Hi! I'm Nick Weldon, jazz musician and teacher, and together with my partner Andra Sparks and the team of top players and teachers we work with here, I bid you welcome to Jazz School UK.
We would like you to join our innovative programme of jazz learning at the inspiring Shoefactory venue in Rushden, Northamptonshire, England.
Whatever your instrument or playing level, we know we can help you improve.
At the heart of our programme are the Ensembles - these are tutored workshops meeting once a month over the year, with a set repertoire of tunes and a clearly defined range of improvising skills to work on.
In the 2014-15 season we are running eleven Jazz Ensembles (rhythm section plus frontline) covering the whole range of playing experience and ability from jazz beginner through to aspiring professional. In addition we have a Jazz Singers and Accompanists Ensemble, a Guitar Improvers Ensemble, as well as some Theory Shed sessions, and (for advanced players) the chance to play in a group led by a top jazz drummer.
Knowing the tunes in advance - exploring new improvising skills and coming back to them repeatedly to consolidate knowledge - establishing musical relationships in a regular group - all these things give purpose and meaning to your practice between each meeting. Improvement is unavoidable!
In conjunction with these, and also for players who can't get here on such a regular basis, we offer short courses (Rhythm Section New Year Weekend, Beginners/Improvers Easter Course, Big Band Day, Jeff Clyne Bass Festival, Summer Short Course, Summer Jazz Week and Beginners/Improvers Summer Jazz Weekend), as well as individual tuition in jazz piano, jazz singing, double bass, jazz guitar, jazz drums, theory and improvisation for all instruments, and audition preparation for prospective College students.
We're very flexible. Come for as much or as little as you can - put together ensembles, individual tuition and courses in any combination you like!
Once upon a time it was only by giving up everything to go to College that you could be sure of sustained development in your playing. This is still a great thing to do (if you can afford the time and £9,000 plus per year tuition fees), and we successfully prepare players for College auditions every year. But we know that for many of you, players of all standards from beginner to professional level, this route is impossible, and you are stuck with a frustrating, piecemeal programme of your own invention - backing tracks, lessons here and there with a local player, aimless jam sesssions and hodge-podge recreational Summer Schools where expectations are low.
But here's our promise. If you're serious about your playing, we're serious about your learning, whether you're a jazz beginner or a seasoned gigster.
All the teaching offered is of Conservatoire quality (and backed by long and varied playing experience), and is designed to deliver the same long-term progress. You won't come out with a degree, (or a debt the size of a house!) but you'll know how to play...
If you are new to Jazz School UK, we hope to see you soon. Please browse the site using the links at the top of the page for more information.
And of course, we very much look forward to welcoming back all our regular players for the 2014-15 season. Thank you for such warm feedback about your playing and learning experience with us (see the sidebar testimonials) - we also appreciate the hard work and commitment you have made both in your own musical journey and in helping us to create a jazz hive here!