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Advanced Workshop

Jazz Workshop


Learn to Swing and
play Jazz Solos!

Anyone can do it!


Letter of Reference from Associate Educator. Letter of Reference from Parent of Student.

Why a Jazz Workshop?
Jazz is an aural tradition in which students learn best through listening and imitating. By joining a small group of musicians together and practicing with a pre-recorded professional rhythm section, students have the advantage of learning from one another while benefiting from plenty of opportunities to try it for themselves.

Sonya Jason provides valuable coaching along the way to help students interpret music with a jazz style and create musically interesting solos with confidence.

Who Can Play? Workshop, Part 1
All woodwind and brass instrumentalists are welcomed in the Jazz Workshop. As little as one year playing experience is all that is required to participate. View Prerequisites

Musicians with advanced technique and some jazz experience are also encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to further develop their improvisational skills.

Workshops are organized in groups of two to six musicians according to age, ability and musical experience.

When and where?
The Jazz Workshop meets for one hour, once a week at Sonya Jason's music studio in Moss Beach, California, halfway between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay (approximately 6 miles from either city). While most Workshops meet on Tuesday afternoons, exact days and times will be determined according to availability once groups are established.

What will I learn?
JAZZ WORKSHOP Part 1 - Soloing in the Groove
begins with rock style songs, which provide a familiar feel for students new to jazz and include simple two-chord progressions to solo over. While playing along with the pre-recorded rhythm section, musicians begin learning to improvise using just one easy chord scale. A new confidence with soloing emerges! Next, the ensemble learns to swing and interpret jazz rhythms and phrasing, and to improvise using the blues scale. View Prerequisites

JAZZ WORKSHOP Part 2 - Swinging the Blues
further develops the skills acquired in Part 1 with more challenging swing rhythms and faster tempos. The twelve-bar blues chord progression is studied in depth, and becomes a familiar form for soloing. More helpful tips are provided to improve jazz phrasing and to expand rhythmic and melodic ideas while improvising. Musicians gain a new creative freedom!

JAZZ WORKSHOP Advanced Improvisation
is perfect for musicians with advanced technique on their instrument, good sight-reading skills, and some experience with jazz. This is a jam session designed to inspire more expressive and creative soloing by trading musical ideas with others. First, a review of the blues; then classic jazz standards by Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington and others is used as source material as musicians become comfortable with more complex chord changes.

Workshop, Part 2 How much?
The cost is $505 for a twelve-week session. This includes all books and materials. (Students must provide their own instruments.) The total fee is due two weeks before the session begins.

When does it start?
Four 12-Week Sessions per year are offered - Spring Session, Summer Session, Fall Session and Winter Session. Call to find out the exact schedule.

How do I sign up?
Call Sonya Jason at (650) 728-8002 today to reserve your space in the next Jazz Workshop.


"It's exciting to have students study with a jazz professional, someone who performs jazz and improvises on a daily basis as a career. Sonya Jason's relaxed but professional manner makes the Jazz Workshop a comfortable and fun setting to explore improvisational ideas."
-- Maria Portello-Swagel, Band Director, Cunha Intermediate School, Half Moon Bay CA

Advanced Workshop

"The Jazz Workshop is a blast! It's great playing with other musicians, and Sonya is there every step of the way encouraging you and showing you tips that the pros use."
-- Alan, tenor saxophone, age 46

"Sonya is an amazing teacher who taught me more about Jazz in one summer than some schools can in two years. I started when I was young, and now I've improved so much thanks to her."
-- Zach, alto saxophone, age 15

"In the Jazz Workshop I most enjoy improvising and learning to build a good solo. I recommend it to anyone who wants to play with others at your own skill level and be taught by a professional. It is extremely fun."
-- Tommy, alto saxophone, age 14

"Everyone should come and play in the Jazz Workshop because what you learn with Sonya is so much more than how to play jazz. It's something that connects your soul and heart to jazz. This is something I know will be with me for a very, very long time."
-- Gabi, tenor saxophone, age 15

"The Jazz Workshop is my musical lifeline. It provides the incentive for pursuing further studies in jazz."
-- Selit, alto saxophone, age 51

"A great way to experience improvisation in a group setting. Way better than playing on your own! Jazz Workshop Tuesdays are my favorite nights of the week!"
-- Len, tenor saxophone, age 50

Workshop, Part 2

"Jazz Workshop is a great introduction to jazz chords, scales and common rhythms. Even after you've learned something you can just keep on going and going as high as the sky because you're being taught by a real pro!"
-- Tohma, flute, age 12

"The Jazz Workshop is fun because we get a chance to express ourselves in our solos. I've learned a lot about jazz and soloing and about playing some different styles of music."
-- Scott, trumpet, age 12

"It's fun to improvise because you can do your own thing instead of playing what other people have written. I recommend it 'cause it's a great learning experience."
-- Kyle, clarinet, age 13

"I had a wonderful time playing with other people in Jazz Workshop. I learned a lot about improvisation which was fun for me."
-- Marc, alto saxophone, age 53

"I love learning improv because I get to play what I feel. It's really fun to play with other kids and hear what a small group sounds like together."
-- Sabina, alto saxophone, age 12

"In Jazz Workshop I've learned a lot about using scales to improvise and I got really good at that. The hardest thing is learning to solo using chord tones. I'd definitely recommend it because I've learned a lot and I enjoy it."
-- Miriam, clarinet, age 12


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