25 Nov

New York Jazz Academy Logo 2014


New York Jazz Academy Winter Jazz Intensives offer an enriching musical experience unlike any other. In a nutshell, you will not find a more engaging, dynamic and attentive jazz workshop or program. What follows are some differentiating aspects of our winter jazz camp, all modeled after our very successful summer jazz intensives. We hope it will also help clarify what to expect from your upcoming stay in NYC. If you are looking to spend 4 days (December 27-30, 2015) of your Christmas vacation or holiday vacation at a music camp, New York Jazz Academy offers the most immersive and rewarding jazz workshop and jazz camp experience in NYC.

A completely personalized experience

Your personalized experience starts from day one, when you first apply and are guided through a preliminary assessment process that helps assure an accurate placement for you throughout your stay. You are sent materials to help you prepare for your summer, and you are kept informed on what to expect from the program. Once you arrive at the NYJA Summer Jazz Intensives, you are greeted individually by teachers and staff, who guide you through a brief orientation. Your week has already been tailored to meet your needs by our planning team, and everything is in place for your arrival, including a customized schedule that outlines exactly where all your classes, lessons, and ensembles are held, in addition to provided course material, published and ready to go for your enjoyment.

NYJA Summer ensemble photo Webster 10348193_584270125023044_221304249739388130_n

Excitement and diversity

What makes New York Jazz Academy classes special? In part, it’s the excitement and energy of the students, who come from all over NYC, the U.S., North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Teen students feel right at home with other teens, and adults feel right at home with other enrolled adults. NYJA tracks beginners separately from more advanced players, helping each player maximize potential growth.


World-class faculty

It’s also the teachers, who are all “A-list” NYJA faculty (we don’t use teaching assistants, etc.). These are teaching artists who are deeply involved in the NYC jazz scene and are devoted to making your summer stay memorable. Teachers have included pianists Adam Birnbaum and Dan Cray, saxophonists Michael Webster and David Engelhard, guitarists Tom Dempsey and Andrew Lim, brass players Alex Norris, Dan Blankinship, and Joe Beaty, vocalists Aubrey Johnson and Tammy Scheffer, bassists Ron McClure and Tim Ferguson, drummers Pete Zimmer and David Jimenez, and composer and bandleader Javier Arau, among many others.




Intimacy and personal attention

With NYJA, you are much more than a number. A core part of your daily schedule is a private lesson. This is essential to developing your artistry and gives you a chance to connect with your instrument in a meaningful way. Teachers are also readily accessible throughout the day and often hang out with students after camp and at evening concerts.







How many mentors help shape your music?

Class sizes are also quite small, to the point where students often find themselves in a small ensemble environment where they are fully immersed, playing and learning from with 3-5 NYC pros, all at the same time! Check out the photo below featuring a small ensemble rehearsal. Looks like a typical rehearsal, right? Not quite! Look closely and you’ll see the lead teacher in the foreground, but you’ll also see a guitar teacher helping the guitarist, and a third teacher about to give feedback to the pianist in the group! This happens to be an intermediate level ensemble, but this sort of personalized treatment is commonplace with every summer ensemble, from beginner through advanced.


A schedule built for success

The Winter Jazz Intensives schedule is designed to maximize your potential. Structured by the hour with just the right balance of routine and variety, you will find your day goes by quickly! Mornings are devoted to a combination of jazz theory, applied jazz styles and vocal techniques classes. Midday is devoted to workshops specific to instrument, including rhythm section, vocal, and melodic workshops, sax and brass ensembles, and more. Early afternoon offers a daily private lesson (perhaps the most valuable part of your entire experience). Mid afternoon is devoted to ensemble rehearsals and vocal coaching, and late afternoon is reserved for a different daily activity:

Daily core activities:

For vocalists:
10am vocal tech/jazz styles
11am melodic workshop
12pm private lessons
1pm small ensemble & vocal lab class
3pm masterclasses/concerts (see below)
4pm end of day/optional outings (see below)

For winds/brass:
10am jazz theory
11am melodic workshop & wind/brass ensemble
12pm private lessons
1pm small ensemble rehearsal
3pm masterclasses/concerts (see below)
4pm end of day/optional outings (see below)

For rhythm section:
10am jazz theory & drum techniques
11am rhythm section workshop
12pm private lessons
1pm small ensemble rehearsal
3pm masterclasses/concerts (see below)
4pm end of day/optional outings (see below)

Late afternoon/evening activities for all:
3pm Monday – Faculty concert
3pm Tuesday – Masterclass (various topics)
3pm Wednesday – Field trip
3pm Thursday – Masterclass (various topics)
3pm Friday – Final concert

Evenings offer optional activities,
including jam session visits, concerts, and more.


