Jazz Education blog by Dr Saul Richardson JWA co-founder & principal, and creator behind the Teaching Jazz YouTube channel. Regular articles, jazz teaching advice, tips for parents and students, interviews, research, and more. Also news about Jazz Workshop Australia.

How are JAZZ babies made?

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Combos at Lazybones

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Jazz small ensemble skills

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Transcribing?

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Christmas gigs!

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Face-to-face lessons are back

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JWA Has Moved – 89 Chandos St

We have moved. Jazz Workshop Australia is now at 89 Chandos St, St Leonards, 2065.

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New jazz combos for juniors & adults

Happy New School Year everyone! To celebrate the new year, after an amazing summer with an unforgettable and safe Jazz Camp, and thanks to unprecedented [...]

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Gigs!

The year 2020 ended for two of our student jazz combos with real, in-person gigs. It was a challenging year with restrictions on live music [...]

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JWA YouTube channel

We’ve started a new YouTube channel, ‘JazzWorkshopAustralia‘, to showcase to work of our students and teachers. To start things off, we have the end-of-year virtual [...]

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New jazz combos for adults

We are pleased to be able to offer new groups for adult musicians during Term 4 this year. Subject to demand, there will be jazz [...]

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Michelle Shih – JWA’s classical guitar teacher

Michelle Shih – Classical guitar teacher for JWA We are excited to announce the arrival of classical guitarist Michelle Shih to teach at JWA. She [...]

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Jacques Emery – new bass teacher at JWA

We are delighted to announce that the wonderful bassist Jacques Emery has joined our team at JWA as a teacher. Jacques is now available for [...]

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Deven Rahman joins the MAGA elite

Deven Rahman, our wonderful trumpet teacher here at JWA, has been awarded a surprise (to him) third place in a national arranging competion. The National [...]

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Together Again!

After about seven frustrating weeks of remote lessons and rehearsals, we are back with face-to-face lessons and rehearsals at JWA. We found some workable solutions [...]

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An Educator’s Review and Guide to JamKazam for Real-Time Small group Rehearsals and Music Lessons (Part 1).

By Saul Richardson. Recently I’ve been experimenting with the JamKazam platform for playing in real-time over the internet. To summarise, it can work pretty well, [...]

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Drumless tracks

Are you a drummer in lockdown? While some may argue that is the best place for most drummers to be, we disagree of course. Here [...]

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A sequence of levels of development in learning jazz improvisation

By Saul Richardson*. Students typically progress through different levels as they learn jazz improvisation. Naturally, different people might progress at different rates, and some parts [...]

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The early music education of Lester Young

Lester Young is the next featured jazz great in our occasional series looking at the early musical training of famous jazz musicians.

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9 tips for buying guitar cables

This article gives nine invaluable tips for buying, using, and caring for guitar cables. Cables (aka leads) are an essential bit of gear for electric [...]

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Dizzy Gillespie

Here is John ‘Dizzy’ Gillespie, (1935-1993), virtuoso jazz trumpeter and one of the stars of the bebop style in the 1940s to 1950s. As a [...]

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Sydney Conservatorium auditions this week

Our best wishes go to all who are auditioning this week for jazz at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It is a vocational course designed [...]

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Emily Remler

Here’s a great jazz guitarist you may not have heard. Emily Remler (1957-1990) was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. [...]

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Vibrato

Vibrato? Vibrato is an important and useful expressive technique in many guitar styles as well as on other instruments. Often young guitar players sound out [...]

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Jazz camp elective classes 2020

The elective activities for our upcoming 2020 Summer Jazz Camp will be: A break from music/games Composition Drumming for non-drummers Electronic effects for all instruments [...]

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Welcome Charlie Sundborn

We are very, very happy to welcome our newest sax teacher Charlie Sundborn to JWA. Himself a graduate of JWA and currently completing his final [...]

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Merimbula Jazz Festival 2019

It is nearly time for the annual Merimbula Jazz Festival, and JWA will be there again. This year, for the first time, we’ll have two [...]

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JWA student wins James Morrison Scholarship

JWA graduate Damon Poppleton has won the prestigious $10,000 James Morrison Scholarship for 2019 at the recent Generations In Jazz festival in Mt Gambier, South [...]

