Experience Jazz

…an innovative ensemble experience, connecting students across communities & genres

“While rooted in jazz, this program will embrace the power and artistry of hip-hop, rhythm & blues and other genres students and instructors want to explore together. Our goal is to bring together students of various cultural and musical backgrounds in an innovative music-making environment.”

– Justin Christy, DFJE Board Chair

Who is this for?

  • Up to 25 middle and high school musicians with varying levels of experience
  • For student instrumentalists and vocalists seeking musical mentorship and creative collaboration

What do students do?

  • Collaborate with other like-minded musicians in an ensemble setting
  • Learn repertoire and musical vocabulary from established professional musicians
  • Explore the spirit of jazz and other musical traditions, while directly influencing the material

How is it organized?

  • Auditions help place participants in ensembles according to skill level and instrument
  • Three different ensembles meet on Saturday afternoons 1:30-3:30pm at High School for Recording Arts
  • Each ensemble is led by a professional teaching artist
  • Each ensemble prepares repertoire selected by students and their teaching artist
  • Ensembles give regular performances for their peers, and periodic public performances

What is required?

  • Students must provide their own instruments (in reasonable working order)
  • Students must have some experience playing their instrument
  • Preferred instruments include: brass (trumpet, trombone, French horn, euphonium, tuba), woodwind (saxophone, clarinet, flute, bass clarinet), percussion (drum set, hand percussion, electronic percussion), keyboard (piano, marimba, synthesizers), and stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello, electric or acoustic bass, guitar). Other instruments may be considered.

2017 Auditions

  • Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017 12:30-3:30pm at High School for Recording Arts. First session: October 7
  • All participants are asked to commit for the duration of the Oct-June program
  • To audition, sign up by clicking here by Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.


  • $125 for the year – full or partial scholarships will be made available upon request

For 2017-2018 Experience Jazz Program details, click here.

Experience Jazz is presented in partnership with

Backline for Experience Jazz, provided by:

Ellis Drums Logo



DFJE programming is made possible by jazz supporters like you! Help make the inaugural year of Experience Jazz possible by clicking here to make a donation today!