Jazz Performance at Arts Academy


Why Study Jazz Performance

A true American art form, jazz is an exciting and innovative genre for creative musicians. Here, you'll dive deep into the history and practice, and learn how to improvise and communicate wordlessly with your ensemble. Through the program, you'll develop as a dynamic contributor to this ever-evolving music.

What You'll Learn

In the Jazz Performance track, you'll take a combination of studio classes and private lessons. You'll play in small and large jazz ensembles. You'll study music theory, musicianship, improvisation, and other jazz-focused topics.

You'll train with expert instructors, who have spent their careers immersed in the jazz world. They'll guide you as you develop your personal voice and refine your technique. Their individualized attention will help your overall growth as a jazz musician and performer. They'll also be there to assist you with next steps, as you search for a competitive college program.

As a student of the Jazz Performance program, you will:

  • Develop musicianship and build technique
  • Synthesize and apply understanding of harmonic and stylistic practices 
  • Demonstrate effective rehearsal and individual practice techniques
  • Synthesize and apply aesthetic, communication, and organizational skills that are vital to successful performers
  • Perfect sight-reading ability
  • Investigate the art and science of musical innovation
  • Improve ensemble skills,  listening skills, and rhythm recognition, balance, blend, and intonation

 Core Curriculum

Audition Requirements

For information on graduation requirements and academic curriculum, please visit Academy Academics.

Explore Ensembles

Jazz Combos

Interlochen Arts Academy's jazz combos are select groups of five to eight of the jazz program's most experienced improvisers. Members flex their skills as improvisers, while practicing collaboration and ensemble communication.

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Jazz

The Interlochen Arts Academy Jazz Ensemble boasts a storied history as one of the nation's most elite high school ensembles. Members develop as soloists and ensemble performers through rehearsals and performances of jazz standards and contemporary works.

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Orchestra

A recipient of the American Prize, the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra performs an advanced repertoire that includes symphonies, concerti, contemporary works, and original compositions.

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Wind Symphony

The American Prize-winning Interlochen Arts Academy Wind Symphony presents a diverse and challenging repertoire in regular live, prerecorded, and public radio performances.

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Meet the Faculty

Interlochen Arts Academy's Jazz faculty hail from world-class performance venues and educational institutions. 

All Faculty

Director of Jazz Studies Joshua Lawrence Interlochen Center for the Arts

Josh Lawrence

Director of Jazz Studies

Marcus Elliot Miller at Interlochen Center for the Arts

Marcus Elliot Miller

Adjunct Instructor of Jazz Saxophone

Guest Artists

  • Carl Allen, percussion
  • Carmen Bradford, vocals
  • Etienne Charles, trumpet
  • Xavier Davis, piano
  • Marshall Gilkes, trombone
  • Victor Goines, saxophone and clarinet
  • Robert Hurst, bass
  • Sean Jones, trumpet
  • Quiana Lynell, blues and jazz singer, arranger, songwriter
  • Amanda Monoco, guitar
  • Gary Motley, piano
  • Marcus Printup, trumpet
  • Eric Reed, piano
  • Rodney Whitaker, bass
  • Victor Wooten, record producer, educator, and five-time Grammy award winner

Program Highlights

Jazz-Focused Studies

We offer one of the most complete jazz curriculums offered at the high school level. You'll learn how to become a stronger improviser; focus on etude and transcription study; take jazz history courses, and immerse yourself in the genre.

Awards & Honors

Jazz Performance students regularly complete and excel in national competitions and award programs. Recent honors include: Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, Essentially Ellington Competition & Festival Awards, National YoungArts Foundation Competition, Monterrey Next Generation Jazz Festival Awards, and more. 

The Music Center

Our state-of-the-art 60,000 square-foot music facility has two 3,500 square-foot rehearsal halls, two recording studios—which allow for rehearsal and performance recordings in multiple venues on campus—multiple ensemble and practice rooms, and individual faculty teaching studios. Learn more about The Music Center.

A boy playing trumpet

I do not know where I would be as a musician if I had not come here. My time at Interlochen has tremendously impacted my life.

Shane, Music

Festival 2020: Jazz Ensemble

Watch as our Jazz Combo, Jazz Ensemble, and Jazz Sextet students play inside the Dendrinos Chapel & Recital Hall on Interlochen's campus.

A group of musicians performing

Take Five (times ten): 50 years of jazz at Interlochen

In 1967, a small group of students made the decision to sacrifice their ice cream social hour for the sweet beats of the Studio Orchestra. And so, the jazz program at Interlochen was born. Find out how it went from an unofficially sanctioned ensemble into one of the country's top-ranking high school jazz programs.

Read The Story

College Matriculation

  • Berklee College of Music
  • California State University - Fullerton
  • Columbia University
  • DePaul University
  • Florida State University
  • The Juilliard School
  • Michigan State University
  • New England Conservatory
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College and Conservatory
  • Roosevelt University
  • San Francisco Conservatory of Music
  • University of Hartford
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of North Texas
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern California