Applications Now Open for Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony 2018

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Applications Now Open for Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony 2018

The internationally-renowned Brubeck Institute is looking for three young (16 – 19 year-old) British jazz musicians to join its 2018 Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony in Stockton, California, 4-11 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. The Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony is widely recognised as one of the world’s pre-eminent jazz summer schools.

Last year’s participants said:

“Being around some of the best players in the world for this age bracket, who quickly became good friends, is the best kind of motivation; there were so many playing opportunities to learn from each other.”

The course was a huge source of inspiration which left me with a fire in my belly and an eagerness to grow and learn, the likes of which I had never experienced before. It’s hard to put into words how unique, gratifying and motivating participating in the course was.”

The experience gained at the Brubeck Institute really was unique, the combination of tutors and colonists from across the UK, US and Australia gave it a real ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ feel. The standard of playing (and teaching) was absolutely phenomenal.”


How to Apply

Applicants via NYJO must be resident in the UK, and aged 16-19 years old in August 2018.

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 six 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 08:59 British Summer Time on 2 April (23:59 1 April Pacific Daylight Time).
  • The NYJO team of Music Directors will then review applications and recommend a shortlist to the Brubeck Institute.
  • Three successful UK applicants will be notified by Monday 30 April.
  • NYJO will support the fundraising efforts of the successful candidates, topping up the amounts raised if necessary May – July.
  • Three successful applicants fly to San Francisco on Saturday 4 August.



The course fee is $1700 – around £1,250 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.


Further Information

The Brubeck 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, the UK, Australia 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 Debbie Forwood

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