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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up?

The easiest way is to REGISTER ONLINE, but there are options on the REGISTER page to sign up by mail.

Who attends the week-long workshops?

Our workshops are for students of ALL AGES, abilities, and ALL instruments (including rhythm section, vocalists and strings) who are SERIOUS about improvising and the jazz idiom. If you really want to get better at jazz improv, this is the place for you!

We typically have 300 to 400 participants at each of the Week-long Workshops. We generally attract approximately 40% under 18 and 60% adults, ages 18 on up to 85+!  We’ve had students as young as 8 and as old as 88!

While every individual who attends is unique, there are a few typical profiles that we’d like to mention (in no particular order) because we see these folks represented year after year —

• We always have a number of music educators or music professionals who want to learn more about jazz improv, either for their own enjoyment/improvement or so that they may teach others.

• We always get a lot of professionals in other fields (firemen, lawyers, doctors, construction workers, etc.) for whom music is their passion and hobby.

• We get classically trained players who have lots of experience on their instrument (some of them leading players in their ensembles) but practically NO experience improvising!  Often, these excellent and highly-trained musicians have secretly been fascinated and frightened by the prospect of improvising.

• We especially get a lot of people who used to play when they were younger, but for whatever reasons gave it up. Well, now they’ve got the time to try it again, and they want to play Jazz, and they want to do it right!

If any of these profiles sounds like you, then you have no reason to miss this year’s Workshops!

We do consider this to be an ADULT program. Younger students must be TOTALLY responsible for themselves for the week, though there are a lot of adults around to help out if there’s a problem. PARENTS, please NOTE: If you don’t KNOW your child is ready to handle being treated like an adult and being completely on their own for a week, then please consider waiting before registering them.  Please read NOTE TO PARENTS OF APPLICANTS 17 AND YOUNGER.

We always have participants from most all 50 States, as well as from all over the globe, including these recently-represented countries: Australia, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Norway, Germany, Russia, South Africa, Taiwan, Japan, Ecuador, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Korea, Singapore, Switzerland, Israel, and Canada.

What level of players attend and how will I fit in?

We have every level of jazz improvisation represented, from novice to pro!  You DO need to have at least a basic grasp of your instrument, and certainly the more you know the more you’ll be able to benefit. The more you know your scales and chords, the better.

There are several ways in which your level is determined once you arrive on campus:

With so many people at the workshop, you can be assured we’ll do our best to find a group that’s just right for you, no matter what your level of improv ability or jazz experience is. There’s nothing to be afraid of!

How can people get in touch with me when I’m at the workshop?

They should call YOUR PERSONAL PHONE … CELLPHONE … They should NOT be calling the University or the School of Music unless it’s an EMERGENCY … It’s really up to YOU to get in touch with THEM. You should check in regularly with the folks back home. Incoming calls should ONLY come in the case of a critical emergency, and you really need to stress that to your folks back home. With 300 -400 participants, many of them switching classes every hour or so, tracking someone down to say, “Your wife/parent/guardian wants to know how you feel today,” or, “Jimmy, your mom wants to know if you made it okay,” is IMPOSSIBLE.


But what if there really IS an emergency at home?

If there is an emergency at home, try calling the School of Music at 502-852-0522 or Jamey Aebersold Jazz at 800-456-1388 or 1-812-945-4281 (9am-5pm EST/EDT M-F). Especially on that first weekend when things are getting started, it might be tough to get in touch with us, and it may be MORE difficult to find who you are looking for. We’re out doing things like making airport runs and helping folks find the dorms, etc. Emergency callers should be patient and keep trying. We will do our best to help in every way.

What if something comes up and I can’t make it to the workshop?

Our refund policy might be the best you will ever find! If you have to cancel for ANY reason at ANY time, we will refund all of your money except for the non-refundable deposit (see below) which we keep to cover the costs of paperwork/postage, etc.  If you can’t make it, please let us know when possible as space is limited and there may be someone waiting to fill your spot!  In all cases, refund checks will be mailed typically by August 1st.

Will I get a receipt for my payments?

All fees must be paid in full by June 1st. The registration packet serves as the receipt for your initial deposit or payment, but we generally will NOT send you a receipt for payments beyond your initial one.

Can I get graduate credit for the workshop?

If you are interested, you can get credit – grad and undergrad, from 1 to 3 hours. You must apply for admittance to UofL (for a nominal fee). Once you are accepted, you must then register, then pay per credit hour. The fees are online at then do a search. It is quite expensive and you have to pay the workshop fees too.

For the grade, someone will observe you in class and at the final student concert. You will be given a theory test and must write a paper on your experience at the workshop. To discuss further details, please contact:

Michael A. Tracy
Professor of Music
Director, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studies Program
Fulbright Senior Specialist
University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292
502 852 6032

What about my bonus Play-A-Long for paying in full?

You must pay IN FULL by JUNE 1st in order to qualify. Your payment must be made (postmarked) by June 1st – NO EXCEPTIONS. Your name will be on a list with MANY others who are entitled to the free Play-A-Long AT THE WORKSHOP. The list will be available in the Jazz Bookstore (LL65) starting on TUESDAY. Just approach the checkout table and say, “I think I get a free Play-A-Long.” We will check the list. Remember, the bonus includes one of Jamey Aebersold’s Play-A-Long volumes.

What do I do after I apply?

You will get your registration packet in the mail shortly after you apply. The materials inside are EXTREMELY important – so please review it carefully.  Keep in mind these IMPORTANT tasks:

• Send in your balance BEFORE June 1st.
• If you are flying, please give us flight information BEFORE June 1st.
• If you have a roommate request, please tell us BEFORE June 1st.
• If you need equipment; amps, drums, mics, etc., tell us BEFORE June 1st.

Failure to do these things may make it impossible for us to help meet your needs! Most importantly, practice, practice, practice! The more you know, the more you’ll get out of the week.

What do I need to bring with me?

Here is a checklist of items you MUST bring with you to the Workshops:

* We must emphasize that the dorm rooms are NOT hotel rooms.  They are completely bare.  Anything that a person uses routinely must be brought with you. For example, there is no waste basket or plastic bag to collect trash, or even a cup to use in brushing one’s teeth.

    Call with ANY questions!
    (10am-4pm Eastern Time M-F)

    2020 Workshop Dates

    Choose from 2 Weeks of Jazz:
    • July 5th thru July 10th
    • July 12th thru July 17th
    2-Day Workshops
    • July 4th & 5th
      “Anyone Can Improvise!” w/Jamey!
    • July 4th & 5th
      “Guitar/Bass/Drum” Workshop
    • July 11th & 12th
      “Guitar/Bass/Drum” Workshop
    NEW Mini-Workshops
    • July 3rd thru 5th
      Jazz Piano Workshop
    • July 3rd thru 5th
      Vocal Workshop
    • July 10th thru 12th
      Brazilian/Latin Jazz
    • July 17th thru 19th
      Big Band Workshop