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NYJC's brand new Vocal Project

for singers aged 14-18 (19 if taking a year out) who want to get right inside the music!

Be inspired. Be empowered. Be creative!

“This project offers a unique opportunity for young jazz vocalists, who don’t get the same level of ensemble opportunity as their instrumental peers in regional big bands” NYJC’s Executive Artistic Director, Issie Barratt

“There’s something essential about this music!” Vocal Project Musical Director, Pete Churchill


Applications deadline: Sunday 10 July 2022

Residential Course’s Timetable: 
Friday 12 August 2022: Arrival 1pm. Sessions: 2-5pm & 7-9pm
Saturday 13 August 2022:  Sessions: 10am-1pm 2-5pm & 7-9pm
Sunday 14 August 2022:  Sessions: 10am-1pm & 2-4pm then 4pm performance @ Benenden’s new 750 seater theatre

National Youth Jazz Collective

Application Process

Applications are open for 14-18 year olds (19 if taking a gap year).

Candidates are asked to complete an application form and submit a performance video of three tunes comprising one of the ballads and one of the four medium tempo swing tunes selected from the following list, accompanied by a pianist or guitarist know to the applicant or using backing tracks generated by Pete. The 3rd piece is of their own choice – which can be accompanied by a pianist or guitarist known to the applicant or be unaccompanied.

Applicants are not required to improvise (scat!) on their application video. They can if they want to – but paraphrasing the melody and communicating the lyric is sufficient at this stage. We’re really keen to work with all enthusiastic vocalists who are looking to broaden their skillset and take their singing to the next level.


The Vocal Project registration fee is £320*.

*Financial Help

We don’t want anyone to miss out because they cannot afford the fees. So NYJC offers means-tested bursaries for those needing financial help which can include covering the enrolment fee and transport costs to the course.

Who’s Involved?

Musical Director

Pete Churchill

The inspirational award winning Pete Churchill (London Vocal Project, Pete Churchill trio, Avalon Trio, West End MD of 5 guys named Moe, MD for Mark Murphy, Conductor of Kenny Wheeler Big Band, Professor of Jazz Composition @ Royal Academy of Music, Jazz singing @ Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles & Kodaly Summer School @ University of Queensland, Brisbane; Parliamentary Jazz Award for Education 2007)

Guest Tutor

Anita Wardell

Anita Wardell (BBC Jazz award 2006 & British Jazz award 2014) Tutor for NYJC’s faculty, UMASS (USA), Guildhall School of Music, TrinityLaban, Leeds College, Birmingham University, Colchester Institute, Brunel University, T & Adelaide University, Berkley California, Jazz Camp West (USA), Loire Summer School, Scuola Popolare di Musica di Testaccio & Saint Louis School of Music Summer Camp (Rome)


The National Youth Jazz Collective helps young, aspiring Jazz talents to develop their skills, passion and experience as musicians. We offer and support music education to increase the ability of young musicians to play by ear in small groups, to learn, improvise, compose, arrange and lead bands.

Skills Covered

Through singing in an ensemble we will address some essential skills needed for solo singing: Phrasing, paraphrasing, intonation, articulation and groove.

Other skills covered will be:

  • Learning by ear
  • Developing a good memory for music and lyrics.
  • Developing an understanding of form
  • Rhythmic security in an improvising environment.
  • Improvisation and understanding of jazz harmony and modes.

Hear Pete Churchill’s inspiring work with the London Vocal Project (formed in 2008):

The Location

Benenden School in Kent

Benenden School is an independent boarding school for girls in Kent, England. It is located in Hemsted Park at Benenden in the Kent countryside, between Cranbrook and Tenterden.

Benenden is currently moments away from opening a spectacular new School Hall and state-of-the-art Music School. Designed by the multi award-winning Guy Hollaway Architects, the new School Hall will offer state-of-the-art acoustics and will give audiences a truly amazing performance experience.

The Music School will also feature a smaller Recital Hall, with capacity for an audience of around 150 people, offering a performance space in a more intimate environment, perfect for rehearsals and smaller performances such as the nightly jam sessions and tutors concert. The Music School will have more than 20 practice rooms and classrooms, as well as a smaller performance room, IT suite and recording and performance booths.