NYJC is expanding our regional workshops to new centres around England.

Download fliers: Hampshire | Bristol | South Essex | Bedfordshire | London

MTAwards2017 Best Musical InitOur ambition is to support education for jazz as far and wide as possible and in many ways. Historically we have worked with music services and hubs, upskilling tutors and teachers where requested and supporting them with jazz specialists for (mostly) secondary aged students. This has been through 0ne-offs and also more sustained programmes.

In 2017 – 18 we hope to offer our tried and tested workshop series format in 7 different areas. Many are in the South of England due to requests for uptake, but we’d like to be all over!

This page is for those who are used to educating young musicians: to explain our approach and the content of our offer through these workshops. It may be that your region is really well served for jazz education – please be reassured that we don’t want to parachute in and compete with that. We are just aware that many areas are now struggling to put this in place – so we aim to enhance local provision if needed. Do let us know if you’d like to talk further about partnerships near you.


sc-2016-gig-1Jazz is often called a ‘generative’ rather than ‘interpretive’ art form: where practitioners share in spontaneously and collectively generating the musical event that unfolds in the moment.

To support this NYJC uses teaching methods consistent with contemporary jazz education in conservatoires. But this is modified to younger students’ musical abilities and key-stage, developing musical intuition through internalisation and interaction. Key elements of our method are:

  • All aspects of musical engagement are dealt with aurally – the norm for jazz musicians;
  • Students learn to understand and emulate recordings before volunteering and leading on their own ideas within the same repertoire;
  • All involvement is ensemble based, playing with musicians of similar standard streamed from beginner to advanced;
  • Progression is overseen by expert jazz educators – with graded repertoire selected specifically to suit the ensemble’s specific musical interests and next-step needs;
  • Participants are encouraged to think as both soloist and bandleader/arranger: dissecting the components of arrangement and its improvised elements;
  • Activities always conclude with a performance opportunity: a testing, authentic improvisational experience which simultaneously illustrates examples of progression to lower stream players.


summerschool2007For ten years NYJC has been a part of the music offer for young people in England. To date NYJC staff and trainers have directly delivered programmes and supported 400 music educators across England to upskill their staff to deliver education for jazz, working with nearly 6,000 young people and performing to over 28,000 in the process. This has been successful but continuity has sometimes stalled when key personnel move on or elements of music education provision become constrained.

Our ambition now is to ‘futureproof’ our offer by developing regional provision of streamed ensemble workshops (augmented by CPD sessions to regional music staff when requested). We want to provide a consistent quality-controlled framework and methodology that works to complement or augment other offers (never displacing or competing).

sitar-girlWe want to attract young musicians from varied settings. NYJC will centrally design and locally adapt publicity that establishes the value of our brand in partnership with local operators.

Our audience will typically be those learning the basics of their instrument through weekly lessons, youth orchestras, big bands etc plus those who enjoy improvisation-based musical forms like rock, rap, non-western music not engaged with local music services. We also actively seek to engage a further cohort from minority backgrounds often outside of conventional music teaching. Through promoting our value from their own starting point, we aim to flexibly introduce each attendee into progression routes that can bring out their potential as musicians.

Our activity in each region is based on this same broad template:

  1. Recruitment and training of regional tutors under contract to NYJC, supervised by one of NYJC’s senior tutors;
  2. Recruitment of participants: through local hubs and music service networks, peer-to-peer interest in improvised music, local jazz networks, alumni performances or online promotion plus proactive brokering of partnerships with established local groups that will help to ensure increased diversity in our intake;
  3. Hosting monthly workshops developing ensemble-based skills and creative originality as outlined above;
  4. Presenting a short performance at the end of each workshop day and public performance at the end of each season;
  5. Supporting participants to audition for the Summer School and other higher level NYJC opportunities;
  6. Maintain accessibility through our sliding-scale bursary system will underwrite up to 100% for those whose families experience financial hardship.


095__MG_5549It will be important to students that we can sustain our programme over several years; helping them to understand, enjoy and build confidence as increasingly accomplished jazz musicians. The pathway for development needs to welcome players from many entry points and an ideal would be to have 3 or 4 ensembles in any given area, allowing attendees to progress through the groups.

We are aware that this is very unlikely in year one. Rather we need to show how and why the programme will work for them, so that it creates loyalty and builds in number. The value of NYJC’s historic work is that it can show a new group of students what has been happening elsewhere and why it will suit them. This involves us:

  • Signposting to videos of students in our other groups such as Kings Place London;
  • Giving students a ‘welcome pack’ that establishes that they’ve joined something bigger than just their region’s NYJC series;
  • Making sure that parents understand and value the distinctive nature of jazz education and encourage their children’s development in these terms
  • Showing students that they are learning similar repertoire to others around the country;
  • Portraying each region’s activities on our Facebook page so that they see they are part of something bigger and are being celebrated for their own contribution;
  • Promoting our Summer School as the place of aspiration where you find a national network of similar players whose work is broadcast on our YouTube channel;
  • Using our alumni to show what is possible as students progress, including offering more extension opportunities through the year;
  • Maintaining a strong sense of consistency in our tutors as outstanding players and composers in their own right with the added capability to impart these skills to students in our age range.


  • A chance to excel in an area you’re gifted at
  • More musical confidence
  • More knowledge of music structure including advanced harmonic understanding
  • Enables students to get sounds from your imagination into the air
  • Good social and cultural context teaches how to be cooperative & respectful in band settings
  • Through learning to listen well, become more capable as collaborators with good teamwork
  • Discovering there are others who like the same things as you (when you thought you were a bit strange!)
  • Understanding your own musical preferences and developmental needs, not just going with an established pathway
  • Can improvise on what you know already: valuing your own initiative and inventiveness
  • Can commit to an idea and progress it
  • Learn to work quickly and appreciatively with strangers
  • Can see the importance and value of self-expression, to themselves and to society
  • Can make more of what you’re hearing: creating new sound worlds individually and collectively
  • Develop a sophisticated expression of your identity
  • Economic benefits from musical skill development
  • Mutuality: an individual totally expresses themselves then facilitates someone else to do the same
  • Inspires and encourages people to be open to the new
  • Building appreciation, building audiences for jazz and improvised music
  • Whole community approach which is non-competitive and inclusive: a way of seeing and playing music that affects a mind change in the performance and collaborator
  • More kinaesthetic and democratic musical experience helps some people learn better
  • Music that is happening now by bands like this now that has more dimensions than what you normally hear
  • NYJC is good value for money!