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Farewell Jeremy, Welcome Jack

Jeremy Rose, saxophonist, clarinettist, composer, and musical entrepreneur has left Jazz Workshop Australia after many years on our teaching faculty. He is replaced by Jack [...]

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How to become a better jazz player: beyond music lessons

Learning to play jazz can be hard. While everybody’s jazz learning journey is different, there are some important things you can do to become a [...]

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Farewell Jamie Cameron

We are sorry to say that Jamie Cameron has made the difficult decision to leave the JWA faculty. One of our longest-serving teachers, Jamie was [...]

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JWA Big Band

We are excited to announce the rebirth of the JWA Big Band!  To complement the Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra, an outstanding big band for school [...]

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Jazz Camp FAQ

In the lead-up to Jazz Camp starting January 7, here are some frequently asked questions before and during the camp. Do I need to bring [...]

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Jazz Camp evening concerts

We’ve got an awesome line-up of evening concerts for students coming to this January’s Summer Jazz Camp. Each night a professional group plays exclusively for [...]

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Jazz education rhetoric and reality

by Saul Richardson, 2018. There is a popular misconception that playing jazz is exclusively about uniquely talented individuals expressing an unusual inner creativity that only [...]

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Farewell Kali Gillen

Kali Gillen, popular sax and clarinet teacher, is leaving teaching to pursue other opportunities. Although she is still studying at the Sydney Conservatrium, she is [...]

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Some ways that jazz education excludes girls and why this is a problem

By Saul Richardson, 2018. (updated December 2019) Here are some thoughts on some factors that may drive students, including girls and women, away from jazz [...]

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Summer Jazz Camp 2020 electives

The elective activities for our upcoming 2020 Summer Jazz Camp will be: A break from music/games Composition Drumming for non-drummers Electronic effects for all instruments [...]

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New jazz combo for adults

  New members are welcome in our new jazz combo for adults We’ve started a new jazz combo for adults,  intermediate+ level, rehearsing on Monday [...]

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Beginning teaching music lessons

The first lessons: what to do with a new student – advice for starting to teach So you’ve got a new student. Great! Now what [...]

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Combos 2018 underway

Our jazz bands are underway for the new year. The Saturday intermediate combo was first, kicking off on Saturday Feb 3, the very first day [...]

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University auditions success

At the end of last year seven of our students auditioned for various university music courses. Most applied for jazz performance, but some were interested [...]

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Jazz camp scholarship winners

Two scholarships were awarded to Summer Jazz Camp students this January 2018. The recipient of the major award, the Sarah Waugh Return scholarship was pianist [...]

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Drum Lessons, lower north shore

Enrol now for lessons in 2018 We have an insanely great drum teacher at JWA, available for drum lessons on the lower north shore and [...]

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Emma Stephenson, Freedman Jazz Fellow 2017

We were excited to hear that one of our former students, pianist & vocalist Emma Grace  Stephenson, has won the prestigious Freedman Jazz Fellowship for [...]

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JWA stage band

We put together an “all-star” big band to play for a Parramatta Rotary club function. It was at the Holiday Inn at Parramatta. Everyone in [...]

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End of term jam

What better way to end a term than with a jam? Saturday September 23, a bunch of students from our combos did just that.   [...]

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10th Anniversary Concert

  JWA 10th Anniversary Concert Monday 28 August Chatswood RSL Club auditorium (Victoria St, Chatswood) 6:15pm. Free entry. Meals & drinks available. Families and kids [...]

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Junior Combo @ Merimbula

June 9-11 our Junior combo performed in the Merimbula Jazz Festival. Merimbula is on the far south coast of NSW, and the festival is one [...]

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Adult combos concert

Our over 18s-only adult combos will be playing a concert at the Jazz Workshop on Monday May 22 from 7pm. it is the end-of-course performance [...]

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Matt Baker to teach at Summer Jazz Camp

We are excited to announce that New York Australian expat and acclaimed jazz piano virtuoso and vocalist Matt Baker will be teaching at Summer Jazz [...]

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New combo for beginners

From term 3 of this year (2017) we’ll be running a new combo for school-aged beginners. At the moment the day and time are TBC [...]

