Falmouth University Jazz Summer School

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Falmouth University Jazz Summer School

Jazz Summer School 7

First-class tutors, amazing state-of-the-art facilities, and a beautiful Cornish setting: Falmouth University and Yamaha come together to host one of the most exciting jazz summer schools in the UK.

Running over six days in August and led by a first class team of jazz players and educators, the Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School supports jazz players from a wide range of backgrounds and experience seeking to further their skills, understanding, and appreciation of jazz.

Sessions on a range of key jazz techniques, topics, idioms and styles run throughout the six days, culminating in a final night concert which is open to an invited audience of family and friends.  A high point of the week is a special masterclass and concert by a visiting Yamaha jazz artist.

Working in a concentrated yet relaxed and friendly atmosphere, the combination of the course, tutors, and facilities make for a stimulating and creative musical experience.

Who is the course for?

The course is open to all instrumentalists and vocalists who are keen to explore and develop new skills in their jazz playing. This is a chance for players from a wide range of learning and background to make new discoveries with improvisation, repertoire, and performance.

The summer school thrives on bringing people with a wide range of age and experience to the course – from younger dedicated and enthusiastic music students to older devoted part-time or semi-pro jazz players. This rich diversity of members creates a stimulating, fun and supportive learning experience.

There are no entry requirements as such, apart from a minimum age of 14 years. However, the course is not for complete jazz beginners and requires some familiarity with the basics of jazz harmony, rhythm and song form.

To confirm this basic ability, and to help the organisation of the various tutor groups, each player is asked to fill in a self-assessment form which outlines their understanding and experience of key aspects of jazz language and skill.

The expected starting level here is something like two years’ of playing experience, including:

  • A basic ability to play your instrument – e.g. all the notes of the chromatic scale
  • Basic knowledge of major and minor scales
  • Some ability to read music
  • Some familiarity with basic jazz rhythms and time signatures

Self-assessment forms

On joining the course each member will be required to fill in a Self-assessment form. The information given here helps towards deciding the best place in the courses beginner-to-advanced study groups.

If you are unsure about your experience please send an email with the subject ‘Experience’ to: jazzsummerschool@falmouth.ac.uk

Feedback from course members

“I really enjoyed my week at Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School, and returned with a huge amount of knowledge about what I now need to develop and work on to improve my playing. Performing every evening for seven days in a row really developed my confidence. The team of tutors were all brilliant teachers and very inspiring musicians”

“It was brilliant to have the rotating tutors sessions, to experience a variety of different teaching styles and approaches to improvisation”

“For a relative novice and after a significant gap in musical education, this was a wonderful re-introduction”

“Really enjoyed branching out musically from traditional jazz”

How the course is taught

The course aims to provide a concentrated learning experience for players of varied levels of skill and experience. At the outset, medium sized groups are formed with 10-12 members at a similar level. Each group has a main tutor for the week, with all the tutors working with each group at least once during the course. In this way each group will cover a range of material from standard and contemporary sources. Branching out from the tutor groups in other sessions, members can experience:

  • Small and large group workshops
  • Big band sessions
  • Instrumental workshops
  • Special workshops (jazz theory, rhythm, improvisation)
  • Master classes
  • Student-led groups in rehearsals and performance
  • Evening live sessions with tutors and students together
  • Special concert by visiting Yamaha jazz artist
  • Final evening concert
  • Purpose built practice, performance and recording facilities
  • Self-catering en suite rooms with onsite catering options

What to expect

“A healthy mixture of work and relaxation” Course member, 2014

Mornings are focused on developing playing skills in the medium sized groups, specifically: scales, chords, harmony, rhythm, improvisation, rhythm, repertoire, ensemble playing and sectional practices.

Afternoons see a variety of activities: large group workshops with a special theme, big band and small group rehearsals, instrumental workshops, theory and harmony groups, listening groups, improvisation sessions, and an optional afternoon off on Aug 17.

Evenings see the live jazz club come to life, with the opportunity to try out material from the day groups or specially rehearsed material in student led small groups; also guest and tutor concerts during the week.

Preparation and guest concerts for the evening jazz club and concerts begin in the afternoon, generally after the tea-break but sometimes as early as after lunch. The evening sessions begin at 7.30pm and are a great chance to gain live playing experience, try out new ideas and techniques learnt in the workshop sessions, or just sit back and enjoy the music!

About the tutors

The course tutor team has worked very effectively together for a number of years – this is the fifth year of the FYJSS course – with each bringing their own unique experience and approach to jazz learning and playing.

The tutor team members are:

Course Tutors

  • Keith Michael (drums, lead tutor)
  • Fini Bearman (voice)
  • Jez Franks (guitar)
  • Andy Hague (trumpet)
  • Ed Jones (saxophones)
  • Phil Meadows (alto sax)
  • Jonathan Taylor (piano)
  • Riaan Vosloo (bass

Yamaha Special Guest Jazz Artist – to be confirmed.

Support staff

In addition to the main course tutors, we are providing dedicated pastoral support staff to ensure the wellbeing of our younger participants. There will also be a team of professional sound engineers on hand for live sound set ups and to record performances. A dedicated team of administrators will also ensure the smooth running of the course.


“Amazing facilities! All tutors supportive…a fantastic week!”                                                       – Jazz Summer School participant

The summer school will take place in Falmouth’s state-of-the-art Performance Centre – a vibrant £19million arts centre. Facilities include:

  • 15 performance spaces
  • Central recording complex and additional live recording studios
  • Individual and band practice rooms
  • Café and bar

The Performance Centre also contains a host of musical equipment, including six grand pianos, numerous upright pianos, drum kits and other percussion, and a vast array of live sound and recording equipment.


The residency package includes accommodation in Glasney Student Village, located in the grounds of the Penryn Campus. The residences are purpose-built and are all under seven years old. Each flat contains seven en-suite bedrooms and a shared kitchen/living area.

Participants with disabilities, access needs or medical conditions should make these known during the application process. We have a range of accommodation available (including adapted rooms) and are committed to providing a supportive environment for all our participants.

Food and drink

Food and drink can be purchased in the campus shop as well as several café and restaurant, locations on campus. There is also a café in the Performance Centre, which serves a selection of drinks and snacks, and an on-campus pizza delivery service till 9pm each day.

Each evening, an on-site bar and café will be available at the AMATA building where the course takes place, including the evening live sessions.  .


Tel: 01326 253751
Email: jazzsummerschool@falmouth.ac.uk

Interview and selection process