Nashville's community center for jazz, with classes, public performances, and special events. The Nashville Jazz Workshop is a non-profit organization supporting jazz musicians, jazz fans, and the jazz community.

Happenings

Tickets for the August 26 Snap on 2&4 w/ Liz Johnson Shafer are on sale NOW! Great seats available - get 'em while they're hot!

 

Upcoming Classes

The Jazz Workshop has classes from introductory to advanced — for students just learning jazz, professionals wanting to "sharpen their edges," and non-musicians wanting to learn more about jazz. Instructors are Nashville's finest jazz musicians. Classes are 2 hours a night, once a week for 6 weeks. Tuition is $225 per 6-week class unless noted otherwise.

Color Key:

  • Instrumentalists
  • Vocalists
  • All Musicians and Enthusiasts

Session Dates: September 12 - October 20
Please visit our class schedule page for registration & payment information

Monday 1 pm

  • Meisner Technique for Vocalists
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Vali Forrister and Lori Mechem
    In this course, we will apply the foundation of the Meisner Technique to vocal performance. This work will deepen students' instincts and imagination and encourage greater spontaneity and emotional honesty onstage. Using lyrics and patter as monologues, students will learn emotional truthfulness under imaginary circumstances and how to be grounded and present onstage. This class is open to intermediate and advanced students. Come prepared with 4 tunes memorized with which you have technical proficiency. We will not be addressing vocal technique or stage performance. Our work will be about emotional connection to both lyrics and audience and unselfconscious performance. It is important that students are able to meet with their scene partner at least once a week outside class for improvisational scenework.

    For more information on the Meisner Technique, visit actorsbridge.org
    For more information on Vali, visit actorsbridge.org/vali.aspx

Monday 6 pm

  • Introduction to Ensemble Playing
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Evan Cobb
    A class open to all instrumentalists focusing on the beginning concepts of group playing such as feel, basic improvisation, blues, forms and listening. A great class for the beginning jazz player.
  • Small Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roger Spencer
    A class made up of a quartet or quintet. Materials covered include literature, intros, endings, styles, tempos and comping.
  • Vocal Literature: The Music of Cole Porter - A 12-Week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem
    "Night and Day," "I Get A Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," "Begin the Beguine," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" - some of the cleverest, funniest, and most romantic songs ever written came from the pen of Cole Porter. He composed both lyrics and music. In this class, students will study and perform over 24 famous Cole Porter compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the 12-week session, students will perform with a trio.

Monday 8 pm

  • New Orleans Brass Band Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roland Barber
    A performance-driven class covering historic and contemporary performance practice of the New Orleans Brass Band. The ensemble strives for idiomatic authenticity and stylistic accuracy, as it performs iconic songs from the tradition of the the New Orleans Mardi Gras - and tackles the ongoing legacy of the Brass Band, influenced by rock, soul and swing. Musical artists of study will include Louis Armstrong, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Trombone Shorty and others. Instrumentation will include drum kit, piano, bass, horns. Intermediate level and beyond.
  • Small Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): James Westfall
    A class made up of a quartet or quintet. Materials covered include literature, intros, endings, styles, tempos and comping.

Tuesday 12 pm

  • Vocal Literature: The Music of Cole Porter - A 12-Week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Christina Watson
    "Night and Day," "I Get A Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," "Begin the Beguine," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" - some of the cleverest, funniest, and most romantic songs ever written came from the pen of Cole Porter. He composed both lyrics and music. In this class, students will study and perform over 24 famous Cole Porter compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the 12-week session, students will perform with a trio.

Tuesday 4 pm

  • Keyboard Skills for Vocalists
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Liz Johnson Schafer
    All music is based on the piano. In this class, students study the keyboard, learning note names, intervals, chord structures, and musical notation in an easy to understand format that will show how to connect the voice to the notes of the keyboard and ultimately unlock the mysteries of music. Understanding melodies and how notes work together on the keyboard will give students a better sense of pitch center and overall musical accuracy.

