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 are on sale for our last Snap on 2&4, Friday, Dec. 9 with The Matt Endahl Septet

It's Student Performance Week, with free student concerts Monday through Thursday! See the full schedule here.

Registration for January classes is now open. See the class listing here and call 615-242-5299 or email for more information or to sign up.

Construction Notice: Beginning Monday, November 28 - Monroe Street may be closed for part of the day due to ongoing construction work in Germantown. Students and visitors will be directed to the Taylor Street entrance when Monroe Street is closed (the Monroe entrance is open in the evenings). We apologize for the inconvenience. 

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: October 31 to December 8
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 Irving Berlin - A 6-week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem
    Irving Berlin was the most successful songwriter of the 20th century. He was considered "The Dean" of the American Popular Songbook. Though, like his contemporaries, he spent the better part of his career writing songs (usually both words and music) to be used in Broadway musicals, he is better remembered for the songs themselves than for the shows (and sometimes films) in which they were introduced. Some of his most famous tunes were, "Blue Skies", "Cheek to Cheek", "Puttin' on the Ritz", 'How Deep is the Ocean", "White Christmas" and so many more. In this six-week class, students will study and perform over 15 famous Berlin compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the six-week session, students will perform with a trio.

Monday 8 pm

  • Rhythm Section Grooves for Vocalists
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem and Roger Spencer
    An important class for vocalists, this course explains the different rhythmic grooves or styles that a vocalist can ask instrumentalists to play while performing a song: slow swing, medium swing, fast swing, straight ballad, swing ballad, jazz waltz, bossa nova, samba, funk, straight 8ths, straight 16ths, etc. Students will learn to recognize and request all of these styles with a better understanding of what each instrument does within each groove. (Suggested prerequisites: Intro to Jazz Singing, Chart-writing for Vocalists, Musicianship for Vocalists)
  • Standard Repertoire for Instrumentalists
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roland Barber
    For players looking to start and develop their jazz repertoire. Focusing on Standards that are commonly played and called in performance situations. Additional focus on standard forms, chord progressions, and performance practices that are found in a number of jazz standards. The first step in building a good "tune list."

Tuesday 12 pm

  • Vocal Literature: The Music of Irving Berlin - A 6-week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Christina Watson
    Irving Berlin was the most successful songwriter of the 20th century. He was considered "The Dean" of the American Popular Songbook. Though, like his contemporaries, he spent the better part of his career writing songs (usually both words and music) to be used in Broadway musicals, he is better remembered for the songs themselves than for the shows (and sometimes films) in which they were introduced. Some of his most famous tunes were, "Blue Skies", "Cheek to Cheek", "Puttin' on the Ritz", 'How Deep is the Ocean", "White Christmas" and so many more. In this six-week class, students will study and perform over 15 famous Berlin compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the six-week session, students will perform with a trio.

Tuesday 4 pm

  • 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.

Tuesday 6 pm

  • 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

  • Duke Ellington Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Roland Barber
    An ensemble focusing on the compositions and harmonic style of Duke Ellington. An octet with five horns and rhythm section.
  • 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.

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 Irving Berlin - A 6-week Course
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Lori Mechem
    Irving Berlin was the most successful songwriter of the 20th century. He was considered "The Dean" of the American Popular Songbook. Though, like his contemporaries, he spent the better part of his career writing songs (usually both words and music) to be used in Broadway musicals, he is better remembered for the songs themselves than for the shows (and sometimes films) in which they were introduced. Some of his most famous tunes were, "Blue Skies", "Cheek to Cheek", "Puttin' on the Ritz", 'How Deep is the Ocean", "White Christmas" and so many more. In this six-week class, students will study and perform over 15 famous Berlin compositions. Focus will be on melody, phrasing, lyric content, stylistic considerations, arrangements, performance techniques and song forms. At the end of the six-week session, students will perform with a trio.

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.
  • Master Class
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Liz Johnson Schafer
    Vocal Health: 3-week class, $100, Nov. 3, 10, & 17. A master class exploring the voice from the inside out. You will learn basic physiology and anatomy of the voice, warmups and exercises to keep yourself in vocal shape with the least amount of effort.
    A class focused on special topics or skills, led by a master NJW vocal teacher. Topic will vary with the instructor.

Thursday 8 pm

  • Cuban Music Ensemble
    Course Summary | Instructor(s): Dann Sherrill
    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.