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The internationally-renowned Brubeck Institute is looking for three young (16 – 19 year-old) British jazz musicians to join its 2019 Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony in Stockton, California, Sunday 4 August-Friday 9 August (arriving on Saturday 3 August, and leaving on Saturday 10 August).

This is a unique opportunity for outstanding young musicians to broaden their horizons, experience world-class jazz education, and make enduring musical friendships. As the Brubeck Institute’s UK partner, NYJO is proud to manage the UK application process for the Colony.

Two previous Brubeck participants from the UK (Alexandra Ridout and Alex Bone) have gone on to win the BBC Young Musician Jazz Award, with several other Brubeck attendees featuring as finalists in the competition, including Seth Tackaberry from the recent 2018 final. The Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony is widely recognised as one of the world’s pre-eminent jazz summer schools.


Last year’s participants said:

“The faculty this year was amazing and many of them had played with my musical heroes which gave me insight and advice that was really special and I doubt I would’ve gotten it anywhere else. The level of teaching on offer and the 1-1 masterclasses I received were something that I think is unique to the Brubeck Institute course and made it very special for me.”

“I have had the privilege to study with 12 top jazz musicians everyday for a week which was amazing in terms of the amount of information I was gaining which is difficult to find elsewhere and I would definitely encourage other musicians to be a part of it as it is a great lifetime experience.”

“Being in a creative, but critical environment with mutual respect and a great deal of expertise was a hugely valuable experience that helped me to mature in my early stages as a musician.”




Applicants via NYJO must be resident in the UK, and aged 16-19 years old in August 2019.

This instrumentation is designed to create four instrumental combos. Brass Players (Trumpet/Trombone), Saxophonists, Guitarists, Pianists, Bassists, Drummers and Vocalists are all encouraged to apply.

To apply, you will need to complete an online application and follow the audition procedure: you submit a recorded (video or just audio) audition, uploaded online, in which each track time should not exceed 6 minutes and total submission should not exceed 30 minutes and must include the following:

  1. A medium-tempo blues
  2. An up-tempo rhythm changes tune
  3. A Latin, rock, or funk tune
  4. A ballad
  5. Any other tune of your choice (standard, contemporary tune, original, etc.)

The applicant’s performance must be accompanied by a rhythm section or a play-along recording, or both. The recording will be judged on sound, intonation, time-feel, jazz vocabulary, artistry, and overall musicianship. All instrumentalists should clearly state the melody before their improvised choruses (melody is optional for drums).


Notes on using the online application form as a UK candidate

  • First, please notify NYJO of your intention to apply asap by emailing
  • You can save drafts of your online application and needn’t complete it all at once.
  • Choose ‘yes’ for ‘Are you an international applicant?’ This means you will not be charged the application fee.
  • You can then select your country. Under ‘State’, choose Other/NA, and for ‘zipcode’ enter your postcode.
  • As an international candidate, we do not need your resume (CV) nor two letters of recommendation. But these fields are compulsory on the form. So for ‘resume’ just upload a word document that says ‘not necessary for UK candidates’. Or tell us a joke. That’s fine too.  For the letters of recommendation, just make up a name and put your own email address in twice. Whatever makes the form happy.
  • Under ‘high school name’ choose ‘my school is not listed’.
  • For ‘High School Graduation Year’ give the year you took/are taking your A-levels.
  • When finished, click ‘submit’.



  • The application form needs to be completed and recording to be uploaded to Brubeck Institute website by 07:59 British Summer Time on 2 May (23:59 1 May Pacific Daylight Time).
  • The NYJO team of Music Directors will then review applications and recommend a shortlist to the Brubeck Institute.
  • Up to three successful UK applicants will be notified by Thursday 30 May
  • NYJO will support the fundraising efforts of the successful candidates, topping up the amounts raised if necessary May – July.
  • The successful applicants fly to San Francisco on Saturday 3 August.



The course fee is $1700 – around £1,300 at today’s exchange rate, and includes accommodation, food, and transfers from San Francisco airport. The colonists are financially responsible for their own return air fares to San Francisco, but NYJO may organise a group flight booking on discussion with the colonists. NYJO has raised funds for additional financial assistance/bursaries if necessary and can give advice on fundraising techniques; most of the previous UK Colonists have run very successful crowdfunding campaigns.



The Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony is a one-week, intensive educational program in jazz performance for a limited number of exceptionally talented students. They come from throughout the United States and beyond to study with Brubeck Institute faculty, guest artists and master teachers.  Activities include combo rehearsals, masterclasses and private instruction, classes in jazz theory and advanced jazz improvisation, and seminars on the music of Dave Brubeck and other topics. Colonists have extensive opportunities to visit with the artists and clinicians, participate in jam sessions, and perform in concert.

The colony is fully risk-assessed and chaperoned for the age group. NYJO may also be able to offer advice on visas and travel coordination.


Please direct any unanswered questions to Danielle Robson

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