Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School

Jazz Summer School 2018
Start date
Monday 6 August 2018
Penryn Campus
5 days full-time
Direct line
01326 253751

The Falmouth-Yamaha Jazz Summer School runs over five days and is led by a first-class team of jazz players and educators. The Summer School supports musicians from a wide range of backgrounds and experience who are seeking to further their skills, understanding and appreciation of jazz.

The School takes place in the Academy of Music and Theatre Arts, a purpose-built live venue housing an assembly of flexible theatre spaces, performance, rehearsal and recording studios, amidst the beautiful Cornish landscape.

Sessions across a range of key topics, styles and idioms run throughout the five 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 – previous years have seen fantastic sessions with Kenny Werner, Gwilym Simcock, Pete Long and Julian Joseph.

The Summer School thrives on bringing people with a wide range of age and experience to the course – from enthusiastic young players, dedicated music students, to older devoted part-time or semi-professional jazz players. This rich diversity of members creates a stimulating, fun and supportive learning experience. Feedback from previous years’ attendees:

“I had a great week and felt that I learnt a tremendous amount in a very short time”

“Brilliant facilities and very helpful technicians”

“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"

Who is the course for?

The course is open to instrumentalists and vocalists who are keen to develop new skills with their jazz playing and are aged 14 years or over. This is a great opportunity for players to make new discoveries with improvisation, repertoire and performance. Attendees should be familiar with the basics of jazz harmony, rhythm and song form and have an understanding and experience of key aspects of jazz language and skill, including:

  • A basic ability to play their 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

Once you have registered to attend the course, you will be emailed a self-assessment form to complete. The information you provide on this form will enable us to decide the best place for each member in the beginner-to-advanced formatted study groups.

If you are unsure about the level of ability required to attend the course, please email: jazzsummerschool@falmouth.ac.uk

How the course is taught

The course aims to provide a concentrated learning experience for players from all levels of skill and experience. At the beginning of the week, medium sized 10-12 member groups are formed with members at a similar range and level of skill. Each group has a main tutor for the week, and each group will also get to work with three or four other tutors during the five days. In this way each group will cover a range of material, from both standard and contemporary styles. Members will have the opportunity to experience:

  • Small and large group workshops
  • Big band sessions
  • Instrumental workshops
  • Special workshops (jazz theory, rhythm, improvisation)
  • Masterclasses
  • Student and tutor led groups in rehearsals and performance
  • Evening live sessions with tutors and students together
  • Jam sessions
  • Special concert by visiting Yamaha jazz artist
  • Final evening concert

What to expect

Mornings focus on developing playing skills in the medium-sized groups, specifically: scales, chords, harmony, rhythm, improvisation, 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.

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 run from 19:00 - 21:30 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 seventh year of the Falmouth Yamaha Jazz Summer School – with each bringing their own unique experience and approach to jazz learning and playing.

Course tutors

  • Keith Michael (drums)
  • 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, there is a team of professional sound engineers and technicians to manage the stage and live sound set-ups. Assistant Tutors made up of jazz students from Leeds College of Music and dedicated pastoral care to ensure the wellbeing of our younger participants.


The summer school takes place in Falmouth University's Academy of Music and Theatre Arts (AMATA) on the Penryn Campus. Facilities include:

  • Purpose-built practice, performance and recording facilities
  • 15 performance spaces
  • Central recording complex and additional live recording studios
  • Individual and band practice rooms
  • Café bar

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


The residency package includes self-catering accommodation in the purpose-built Glasney Student Village, located in the grounds of the Penryn Campus. 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 AMATA Café, Stannary Refectory and other cafe locations on campus. There is also a shop on campus and an ASDA supermarket within approximately 15 minutes’ walking distance.

The AMATA café remains open into the evenings whilst evening sessions are taking place.

Jazz Summer School Terms & Conditions