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Why you need more than just big band

From time to time we meet young musicians who are about to finish high school and aspire to study at one of the reputable tertiary [...]

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Latin Jazz elective

One of the elective options at Summer Jazz Camp 2017 is Latin Jazz. The description didn’t make it into the first email we sent out, [...]

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Just Have Fun?

Sometimes well-meaning teachers will tell you that “the most important thing is that you just have fun”. Of course you should enjoy playing jazz, but [...]

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Classical clarinettist Jason Noble now teaching @ JWA!

We are excited to welcome Jason Noble to the JWA faculty. Jason is one of Australia’s foremost classical clarinet teachers and a very successful performer. [...]

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How can I get more solos in jazz band?

By Saul Richardson, University of Sydney. May 2016. Learning jazz and playing jazz at school is usually great fun and rewarding. But it can also [...]

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Just a quick update

Hi there, it’s been a while since we got a chance to post anything here, so a quick update is probably in order. At the [...]

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Horace Silver: Education of a young jazz musician

By Saul Richardson, 2016. Horace Silver was one of the jazz Greats. As a young child, before the age of ten, he took piano lessons. [...]

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Jazz Mythology and Reality

By Saul Richardson, May 2015. I couldn’t make music if I spent all day in a school Recently a prodigious young pianist from Indonesia, Joey [...]

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Jazz Camp 2015 photo gallery

Photos of Summer Jazz Camp 2015 held at Naamaroo Conference Centre, Sydney (5 pages). Faculty included: John Morrison (drums; musical director) Saul Richardson (guitar; director) [...]

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Faking It: Real Books and how to use them

By Saul Richardson. You are not meant to play most Fake Book/Real Book tunes exactly as written. One of the most widely-used resources among jazz [...]

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Epic Trumpet Players Needed!

The Sydney Youth Jazz Orchestra is looking for new trumpet players to audition for either SYJO (under 30) or SYJO2 (under 19). Full scholarships are [...]

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2015 combos now enrolling

Do you play an instrument? Would you or your child age 8+ like to join a jazz band where you: a) play great music? b) [...]

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Registration for Jazz Camp 2015 has closed

Next week 80 young jazz musicians from all over Australia will converge on Naamaroo Conference Center, nestled in the picturesque bushland of the Lane Cove National Park. [...]

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Jazz Camp closing soon

This summer’s Jazz camp is close to closing for new registrations; We can accept late registrations until 30 December, 2014 or the camp is full, [...]

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Jazz Band Teaching Guide

I’M GOING TO TEACH JAZZ BAND?! A Really Rough Guide to Directing and Instructing Middle and High School Jazz Ensembles, by Dr Keith Kelly. Jazz music [...]

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Relativism in Jazz Education

By Saul Richardson, Jazz education is hampered by notions of relativism among its educators. The view confuses the technical features of language with the ideas, [...]

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Term 1 2014 starting

Lessons and rehearsals at the Jazz Workshop are just about to start for 2014. Private lessons, student combos, and the SYJO 2 & 3 big [...]

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Atlanta

As I write this, I am sitting in the excellent Atlanta international airport. What a contrast to the appalling Miami airport! Quick, polite, friendly, efficient…everything [...]

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Miami-Orlando-Tampa

Bayside Marketplace, Miami. As usual, it took over two hours to clear Miami airport, the last thing everybody needed after such an early start. In [...]

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More Barbados

Last day in Barbados: Schools and the Yacht Club. Today we played at two high schools: the Alleyne School and Harrison College. The Alleyne School [...]

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Tour blog January 8-9

Wednesday 8 January: Crystal Cove & The Beach House The last blog post was incorrectly titled “day 8”. It wasn’t, it was day 7. Today [...]

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Tour day 8

Day 8: Concert @ Frank Collymore Hall, Bridgetown. Our day started with a 7am breakfast ready to meet our bus at 8:00. It was a [...]

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Tour blog days 5-6

The JWA Big Band is on tour during January to the USA and Barbados. Big Band tour day 5: Recording Today it was into the [...]

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USA Tour days 3-4

Highlights of days 3 & 4 of the USA/Barbados big band tour included: Workshops with Donny McCaslin, Dave Douglas and Dennis Mackrel The first gig [...]

