MJW cultivates young musicians through jazz education and performances with professional artist while embracing Jazz.
Presently, Memphis Jazz Workshop programs consist of our Masterclass Series and Elite Saturdays. The Masterclass Series enlists international artists to provide lectures, instruction, and performances for students. In select instances, students are also afforded the opportunity to audition for college scholarships with some of the teaching artists who are college professors. The goal of the Masterclass Series is to host eight sessions throughout the calendar year. Dates for the Masterclass Series are selected and scheduled based upon the availability of each teaching artist.
Elite Saturdays affords students the opportunity for deeper instruction and learning through four-hour Saturday sessions. Students meet twelve Saturdays during both the fall and spring semesters with an additional three weeks in the summer.
Serving nearly 150 students from the greater Memphis community over the last two years, the Memphis Jazz Workshop has realized several significant successes. MJW graduates are continuing music education and jazz studies in many of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and universities. Students have not only learned the language of jazz, but more importantly, they have learned the language spoken by its people through jazz improvisation. Because jazz education and jazz pedagogy are MJW priorities, our workshops directly support and resource many local school music programs. The students we teach go back to their respective schools and their communities with a better understanding of the importance of this vibrant art form.
MJW is committed to college placement and scholarship. MJW student Ljuliana Thomas, earned a full Presidential Scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA – one of only five scholarships awarded at that time. Ljuliana is an excellent example of how a Memphis student can aspire to bold opportunity with the right teaching, training and support network. It is for our students' benefit that we work in partnership with many area high schools, increase interest in jazz education in many middle schools, and provide the space for jazz musicians to assemble, jam, and pass the torch to young musicians.
Sixty-five MJW students have achieved (50) Blue Band and (15) Red Band at All-West through The West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Association. Over the past three Ten MJW students have achieved superior All-State status along with other accolades.
In Memphis, STAX is the only organization that could be considered similar or competing. When it comes to jazz study, MJW is intentional in breaking down the theory behind the music and its history. All MJW instructors have a total of 365 years of performing and/or teaching jazz.