Jazz Summer School

Jazz Summer School 

First-class tutors, amazing state-of-the-art facilities, and a beautiful Cornish setting: Falmouth University and Yamaha come together to host one of the most exciting jazz summer schools in the UK.

Led by a team of top UK jazz players and educators, the Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School has been running since 2012, taking place over six-days during August. The course supports jazz players from a wide range of age and experience who seek to further their skills, understanding, and appreciation of jazz. 

Working in a concentrated yet relaxed and friendly and supportive atmosphere, the combination of course, tutors and facilities make for a highly stimulating and creative learning environment.

Sessions on a range of essential topics run throughout the six days, covering  key aspects of jazz technique and instrumental skills, also exploring a wide range of ensemble settings and styles. Each day finishing with a live session for everyone to try out new material and further develope their live experience; the evening live sessions lead up to a final night concert which is open to an invited audience of family and friends.  

Always a special part of the course is a master-class and concert given by a visiting Yamaha jazz artist; previous  Yamaha guest artists have included Julian Joseph, Pete Long, Gwilym Simcock and Troy Miller.

Who is the course for?
The course is open for all instrumentalists and vocalists who are keen to explore and develop new skills in their jazz playing. This is a chance for players from a wide range of learning and background to make new discoveries in their practice and performance of jazz language.  

There are no entry requirements as such, apart from a minimum age of 14 years. However the course is not for complete jazz beginners and requires some familiarity with the basics of jazz harmony, rhythm and song form.

To confirm this basic ability, and to help the organisation of the various tutor groups, each player is asked to fill in a self-assessment form which outlines their understanding and experience of  key aspects of jazz language and skill.

The expected starting level here is something like two years’ of playing experience, including:

  • A basic ability to play your instrument -  e.g. all the notes of the chromatic scale
  • Basic knowledge of major and minor scales
  • Some ability to read music
  • Some familiarity with basic jazz rhythms and time signatures

The information provided by members about themselves in the self-assessment forms is vital towards deciding the personnel of each of the beginner-to-advanced tutor groups which form the core of the course. With this in mind, the more accurate the information given, the better the chance that each member will be in the group most suited to themselves.

How the course is taught
The course aims to provide a concentrated learning experience for players of varied levels of skill and experience. At the outset, medium sized groups are formed with 10-12 members at a similar level. Each group has a main tutor for the week, with all the tutors working with each group at least once during the course. In this way each group will cover a range of material from standard and contemporary sources. Branching out from the tutor groups in other sessions, members can experience:

  • Small and large group workshops
  • Big band sessions
  • instrumental workshops
  • special workshops (jazz theory,  rhythm; improvisation)
  • master classes
  • daily performance of workshop material
  • Student-led groups in rehearsals and performance
  • Evening live sessions with tutors and students together   
  • Special concert by visiting Yamaha jazz artist
  • Final evening concert
  • Purpose built practice, performance and recording facilities
  • Self-catering en suite rooms with onsite catering options

What to expect: "a healthy mixture of work and relaxation" Course member, 2014

Mornings are focused on developing playing skills in the medium sized groups, specifically: scales, chords, harmony, rhythm, improvisation, rhythm, repertoire, ensemble playing and sectional practices.

Afternoons  see a variety of activities: large group workshops with a special theme, big band and small group rehearsals, instrumental workshops, theory and harmony groups, listening groups, improvisation sessions, and an optional afternoon off on Aug 17.

Evenings see the live jazz club come to life, with the opportunity to try out material from the day groups or specially rehearsed material in student led small groups; also guest and tutor concerts during the week.

 Preparation and guest concerts for the evening jazz club and concerts begin in the afternoon, generally after the tea-break but sometimes as early as after lunch. The evening sessions begin at 7.30pm and are a great chance to gain live playing experience, try out new ideas and techniques learnt in the workshop sessions, or just sit back and enjoy the music!

A number of bursaries are available. Please see the tuition fees section for details.

For any questions seeking further information on any aspect of the course please email to: jazzsummerschool@falmouth.ac.uk

About the tutors
The course tutor team has worked very effectively together for a number of years – this is the fifth year of the FYJSS course – with each bringing their own unique experience and approach to jazz learning and playing.

The tutor team members are:

Course Tutors:
Brigitte Beraha (voice)
Jez Franks (guitar)
Andy Hague (trumpet, lead tutor)
Ed Jones (saxophones)
Phil Meadows (alto sax)
Keith Michael (drums, coordinator)
Jonathan Taylor (piano)
Riaan Vosloo (bass)


Support staff
In addition to the main course tutors, we are providing dedicated pastoral support officers to ensure the wellbeing of our younger participants. There will also be a team of professional sound engineers on hand for live sound set ups and to record performances. A dedicated team of administrators will also ensure the smooth running of the course.

"Amazing (facilities)! All tutors supportive...a fantastic week!" Jazz Summer School participant, 2014

The summer school will take place in Falmouth's state-of-the-art Performance Centre: a vibrant £19 million arts centre. Facilities include:

  • 15 performance spaces
  • Central recording complex and additional live recording studios
  • Individual and band practice rooms
  • Café and bar

The Performance Centre also contains a host of musical equipment, including six grand pianos, numerous upright pianos, drum kits and other percussion, and a vast array of live sound and recording equipment.

The residency package includes accommodation in Glasney Student Village, located in the grounds of the Penryn Campus. The residences are purpose-built and are all under seven years old. Each flat contains seven en-suite bedrooms and a shared kitchen/living area.

Participants with disabilities, access needs or medical conditions should make these known during the application process. We have a range of accommodation available (including adapted rooms) and are committed to providing a supportive environment for all our participants.

Food and drink
Food and drink can be purchased in the campus restaurant, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is also a café in the Performance Centre, which serves a selection of drinks and snacks, and an on-campus pizza delivery service till 9pm each day.

Each evening, an on-site bar and café will be available for socialising in the Performance Centre as you play and listen to live jazz.

Who is the course for?
"Really enjoyed branching out musically from traditional jazz" Jazz Summer School participant, 2014

Whether just starting out, or playing in rehearsal bands and gigging, or involved in full time music education, or simply playing for fun, the combination of course and facilities makes the Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School a terrific opportunity to extend your jazz understanding, appreciation, and playing range.

The summer school thrives on bringing people with a wide range of age and experience to the course - from younger dedicated and enthusiastic music students, to older devoted part-time or semi-pro jazz players - and this rich diversity of members creates a wonderfully exciting and supportive learning environment.

For young players considering music in Higher Education this is a valuable taster of an intensive music study. For the more experienced, it is a great chance to connect with others of like mind, exploring new ideas and ways of playing.

"For a relative novice and after a significant gap in musical education, this was a wonderful re-introduction" Jazz Summer School participant, 2014

Booking options
Earlybird rate (payment in full by 15 May): Residency £595/Course only £380

After 15 May: Residency £625/Course only £410 with option to pay £100 deposit and balance due by 15 July.

A number of bursaries are available for under-18 years old students, and also for a number of developing jazz musicians local to the Falmouth area. 

For full details, booking and bursary information see “Book Online”section.
Contact info:

Tel: 01326 259306
Email: jazzsummerschool@falmouth.ac.uk