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2014 USA Tour days 1-2

Our 2014 big band tour to the USA and Barbados is underway. Day 1: Travel day, Sydney to New York. The group left Sydney early [...]

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Jazz Camp registration has closed

No further bookings will be taken for Jazz Camp 2014, sorry if you missed out. Registration is online and opens mid-year. We are really looking [...]

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Register now for Jazz Camp January 2014

There are still places left in Jazz Camp 2014. Don’t miss out, don’t delay: get your registration in today. Teaching Faculty | Evening Concerts | Program | Start/End times | Final Concert & [...]

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ensembles concert 2014

2014 JWA Ensembles Concert Combos & Big Bands Thursday 28 November 6:00 – 8:30 pm Club Ryde X (Ryde ex-services club) Tickets $5 at the [...]

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Jazz Camp in LA

All ages, Any instrument, Families and Groups welcome. For the first time Jazz Camp is going to Los Angeles. This camp is open to all [...]

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Jazz Camp in LA

  All ages, Any instrument, Families and Groups welcome. For the first time Jazz Camp is going to Los Angeles. This camp is open to all [...]

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Missing bar numbers: counting the true cost

  Have you ever considered what those missing numbers might really be costing you? [quote]“Five after letter K?” “Sorry, where was that?” “Does that include [...]

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The electric guitar in school music: a case study

The involvement of the electric guitar in the co-curricular music program of a Sydney high school: a case study in the structuring of pedagogic discourse. (Rev) By [...]

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Improvisation workshop these holidays

The next school holiday improvisation workshop will be Monday 23 September – Tuesday 8. It is for intermediate and more advanced students who already have [...]

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Concert Rehearsals

Group rehearsals for the JWA Student Concert are on Sunday September 8 at JWA. Here is the schedule for the afternoon: 3:00 Peter Farrar’s group [...]

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New Drum Teacher

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Teaching Modes: a useful method

  By Saul Richardson. In this article I will compare two different ways of presenting and teaching modes to students for improvisation. The first is [...]

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Winter Holidays

Combo rehearsals and lessons go into a two week recess from the end of this week. The last day of lessons and combos for the [...]

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Improvising with scales: a useful way for beginners

by Saul Richardson. The traditional way of teaching and talking about scales is to play them up or down from the root note. Of course [...]

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Free stage band guide

As we are heading rapidly towards Band Festival season, we thought it might be timely to update our free guide to Building a Gold standard [...]

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Two useful tuning/listening warm-ups for band

Here are a couple of band tuning and listening warm ups we’ve found to be really useful and effective. The first came thanks to Bob [...]

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Winter Jazz Camp July 3-5

Winter Jazz Camp Wednesday July 3 – Friday 5, ages 10+ 24 hours of tuition! Winter Jazz Camp is back. Click here for a printable brochure. It [...]

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Easter Show photos on Facebook

All the JWA and SYJO gigs at this year’s Easter show are now done. Everyone played really well, some in some very hot conditions indeed! [...]

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Easter Long Weekend

JWA will be closed for the Easter long weekend. Friday March 29: closed. Saturday March 30: closed. Sunday March 31: closed. Monday April 1: closed. [...]

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Choosing the right music teacher

  Be aware that not every teacher is suited to every student so you should ask us to help match you with the best fit for [...]

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JWA bands to play at Easter Show

A number of JWA Combos have been selected to perform at this year’s Royal Easter Show at Homebush later this month. On Sunday March 24, [...]

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Welcome new teachers

This year we welcome three new teachers to the JWA faculty. Robert Campbell is teaching trumpet on Wednesdays. Michael Walder is teaching double and electric [...]

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Improvisation for the Rhythm Section

Some ideas for involving the rhythm section in improvisation lessons. It can be frustrating being a young rhythm section player in a jazz band. Most [...]

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HSC and Audition Results 2012

JWA students have once again done extremely well both in HSC music and in university auditions. All our HSC students who worked with our teachers [...]

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Eric Dunan Interview

Eric Dunan is an expat American trumpet player and leading jazz educator now resident in Australia. He is director of the very successful jazz program [...]

