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5 Things To Consider When Choosing a Jazz School

Consider these five things when choosing a jazz school:

1. What you expect to get out of it? Do you want to be a jazz artist, a band director, and teacher or just want to learn without any economic benefit?
bloom school of jazz
2. What is your relationship with jazz?  How many hours a week do you: listen to the masters, practice effectively by yourself, play with others and just think about jazz? What have you done to demonstrate your love  for jazz? What do you think a jazz school will do for your career?  

3. Do you need a jazz school or just a mentor teacher? Often just having a knowledgeable inspirational teacher will accomplish what you need.

4. Do you want to study jazz composition and arranging? Then go to a school that offers those courses so that you can hear musicians play what you’ve written.

5.  In jazz history, much of jazz instruction has been in bands led by; Art Blakey, Miles Davis, Horace Silver and others. That kind of personal mentoring is not done in schools. Most serious jazz schools, of which there are very few, can teach you many of the techniques, help you to transcribe solos, and help develop your ear. But what they can’t do is to develop your own personal concept and expression. Don’t expect a jazz school to create a new jazz star.

What a jazz school can do is give you a context where you are constantly thinking and working on your music. Practicing and playing all the time is mandatory in becoming a successful jazz musician.  Great jazz is the sound of passion, commitment and whole lot of work.


There's more to discuss about jazz education than I can fit in a blog comment, but here's one thought for those considering a degree program. 
College credits are expensive, so make the most of them. A lot of the basics, theory(chords,keys,modes,etc) ear training, basic piano skills, jazz history, can be gotten together on your own with some help from a good private teacher (I know I'm going to sound like a shill at this point, but the Bloom School is ideal for this) Check with your particular school, but you'll probably be allowed to test out of the basics, and spend more time on things difficult to get outside of a university environment (writing for a living, breathing big band, etc) . Best of luck in your studies. 
Posted @ Wednesday, January 05, 2011 12:14 PM by paul kogut
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