The Community School’s jazz program, known as the Colburn Jazz Workshop, is dedicated to encouraging students to explore the art of improvisation and ultimately even develop into composers, as well. Students can develop their skills through jazz music lessons, playing in an ensemble, or enrolling in a theory class.

Trombonist Elijah Alexander
Being in classes led by [Jazz Chair Lee Secard] has been one of the biggest impacts on my own personal growth. He has been one of my biggest supporters and a strong critic and has always pushed me in the right direction when I feel lost. Trombonist Elijah Alexander

Private Instruction in Jazz

Students can enroll in jazz private music lessons. If you’re interested in enrolling in lessons, please fill out our online inquiry form.

After submitting the inquiry form, the department chair will contact you to provide program details and discuss scheduling. In some cases, an interview and audition may be required to place the student with the appropriate teacher.

Jazz Classes and Ensembles

The Community School has several instrumental ensembles, including small combos and a Big Band, devoted to the performance of jazz repertoire and the development of the students’ musical concepts, improvisations, and compositions. All instruments are welcome to audition for these ensembles.

Audition Information

To audition for the Colburn Jazz Workshops, use the attached link to the audio files to make an video of the student playing with one of the three recordings. When the recording is complete, submit the video with the application form:

Colburn Jazz Workshop Application Form

Online Submission Instructions

  1. Please record yourself playing the required pieces and upload the video to YouTube.
  2. Start your video by stating your full name.
  3. Please name the file by the following format:
    First name Last name.Instrument (for example, John Smith.Trumpet)
  4. If the student is a pianist, turn the RIGHT channel off. If the student is a bassist, turn the LEFT Channel off.
  5. When uploading the video to YouTube, make sure the video is marked unlisted or public. If you do not want the video to be public, marking it unlisted will not allow the general public to find the video, but will allow you to share the link with the Community School.
    The audition recording must be made continuously and without cuts.


Adult Jazz Workshops

Colburn’s Adult Jazz Workshops consist of musicians who are proficient on their instruments and experienced in jazz studies. Various styles of jazz repertoire are explored and learned aurally along with some discussion of jazz theory and approaches to improvisation. Visit the ensembles page for more information about adult jazz groups.

Jazz Theory Classes

Explore theory and harmony as it applies to the jazz idiom, with a focus on ways to approach an improvised solo. Areas of study include tonality, form, ear training, chord extensions, scale sources, thematic ideas, and common progressions. Students will also learn to identify common tools and strategies by analyzing solos by jazz masters.

A very strong knowledge of all major scales, key signatures, and triads. Familiarity with 4-part chords strongly recommended. Sightreading not required, but students must be able to read music.

To register, visit the Register page.