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Summer Holidays

Merry Christmas everybody, happy new year, and enjoy your summer! JWA is closed between December 15 and February 4. Lessons and rehearsals for 2013 begin [...]

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Christmas kids camp On Sale

Jazz for Kids (jazz for Christmas!) Now over 50% off! December 17 – 18, ages 8+ Our famous Jazz For Kids holiday workshop is back, [...]

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Notes on the electric bass

  Here is a handy PDF you can download and print out. It shows all the notes up the neck of an electric bass. Click [...]

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Don’t be a jerk!

Some Advice for High School and University/College Musicians. You have worked long and hard, over many years probably, to reach a high standard of playing. [...]

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concert wrap

By Saul Richardson, Principal at Jazz Workshop Australia. We held our annual Jazz Workshop Australia ensembles concert this week, Thursday November 29 at Club Ryde [...]

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Concert Tonight November 29

JWA combos and the SYJO Big Bands in concert Tonight, Thurdsay November 29 Club Ryde X (Ryde Ex Services Club) 742 Victoria Rd, Ryde 6:00pm [...]

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Exam success

In 2012 we at Jazz Workshop Australia started offering formal examinations in jazz performance for our students. Now, after a few terms of hard work, the first [...]

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Jazz Improvisation: What matters most?

By Saul Richardson, Principal at Jazz Workshop Australia. What is most important? Sound, rhythm and style are the first things listeners perceive when they hear [...]

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How to choose the right conductor for your school band: Ten tips for finding the best person for the job.

Saul Richardson B.Ed (hons), MACE Principal, Jazz Workshop Australia [box]When looking to hire a conductor for your school band it is critically important that you [...]

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Jazz for Christmas holiday camp

Jazz for Kids (jazz for Christmas!) December 17 – 18, ages 8+ Our famous Jazz For Kids holiday workshop is back, in the annual Christmas [...]

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JWA Combos concert November 29

The annual JWA combos concert will be on Thurdsay November 29 Ryde Ex Services Club 742 Victoria Rd, Ryde 6:00pm $5/$20 for families. Tickets at [...]

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Ballad Thesaurus

Has there ever been a ballad played on a jazz gig that hasn’t been described as beautiful? We don’t think so! So, as a service [...]

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Term 4 is underway

Term 4 at JWA has started. All lessons are back on and combo rehearsals have also resumed. The term dates are: Monday October 8 to [...]

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Does Big Band Jazz have to be so loud?

After adjudicating at a “stage band” festival in Sydney earlier this year and listening in at some combined concerts where several school bands all played [...]

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2014 USA tour open

We are now calling for expressions of interest in the JWA tour to USA and Barbados. It is a 16 night big band performance and [...]

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Modeling in instrumental music lessons

By Saul Richardson, Princiapl Jazz Workshop Australia. In this article I show why students should study with a teacher who plays the same instrument as [...]

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Interview with Emma Grace Stephenson

Emma Grace Stephenson is making her mark on the Sydney jazz scene as a fine, creative and versatile pianist and singer. Her playing continues to [...]

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Presenting a professional performance

As a Jazz Musician By Karen Richards, JWA Director & freelance Events Consultant. Before successful actors walk onto a stage in front of an audience, [...]

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Kids’ composition and recording camp

September 26 – 27, ages 8+ Here at JWA we are really excited to be able to tell you about a fantastic and brand new [...]

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The Bebop Minor Scale

For young players looking for a scale for improvising in minor keys, the Bebop Minor scale is an excellent option. It is spelled as follows: [...]

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Annual concert September 17

The Jazz Workshop Australia annual concert is on the evening of Monday September 17 at Chatswood RSL Club. Entry for audience is $5, performers are [...]

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For Advanced Improvisation Students: Some thoughts

8T9F855CGV66 By Saul Richardson, www.JazzWorkshopAustralia.com.au So you have some chops, you can run through some chord changes, you can play in tune…you’ve got the basics [...]

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Does My Child Have Talent?

Parents seem to fall into one of two camps when they think about their own children. Most are inclined to believe their child is above [...]

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Jazz Exams at JWA

Want to do exams? Now You Can, here at JWA announcing the new exam system, JWA Jazz Performance Levels  Exclusive to Jazz Workshop Australia. [unordered_list [...]

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