NYJA® Big Bands are open to intermediate, advanced, and professional level instrumentalists who are looking to play and work in a big band setting. NYJA® Big Bands are not merely reading bands. The material is rigorously and artistically rehearsed and performed throughout the year. Participants include professionals who join to keep their chops up, hobbyists who used to play in big bands and want to return to the big band format, and talented players who are new to big band. Bands meet once weekly.


    Repertoire is similar to that of a very strong college band, ranging from old-time classics to contemporary big band pieces. NYJA® has exclusive access to large volumes of historic charts, including many out-of-print pieces. Featured arrangers and composers include Duke Ellington, Sammy Nestico, Frank Mantooth, Bob Brookmeyer, Sauter-Finegan, Bill Chase, Bill Holman, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Maria Schneider, Bob Mintzer, Paquito D’Rivera, Matt Catingub, and much, much more. Instrumentation typically includes a combination of saxophones, trumpets, trombones, rhythm section (guitar, piano, bass, drums) and is dependent upon those applying and auditioning for spots. If you play flute or clarinet, you may also be eligible to join. Band sizes typically range from nonet to 22-piece orchestra.

Performance Opportunities

    NYJA® Big Bands perform at clubs and events throughout the year. Previous performance venues have included Lincoln Center, Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall, Pier Sixty, the Tea Lounge, West-Park Presbyterian, St. Peter’s Church “Jazz On The Plaza” Concert Series, Club Bonafide, and more.


  • Manhattan (Times Square)


  • Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall Semesters
  • Saturdays, 2:00pm-3:50pm (Manhattan)
  • Want to start now? NYJA® offers rolling admission for many programs. Contact us to get started.


  • Semesters are typically 7-9 sessions/weeks in duration.
  • $336/semester (member rate).
  • $420/semester (regular rate).
  • Learn more about membership.


  • Sight-reading ability a must.
  • A positive attitude toward music and musicians, and a desire to have fun!
  • Dedication to learning your parts.
  • A desire to take advice and accept direction.


  • Perform regularly with other like-minded musicians.
  • Learn from top NYC talent.
  • Participate in concerts year-round.
  • Enjoy a full big band experience every week.
  • Challenge yourself with repertoire tailored to your goals.
  • Forge lasting relationships with other players.
  • Challenge and grow as a musician.

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