Jazz ensembles range from large swing-style bands to small, improv-focused trios and quartets. Through playing together with other musicians, students elevate their performance skills in an environment that fosters teamwork, fun and music making. Jazz ensembles are built around age and skill, and foster students' movement through the jazz program as their skills develop.
New students or students with prior playing experience will have the opportunity to audition for the Woodwinds, Brass & Percussion Department Chairperson for placement.
Jazz Band Prep
Beginner Level, 1 - 2 years of experience
Jazz Band Prep introduces students to the exciting world of jazz performance. Students discover and learn basic jazz concepts, including performance techniques, improvisation, ear training and basic music theory. Students should be enrolled in individual or group instruction, or have at least two years of experience in playing their instrument. Instruments include woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar and bass.
Jazz Big Band
Advanced Level, 3 - 5 years of experience
Jazz Big Band studies big band compositions and arrangements in a variety of styles, including: swing, blues, bebop, ballads, funk, rock and Latin. Members of the ensemble work to develop proficiency in jazz phrasing and advanced improvisation techniques. Instruments include woodwinds, brass, percussion, guitar and bass.
More than 3 years of experience required
Jazz Combos are for intermediate to advanced students who are interested in taking their jazz studies a step further and learning how to improvise in a live setting with other musicians. Jazz Piano instructor Neal Kirkwood and Guitar Faculty member Gaku Takanashi lead these small ensembles dedicated to the loose, flowing forms of jazz.
Jazz Theory & Improvisation Class
One key element common to almost all jazz styles is improvisastion. A strong base in jazz theory, performance and improv can also provide an excellent background for other popular styles of music. Third Street offers an introduction to Jazz Theory & Improvisation which complements participation in band and jazz ensembles.