Tuesday 6 pm

  • ii-V-I's for Guitar
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Chip Henderson
    A class introducing guitarists to the most important chord progression in jazz. This class is a blend of patterns, ear training, analysis and technique. This curriculum is designed for the intermediate/advanced beginners and players versed in other styles who want to make the transition to a more “jazz-oriented” sound. Topics will include voice leading arpeggios, guide-tone lines, the development of ii-V’s (in major and minor keys) as well as the application of these ideas in common song structures (Blues, Rhythm Changes, and standards). Transcriptions and recordings will be used to reinforce topics discussed during this 6 week class.
  • Introduction to Jazz Singing
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Liz Johnson Schafer
    A class for vocalists who want to learn jazz singing. Topics to be covered include jazz phrasing, tone, learning the correct melody to jazz standards, microphone and stage performance technique, and getting comfortable with accompanists. The class may be repeated as often as desired.

Tuesday 8 pm

  • Art Blakey Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roland Barber
    A class covering the history, repertoire, and stylings of Art Blakey and his Jazz Messengers. The ensemble performs transcriptions of Blakey's most famous recordings. For tenor, trumpet, trombone and rhythm section. Advanced level required.
  • Guitar Comping
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Chip Henderson
    A 2 hour class covering many 'comping' concepts specifically geared for the beginning to intermediate guitarist. Drop 2, Drop 3, and pianistic voicings will be discussed as they pertain to standards and more specifically the ii/V/I progression. Harmonization techniques including Wes Montgomery block-chord style will be covered as well as Joe Pass walking bass line style of playing. Rhythmic devices as well as beginning tension and chord substitution will also be discussed. This class is an excellent way for the guitarist to get deeper inside his/her role of comping.

Wednesday 6 pm

  • Introduction to Ensemble Playing
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roger Spencer
    A class open to all instrumentalists focusing on the beginning concepts of group playing such as feel, basic improvisation, blues, forms and listening. A great class for the beginning jazz player.
  • The Voice Lab
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Margaret Rose
    An on-going class for all singers, from beginner through advanced. The focus is on the use of natural voice and conversational phrasing. Performance evaluation is combined with diagnostic techniques to correct common vocal and performance problems. Voice Lab can be repeated, or used as a review. This class is a prerequisite for Vocal Tech 1-4.
  • Vocal Literature: The Music of Cole Porter - A 12-Week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem
    "Night and Day," "I Get A Kick Out of You," "You're the Top," "Begin the Beguine," "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" - some of the cleverest, funniest, and most romantic songs ever written came from the pen of Cole Porter. He composed both lyrics and music. In this class, students will study and perform over 24 famous Cole Porter compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the 12-week session, students will perform with a trio.

Wednesday 8 pm

  • Advanced Vocal Literature: Bebop and Beyond
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem
    An advanced level class for vocalists focusing on famous bebop tunes with lyric. Learn great tunes from artists such as Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Clifford Brown, Dizzy Gillespie and more. Prerequisites - Vocal Improvisation 1, Ear Training 1 & 2, or permission from instructor.
  • Small Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roger Spencer
    A class made up of a quartet or quintet. Materials covered include literature, intros, endings, styles, tempos and comping.

Thursday 6 pm

  • Beginning Jazz Improvisation
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Rod McGaha
    A class focusing on the study of chords, scales, modes, simple patterns and harmonic structure. For all instruments.
  • Jazz Drumset Essentials
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Chester Thompson
    This will introduce the beginning jazz drummer basic ride patterns, latin patterns, comping, song forms and an introduction to brushes.

Thursday 8 pm

  • Cuban Music Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Dann Sherrill and Roger Spencer
    A class offering the foundations of both contemporary and folkloric Cuban music styles, with historic perspectives. This is a hands-on workshop where the players will become familiar with playing salsa in the tradition. For all instruments. Intermediate level required. Pre-requisite for percussionists: Cuban Percussion. Offered once a year.