Frequently Asked Questions
How do I sign up?
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:
- AUDITIONS – On Sunday afternoon, the first day of the workshop, you will take a very brief audition with select faculty members who will be teaching your instrument during the week. They will take a few minutes to get to know you, and then will ask you to play a little. It’s very informal, and there’s nothing to be nervous about. Remember, this is not a competition. It’s to make sure that you are placed in the proper Combo/Group. When all the auditions are done (around 4:30pm on Sunday afternoon), the faculty gather to compare notes, and they place each person in a group with others that seem to be of the same level of improv ability. This is also how you may be placed for the master classes on your instrument. Read more about your audition.
- THEORY QUIZ – Also on Sunday afternoon, you must take a one page theory quiz to determine your placement for the Jazz Theory Classes. This one-page quiz covers a number of different types of questions, and is designed to give the faculty some way to gauge your current grasp of jazz theory and nomenclature. Again, this is not any kind of competition. It’s to make sure that you are placed in the proper Jazz Theory class. If you don’t know anything on the quiz, you should just write your name at the top (with your workshop ID number!) and turn it back in blank. Many people say, “Oh, but I know a lot more theory than I can play!” Our response is always, “Friend, we ALL know more theory than we can play!” That’s the whole point of our Workshops; to improve your knowledge of jazz theory, then work out what you’ve learned in a real, live, hands-on playing situation.
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.
We can not stress enough: WE CAN NOT ACCEPT INCOMING PHONE CALLS.
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 www.louisville.edu 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:
- Your instrument
- Instrument extras; Reeds, Valve Oil, Strings, Cables, Extension Cords, batteries, Pickups, Adaptors, etc.
- LINENS; 1 fitted sheet, 1 sheet (single bed) AND a blanket.; extra long twin sheets are best.
- Pillow and Pillowcase
- Alarm Clock
- Pen, Pencils, Notebook Paper
- A CELL PHONE and Phone Numbers to CALL HOME
- Manuscript Paper
- Audio Recorder (NO Video)
- Laundry Detergent
- Change for Laundry Machines
* 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.