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 are leveled appropriately, and they meet once weekly.


    Repertoire is similar to that of a very strong college big 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, 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 includes saxophones, trumpets, trombones, rhythm section (guitar, piano, bass, drums) and is dependent upon those applying and auditioning for spots. If you play clarinet or flute, you may be eligible to play.

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.
  • $120-$336/semester (member rate).
  • $420/semester (regular rate).
  • Learn more about membership.
  • For an even lower rate, members can sign up for a small ensemble program in any semester and reduce big band tuition to as low as $120/semester. Limited availability. Click here for more info on class bundle offers.


  • 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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