Jazz Piano Workshop with Jeremy Siskind

JAN 28, 2017

Location: McNally Smith College of Music - 19 E Exchange Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
Time: 10am-4:30pm
Cost: FREE!

DFJE and Schubert Club invite you to a day of FREE presentations and clinics for pianists (all skill levels, Grades 7-12). Lunch provided.

The Workshop: Piano students (with all levels of experience with jazz) will begin the day in one large group for a welcome. Students will then break into their clinic groups (based on experience with jazz piano). At 11:40, all will gather for an entertaining introduction to jazz piano and the workshop from our clinicians, who will also talk briefly about the challenges of jazz piano, particularly making the transition from classical to jazz piano. There will be a break for lunch, followed by the clinics, which will run until about 2:15. After a short snack break (provided), students will return to their clinics until 3:40, when they come together to share performances. Three scholarships for piano lessons will be presented at the end of the Workshop, with one student selected from each clinic.

Cost: FREE! There is no charge for the workshop. Funding is provided by Schubert Club and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, with partial funding from a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (MRAC).


  • 9:45 – Check-In (Atrium)
  • 10:00 – Welcome (Auditorium)
  • 10:15 – Clinic Session 1 (Piano Labs)
    • Siskind, Group 1; Gray, Group 2; Caviani, Group 3
  • 11:40 – Demonstration: One song from each artists
  • 12:15 – Lunch Break (Sound Bite Cafe)
  • 1:00 – Clinic Session 2 (Piano Labs)
  • 2:15 – Snack Break (Atrium)
  • 2:30 – Clinic Sessions 3 (Piano Labs)
  • 3:40 – Scholarship Awards (Auditorium)
    • Student Performances (Auditorium)
    • Wrap-Up
  • 4:30 – End of Clinic

Students who have previously participated in the DFJE/Schubert Club Jazz Piano Workshop are invited to return to further expand your jazz piano skills!



  • Jeremy Siskind (pianist/composer/clinician) of New York, was most recently seen in this area playing with vocalist Nancy Harms, with whom he’s recorded here well received album Ellington at Night. Siskind won the 2012 Nottingham International Jazz Piano Competition and second place at the 2011 Montreux Solo Piano Competition, has published seven instructional books with Hal Leonard, and teaches both jazz and classical piano at Western Michigan University.  As a performer, Siskind is a leader of the “in-home concert” movement, having performed in about 100 homes in 25 different states since 2012.  Siskind has also performed at “traditional” venues, such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center, as well as in Europe, Asia, and North Africa. His 2015 CD, Housewarming, features vocals from Grammy winners Kurt Elling and Peter Eldridge, and was called a “shining example” of chamber jazz in Downbeat.  Jeremy Siskind holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music (Jazz Performance and Music Theory) and Columbia University (English and Comparative Literature). He’s the Artistic Director of the American Jazz Pianist Competition. He will be leading the Advanced Jazz Piano clinic (Group 3). (http://www.jeremysiskind.com/)
  • deVon Gray (pianist/arranger/composer)started studying the piano at the age of five and by the time he was eight, was plying with a church choir. For Gray, the lines between classical music, gospel, rock, and pop, were blurred from an early age. Though he grew up in Saint Paul, he went to the Perpich Center for Arts Education in Golden Valley to study music and continued his studies at the New England Conservatory, right around the corner from Berklee School of Music and the Boston Conservatory. As a result, he was meeting musicians performing all types of music. He has played with Heiruspecs, as well as Brother Ali, Chastity Brown, Brother Ali, Atmosphere, Dan Wilson, the Honeydogs, Caroline Smith, the Cloak Ox, and a number of other artists.  This past Fall, Gray has been working with students at the Perpich Conservatory for the Arts, the Saint Paul Conservatory, and with Heiruspecs. deVon will be leading the Intermediate Jazz Piano Clinic (Group 2).
  • Laura Caviani returns to the Piano Workshop, where she has been a clinician since 2013. One of the local “heavyweights” of jazz piano, Laura is a graduate of Lawrence University and University of Michigan, and highly regarded as a performer, composer and educator. Currently she is on faculty at Carleton College in Northfield, and will also be teaching at MacPhail starting in the fall. When not teaching, Laura keeps busy leading her trio, performing with the Pete Whitman X-Tet, and composing for small and large ensembles. Her recent commissions include works for the Great River Chorale. She has released five recordings as leader.  Laura will lead the Beginning Jazz Piano clinic (Group 1). (www.lauracaviani.com)



Three scholarships are provided by endowments to Schubert Club from the families of Marie Froehlich, Jane Matteson and David Paulus. One student will be selected from each clinic group to receive a $300 Scholarship for jazz piano lessons with one of three award-winning local jazz pianists/clinicians from the Twin Cities – Bryan Nichols, Laura Caviani, and Mary Louise Knutson, on a schedule to be negotiated with the clinician. Each clinician at the workshop will select one student from his or her clinic group whom they feel will benefit most from these lessons.


Participants — What clinic group is best for you? This workshop is intended to address skills-building for three levels of pianists. It is assumed that all participants have had at least three years of instruction in piano–classical, jazz, etc. and a basic ability to read music. (This workshop is not appropriate for piano beginners– you need three years instruction in some type of piano.)

See the guide below for clinic group placement (we may make adjustments after the morning session):


Group 1 – Beginner

  • At least three years of piano instruction (classical or jazz)
  • One year or less experience playing jazz piano (or no experience with jazz at all)
  • Little or no experience playing jazz piano in a band or ensemble
  • Less than one year of instruction in jazz piano

Group 2 – Intermediate

  • At least one year of jazz piano instruction
  • At least one year of experience playing jazz piano in an ensemble or band
  • Knowledge of basic jazz voicings (Cm, C7, Cm7b5)
  • Knowledge of major and minor scales
  • Familiar with a few jazz standards

Group 3 – Advanced

  • At least three years of jazz piano instruction
  • At least two years experience playing jazz piano in an ensemble or band
  • Knowledge and fluency of all major and minor scales
  • Knowledge of scales appropriate for each chord (scales over changes)
  • Knowledge and fluency using basic jazz voicings
  • Ability to play 12-bar blues
  • Knowledge of basic jazz standards


Please answer the following questions on the registration form to help us ensure proper clinic placement:

  1. How many years have you studied piano in general (classical, jazz, etc)
  2. How many years have your studied jazz piano?
  3. Are you currently playing jazz piano in a band at school or in the community?
  4. Who is your jazz piano instructor?


Please note– if you have headphones and 1/4” to 1/8” adaptors, please bring with you to the workshop.


Register by clicking HEREThis workshop is limited to 12 students in each clinic group. Complete registration by clicking “Register” and answering all questions accurately. It is essential that students designate their appropriate skill clinic and complete all questions on the registration form to ensure appropriate clinic assignments. You will receive email confirmation of your registration. Registration deadline is Friday, January 13, 2017.

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