Summer Jazz & Contemporary Music


Session 1: July 8 – July 19, 2024
Session 2: July 22 – August 2, 2024
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Tuition for each session: $1,990

2024 Applications Open: Apply Here

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Summer Jazz & Contemporary Music

Summer Jazz and Contemporary Music at RSC is a two-week immersion into jazz studies for students entering grades 3-12; however, younger students may be accepted on a case-by-case basis. Both students new to jazz/improvisation and more experienced players are welcome.

Audition Information
Summer Jazz 2024 will hold in-person auditions and accept video auditions to place students in the appropriate classes and combos. Audition requirements:

  • 2-3 major scales of your choice
  • A classical, jazz, or pop etude
  • A jazz band piece or another piece student is currently working on

Please email Philippe Crettien at to schedule your in-person audition time. In-person auditions will be held at The Rivers School Conservatory on Saturdays, May 11, 2024 and June 1, 2024 from 9:00 a.m – 1:00 p.m.

Daily Combo Rehearsals
Each student is placed in a combo of 4-7 players of similar age/ability. Combos work with a jazz faculty member and perform at the end of the session.

Improvisation Class
Students are grouped by ability; beginners focus on blues form and time, more advanced students work on chord-based approaches and more complex harmonic/rhythmic developments.

Master Classes
Faculty perform and work with the students on jazz improvisation, technique, and ensemble interaction.

Students choose two electives which meet twice weekly; options include: music production, content creation to make your own music video, brass band, rock lab, and hand drumming for non-drummers.

Lunch & Recreation
Students can take part in a variety of activities, including sports and arts and crafts. Daily lunch is also provided.

Financial Aid
Limited need-based financial aid is available for summer programs. To apply please complete the financial aid application prior to submitting your video audition. Application and complete information can be found on the Financial Aid page.

Philippe Crettien, Summer Jazz and Contemporary Music Director

Featured Electives

This class will provide an opportunity for students to develop the techniques (rhythmic, lead and otherwise) used in the many subgenres of rock, funk, blues, metal, americana, fusion, etc.) Concepts such as groove, odd time signatures, dynamics, timbre, and sound effects will be explored. Repertoire will be chosen through student and teacher input with a focus on challenging students to develop core musicianship. All levels welcome, experience with reading and improvisation would be helpful but not a requirement.

This class looks at the global tradition of improvisation, the oldest and most common method of music-making, and charts a listening course through its many manifestations: Indian classical music, flamenco, improvisation in classical music, jazz and the blues, avant-garde “free improvisation,” and much more. Through readings, discussions, and most importantly, listening assignments, this class aims to elevate students’ musicianship through a holistic view of improvisation as the bedrock of music.

In this class, you will learn how to make your recordings sound professional. Whether you are on a Mac, PC, or iPad and use Garage Band or any full-featured digital workstation (DAW) such as Logic, Pro Tools or Studio One, you will learn every step necessary to produce a radio-ready song. We will cover topics such as:
1) The equipment you need and how to use it,
2) How to record audio (voice, guitar, bass, etc.) and software instruments (drums, synth, sound effects, loops),
3) How to edit and mix,
4) How to master and release your project to the world on iTunes, Spotify, etc.

Play and sing your favorite pop tunes! This class will examine songs from popular music genres to better understand basic music theory and harmony. Students will choose the material, and we will analyze the chords and harmonic structure. Open to rhythm section players, vocalists and solo instruments.

Learn to use your instrument and your Digital Audio Workspace (DAW) to create music for your videos and other projects. Compose and create short repetitive beats and loops that will elevate and be featured on your various pages and Internet outlet sources. Use your interests, preferences, and style two create original and unique sounds not only to give your content a personal style, but to also avoid copyright infringement issues. 

Performance Ear Training Workshop is a basic ear development lab in which students will use their instruments and other tools to work on and develop their musical hearing and imagination. Using techniques such as note recognition methods and phrase identification and memorization students will begin their journey towards becoming a fluent improviser and musician.

Experience the joy and power of drumming. Learning to play world rhythms will improve your sense of pulse/time, deepen concentration, and improve coordination. Drumming is a great foundation for all musicians. In class, each student will be provided with a hand drum. Rhythms and concepts that are discussed will immediately be applied to the drum and used in an ensemble setting, allowing students to experience time keeping roles, counter rhythms and soloing. The primary goals for this class are:
1) Explore rhythms from various cultures.
2) Improve one’s sense of time and internal pulse.
3) Develop a rhythmic vocabulary for improvisation that can be transferred from the drum to the student’s primary instrument.
4) Introduce students to polyrhythms and odd meters.

The New Orleans brass band is a horn driven, dance groove version of a jazz combo. Brass bands have always been a part of New Orleans culture, and can be heard throughout the city’s countless parades. The second line style is at  the core of the music, and traditionally features at least two drummers and a tuba as the rhythm section. The trumpet, trombone and sax take on melody, comping and improvising solos. In the RSC brass band, you will learn traditional New Orleans standards, as well as repertoire from current brass bands performing in New Orleans and around the world today. If you play drums, tuba, bass, or any horn/wind instrument, then there’s a spot for you in this group. Come join the party!

In Intro to Jazz, students will use basic scale and arpeggio knowledge to begin stress-free improvisation and music creation while building a basic musical vocabulary and acquiring ear training and music theory knowledge.

Students will learn to use scales and key signatures to identify chord tones. They’ll use this information to create basic phrases then use those phrases for improvisation and writing original compositions, building the class’s repertoire.

Students’ repertoire will also grow through the introduction of blues songs and simple jazz standards. At the completion of the class, students will have built a strong starting musical repertoire and a confidence in simple improvisations and musical creation.