New jazz combos for adults

JWA jazz combo for adults playing in a restaurant

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 combos for adults for intermediate-advanced players, and beginners who are new to playing in a jazz band and improvising. There are some FAQs further down this page.

Do you play an instrument and want to try playing in a jazz band? Do you already play and want to join a group? Perhaps during 2020 you’ve returned to an instrument you used to play, or maybe you’ve even started playing for the first time. Maybe you were in a group but it has been stopped by Covid-19. Whatever your situation, we invite you to join us in one of our jazz combos for adults at JWA in St Leonards. Contacts us now to join or find out more.

Update: Tuesdays 6:30pm (beginners) and 7:45pm (intermediate).

What is a jazz combo?

A ‘combo’ is a small jazz band with a combination instruments or players. Jazz bands usually come in two main types: big bands and combos. A big band has about 15-20 members and tends to have a standard instrumentation of five saxophones, four trombones, four trumpets, and a rhythm section of bass, drums, piano and/or guitar. In a big band most members spend most of their time reading off notated parts. What everyone plays is fixed most of the time.

JWA adult combo peforming at Jazz Festival

A jazz combo is a small group, usually 3 to 8 members playing any mixture of instruments: there is no standard instrumentation, although usually there are ‘horns’ or ‘front line’ (eg saxophones, trumpets, trombones, etc) and ‘rhythm section’ (bass, drums, guitar and/or piano, and sometimes percussion). Unlike a big band, in a combo most of what happens involves improvisation in one form or another. What all those different forms are is one of the things you’ll learn and practice in combo. Combo is just short for ‘combination’ of musicians.

About jazz combos for adults at JWA

Q: What size are the groups? A: The maximum is 8 people in each group

Q: When are the rehearsals? A: Tuesday evenings: 6:30pm (beginners) & 7:45pm (intermediate). Each one of our combos rehearses one evening each week during our semester. Each rehearsal is at least one hour. Let us know if there’s another time that works for you in case we get enough players for extra groups.

Q: Where are the rehearsals? A: Our combos for adults rehearse at the JWA studio in St Leonards.

Q: What is the price? A: $41 per week.

Q: Who are the tutors? A: Our combo tutors are experienced teachers from the Jazz Workshop Australia faculty led by principal Dr Saul Richardson.

Q: What level are the groups? A: Including the new combos, we have groups for adults who haven’t played in a jazz band before and are new to improvising, intermediate groups for adults with some experience, and more advanced groups for very experienced jazz players. We can help place you in the best group for you. To join a beginners group you should at least be able to play your instrument at a basic level and be able to play some scales.

Q: Do I need my own instrument? A: Yes, everyone except drummers and piano/keyboard players will need their own instrument. We have excellent ‘backline’ equipment for students to use including drum kits and cymbals, amps for bass and guitar, pianos, and keyboards. We also have music stands. We don’t hire instruments but our neighbour In Tune Music does.

Q: What sort of music will we play? A: Jazz! Most of our focus is usually on standard repertoire but we make sure to include more contemporary fusion and jazz-rock styles as well as older, more ‘traditional’ music. These aren’t rock bands.

Q: What instruments can join? A: Pretty well any instrument can play in a jazz combo. If you are unsure, just ask and we’ll see. Vocalists are most welcome but will participate as instrumentalists – these aren’t backing bands for soloists. Don’t worry, this approach will help you become a much stronger musician.

Q: Do I have to have talent to join or a natural feel for jazz? A: No, those things are myths and misconceptions. We teach you and help you build the knowledge, skills, and techniques to play jazz. Being in a group helps you learn and practice the social, interactive skills essential for jazz.

Q: What do rehearsals include? A: in our jazz combo rehearsals you can expect a mixture of learning tunes and structured coaching in jazz improvisation, small-group playing techniques, and performance skills. It is a mixture of playing and learning and more than just a weekly jam.

Q: I have another question about combos, can you answer it? A: Yes, happy to. Just contact us and we’ll help.

2 thoughts on “New jazz combos for adults

  1. Jacqui Mapstone says:

    Hello, please let me know if for clarinet or sax players and is it face to face in St Leonards – thanks Jacqui

  2. JWA says:

    Hi Jacqui. Yes, it is for clarinet and sax players. It is face-to-face and at the JWA studio on Atchison St in St Leonards. The cost is $41/week. I hope you can join us, you’ll be welcome. Saul, Jazz Workshop Australia.

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