Instrumental Jazz

Open to musicians on all instruments. This track emphasizes improvisation and small-ensemble playing with a program developed to give participants tools to develop their musical vocabulary.  It also emphasizes respect for the tradition while developing one’s own creativity. Participants receive well-rounded training that includes:

  • Four levels of jazz theory (chords/scales and tools for improv) as well as an advanced rhythm theory class.
  • Daily master classes for guitar, piano, bass, drums saxophone, flute, trombone, trumpet.
  • Faculty coached combos to put theory into practice.
  • Nightly jam sessions that ensure lots of playing time.
  • Small class sizes allow for personalized attention.
  • Daily listening sessions where faculty highlight the music that shaped their development.
  • Final concert with each combo performing a short set.


“The VJC summer program is the highlight of my year and it is always musically uplifting as well as healing on a physical and spiritual level.”
—Summer Workshop 2017 Participant

“This program is an incredible opportunity to work with living legends, learn from some of the best working musicians out there, and be inspired by one’s peers.”

—Elijah Taylor, multi-year participant

2019 Summer Workshop Instrumental Program Faculty
  • Jason Palmer (trumpet)
  • Jennifer Wharton and John Fedchock (trombone)
  • Stacy Dillard, Michael Zsoldos (saxophones)
  • Camille Thurman (flute)
  • Helen Sung, Harvey Diamond, Ray Gallon, Eugene Uman (piano)
  • Freddie Bryant (guitar)
  • Cameron Brown, Marcus McLaurine, David Picchi, Malik McLaurine (bass)
  • Francisco Mela, Claire Arenius, Brian Adler (drums)
  • Julian Gerstin (percussion)
  • Rob Freeberg (music coach)