The Detroit Jazz Workshop, now in its 12th year will accept applications in January, 2020.
The DJW, created in 2008, is a week-long day workshop in July designed to teach jazz to anyone interested, no matter the age, background, experience, or instrument. Through classes and clinics in jazz theory, composition, improvisation to master-classes from guest-clinicians, students receive a well-rounded, fun, education in jazz. Besides classroom learning, students play and rehearse in combos, designed to teach teamwork. As performers and educators, the faculty and staff strongly believe in passing along the tradition of jazz, while at the same time, encouraging creativity and free expression, helping students move forward to a point where they can achieve the goals that they set for themselves. Whether these goals are modest or if they want to push themselves to the highest level of instrumental or vocal mastery in jazz (or somewhere in between), the faculty and students pursue and explore possibilities, and enjoying themselves in the process.
Our 11th annual workshop in 2019 was our most attended workshop to this point. Faculty, mentors, and students alike had a blast in our downtown home Detroit at CMS.
Our guest artists conducted great master-classes and workshop students used the information they learned in their school bands, on the professional bandstand, and in their university rehearsal rooms and performance centers.
The Middle-School Jazz Workshop had 4 combos, balanced through the steady leadership of John Hill. Mentors and faculty from the high school / adult camp contributed as ensemble coaches and clinicians. The Monday night performance in 2019 was incredible as the young musicians demonstrated improvisation, jazz styles, and catchy tunes that they learned throughout the week.
The Composer's Workshop within the main DJW, was a great success. Advanced jazz students and beginning composers met every morning for a couple hours within the general High School/Adult workshop. Instructed by James Hughes, they did so mainly to work through their compositions as a group, accepting advice from James, and their fellow students. All of the works were played by the composition rehearsal group and discussed thoroughly in hopes to improve or kickstart their journey in composing. This rehearsal was supplemented with instruction in arranging, reharmonization, orchestration, and analysis.
Besides a student/faculty jam session at Cliff Bells on Tuesday night (Session I), the students got a chance to perform for family and friends on the Sunday and Monday after the workshop at the great jazz club, Cliff Bells. In a packed house, students performed with the combos they rehearsed with during the week; singers performed individual selections with a professional rhythm section. It was great to meet afterward with families, and confirm my suspicions why the students at the workshop were so motivated. This concert alone gives me enough inspiration to keep moving forward with the Detroit Jazz Workshop. 2020 will be even better!