upload the video to a private website and email a link. Please do not email audition videos as attachments.