Frequently Asked Questions
What are the classes like?
Classes are interactive and fun! When you come to a CCJA class, you will be among peers of your own age and ability level. You will work with one of our amazing directors, all of whom are professional musicians. You will work together to learn how to improvise and play in the jazz style while also learning your role in the ensemble, and most importantly, learning how to express yourself through music.
What happens in class?
Typically, you will receive music during your first rehearsal that you will then work on for the remainder of the session. You will learn and rehearse the melodies or “heads” to each tune and then learn to improvise over the chord changes. Pianists and Guitarist will also learn to “comp” or play chords over the song and drummers will learn different feels and styles. If that seems like a lot, don’t worry! The students set the pace and you can ask as many questions as you want. We are here to help you! Fun is always a priority.
How will I get placed in a group?
Group placement for new students is based on your experience with jazz and your instrument, and your age level. After you have done a session or two with us and we are able to get to know you and your playing better, we can continue to place you in an ensemble we think you will thrive in.
Am I good enough to join?
We accept students of all ability levels! Whether you are just starting out or have been playing for years, we can place you in a group with others of the same, or near the same, ability level and age range. We do ask that you have a year or two of experience of playing your instrument, but you don't need to have any experience with jazz!
Can I participate in CCJA groups if I’m brand new to playing my instrument?
At this point you need to have a basic knowledge of your instrument in order to participate. We suggest waiting until you’ve played for a year. In the future we plan to have learn-to-play classes, but we don’t offer them yet.
Do I have to do something to prepare for joining or for the first class?
No preparation is needed. We do recommend daily practice on your fundamentals though!
Is there homework?
There is no “homework” as you are used to. Students will be asked to listen to the music they have been given, and to practice the material and techniques they learn in class. However, this is all for personal growth, there are no grades or assignments. Students can practice as much or as little as they want to. We encourage students to want to get better at their instruments for themselves and for their peers in the band. The more you know and the more capable you are on your instrument, the more fun you have, and the more fun it is to play and perform.
Do I have to play in my school band to participate?
If you attend a school with a music program, we expect you to participate in it unless you’re absolutely not able to due to scheduling conflicts, medical issues, etc. School programs give you the foundation for your playing, and it’s a win-win for everyone when you’re able to take what you learn in CCJA and model/share it in your school group.
Is it like concert band or jazz band at my school?
CCJA is not like your usual concert band or jazz band class. Your group will contain 4-9 students instead of the larger concert ensembles or jazz big band. That means you will be engaging with the teacher and other students the whole time! Those bigger ensembles are based more on section playing and learning a piece of music that is completely written out for you. Our small groups are much freer than what you would play in school. They are more improvisational, which allows you to play whatever you want instead of what someone else has written for you. If you don’t know what to play, don’t worry! That is what we are here to help with!
Will I make friends?
When you join CCJA, you are joining a family. There are hundreds of students who are interested in the same things you are, all meeting once a week to play music together! It is almost impossible to not make friends. Many of our alumni are still friends to this day, and still play together!