Integrated curriculum

The 4-day Intensive focuses intently on several core compositions from the jazz canon. Each class throughout your day integrates your repertoire, so you are studying seamlessly from class to class. This integrated approach to jazz education is a signature concept of NYJA, and one that has propelled our students to demonstrable success. The focus on learning through classic repertoire also enables every student to study for multiple weeks, seeing even greater results while reaching a more lasting understanding of jazz and jazz styles. Below are examples taken from the pages of actual lesson plans, featuring brief lessons for beginners, for more advanced players, and for select vocalists. While the real teaching in jazz comes from the feedback and shaping of this material, it helps immensely to be involved in a program where material is presented clearly and concisely.

Instrumental curriculum examples:

If an intermediate player is working on Brooks Bowman’s “East of the Sun”, for example, morning theory class will introduce fundamental harmonic and rhythmic concepts from “East of the Sun”, assuring that the student’s experience in jazz theory is immediately contextualized. If the student is a rhythm section player, the late-morning rhythm section workshop will cover application of fundamental rhythm section concepts that are necessary for performing “East of the Sun”. The student’s midday private lesson provides ample opportunity to address specifics on core repertoire, whether the focus ends up on sound and technique, improvisational concepts, or core ensemble concepts, worked out in an isolated setting. Afternoon ensemble gives all players the opportunity to apply themselves as they rehearse all that they have learned on “East of the Sun” and other repertoire being addressed that particular week.

Beginner material snapshot:
NYJA Beginner Curriculum Snapshot of Duke Ellington's "Perdido".

Intermediate material snapshot:
NYJA Intermediate Curriculum Snapshot of "East of the Sun".

Advanced material snapshot:
NYJA Int-Advanced Curriculum Snapshot of "Perhaps" analysis.

Vocal curriculum example:

While some parts of vocal jazz study overlap with instrumental study, much of what vocalists need to develop is quite different than what instrumentalists need. For instance, as a vocalist, you may be better served with a morning vocal techniques and theory class, rather than a class that delves right away into harmony and chord/scale relationships. Vocalists also benefit from daily melodic workshops and private lessons, and ensemble rehearsals, but their afternoon work often is supplemented with vocal labs, which allow the vocalists to delve deeply into the lyrics of the piece, in addition to learning more about scat, vocal styles and delivery, and communicating with a band.

Vocal material snapshot:
NYJA Vocal r Curriculum Snapshot, random page from voice teacher's lesson plans (Melodic Workshop and Vocal Techniques/Applied Theory classes)

Total immersion with NYC concerts and activities!

Each camp day ends with a different taste of jazz, with assorted concerts, masterclasses on a wide array of topics (including music business, arranging/composition, free improv, active listening, jazz history, etc.), in addition to faculty and student concerts.









Finding the right fit

Not every camp is for everyone, and we hope you find the right match. If you are looking to immerse yourself in your music for a week or more this summer, then you’ve come to the right place. We are not a band camp, though. If you are looking for large ensemble experience throughout your week, you may be better served elsewhere, since our focus is on small ensembles and jazz styles for instrumentalists and vocalists.

If you are a complete beginner, we may not be right for you. We accept beginners on a case-by-case basis, so please inquire and we will give you an honest assessment. We offer a comprehensive track tailored for beginners, but if you are a complete beginner, we want to ensure you are not in over your head. If you are an adult or teen, a late beginner, intermediate, or advanced/pro musician, we have no doubt that you will feel right at home in our camps. If you have any questions regarding the match, let us know.

How to budget for classes

Budgeting for jazz programs can be a challenge. We offer a program that is a bargain, given the depth of personalized instruction throughout the week and the fact that you will get a chance to immerse your in jazz while studying in NYC, the jazz capital of the world. We also offer a built-in tuition assistance program, in the form of the NYJA Annual Membership. This costs $199/yr., and it lowers all tuition by 20%. Membership drops a the 4-day Winter Jazz Intensives drops from $876 down to $700.

Each student is responsible for room and board costs while attending our program, but fortunately, NYC offers meal options that can fit most budgets. Hotels nearby the Winter Jazz Intensives start at around $125/night, and even more affordable housing options may be available through internet listings such as AirBnb and Craigslist.



Closing remarks

We at NYJA have spent years building a better model in jazz education, and we are proud to share it with you. It’s time that you enter a program that will help you achieve your goals and dreams, all within a nurturing and supportive environment. At New York Jazz Academy, you will find classes that are organized and thorough, all led by focused and helpful instructors. We make it a point that concepts are addressed in ways that ensure the material won’t just go over your head. Our staff is caring and empathic, and our community is engaged and inspiring. We take your musicianship very seriously and we thank you for devoting your time to jazz as an art form.

In closing, we hope you enjoy the following extra snapshots of people and music at the New York Jazz Academy Winter Jazz Intensives. If you think the time may be right for you to start with NYJA, feel free to contact us to schedule a pressure-free consultation and assessment.