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About Jazz in July | Admission & Fees |  Tuition |  University Credit |  Internships | Scholarship |  Age Requirement/Disabilities |  Housing |  Meals |  Non-Local Participants |  Commuters |  Questions? | Sponsorship |  Friends and Sponsors |

About Jazz in July

July 11-22, 2011

Three Decades of Jazz, One Unforgettable Summer

30 years ago, a group of dedicated jazz artist and jazz educators at the University of Massachusetts developed a program that would connect jazz students with the country’s top jazz artist/educators for an intensive week of study in jazz improvisation.  Their dedication to the art of jazz improvisation and jazz culture gave birth to Jazz in July Summer Music Programs.  Jazz in July is a concentrated two-week program, allowing participants to study jazz improvisation with some of the nation’s best jazz educators and artist.  Located on the scenic UMass Amherst campus, Jazz in July offers jazz vocalist and instrumentalist a course of study that is challenging and enriching.  Jazz legends such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Sheila Jordan, and Max Roach helped develop Jazz in July’s strong foundation in the traditions of jazz.  As the jazz landscape changes, Jazz in July uses our foundation to evolve with the current innovations being developed in jazz.  Cutting edge artist such as Vincent Herring and Geri Allen help lead Jazz in July into the ever evolving future of jazz, and ensures our jazz education vision will be current and relevant for many years to come.

When you sign up for Jazz in July, you will be joining an illustrious network of current and former artist faculty and participants. The Jazz in July programs involves one-on-one sessions, group clinics, jazz theory and improvisation training, ensemble coaching, jam sessions, style explorations, combined lectures, and public performances by participants and faculty members alike.  Regardless of the program you chose, we aim to connect your innovations with high quality educators and consequently inspire you to be a part of the jazz legacy that is Jazz in July. 

Applications for 2011 are then online here.

Instrumental Ensembles

Originally modeled after New York’s “Jazzmobile” program, Jazz in July’s Instrumental Ensemble Program emphasizes individual improvisation small group conventions, and large ensemble traditions.  Ensembles include faculty coached small combos (5-8 members) and a 22 member large jazz ensemble.  Instrumental Ensemble Program participants also have the opportunity to work with each other in peer groups.  Jam sessions are encouraged at Jazz in July and a style ensemble is also available for those who are not participating in the large Jazz ensemble.  Trumpet, trombone, alto/tenor/baritone saxophone, double/electric bass, guitar, drumset, flute, clarinet, and piano are all represented by outstanding faculty members focused on teaching participants to get the most out of their abilities while encouraging the growth of the total musician.

Vocal Jazz Soloists with Trios

The Vocal Jazz Soloist Program offers singers a supportive environment to explore concepts of jazz phrasing and rhythms, preparing lead sheets, vocal improvisation, and scat singing.   Vocal participants rehearse and perform with a faculty trio skilled in accompanying vocalists and who are full of knowledge to help maximize the vocalist potential.  Through group clinics, individual sessions, and coaching with a trio, our expert faculty will help you reach your goals as a vocal jazz soloist.

Jazz in July: A Day in the Life…

Jazz in July is a work intensive program.  It is full of events to help enhance your musical experience.  A typical day usually starts at 9am with your Combo rehearsal or rehearsals with the faculty trio for vocalists.  These rehearsals last all morning until lunch which starts at approximately 11:30.  Just before 1, you would return to the music department for clinics and improvisation classes.  These are separated by instrument and taught by our faculty.  At 3:15, the lecture/performance series where a member of our esteemed faculty gives a presentation to the participants and public at large.  Dinner runs from 4:40-6:30.  Big band, vocal workshops, and style lectures happen until 8:30.  After the evening’s events, participants are left to practice or form jam sessions until 11 pm.  This should give you a basic idea of what happens during the day.   Later in the week, performances replace the evening events.  Friday is an all-day student performance to close out the program.


Those auditioning for the Vocal Soloist Program should record two selections.  One should be a ballad and the other should be of a contrasting style and tempo (i.e. swing, bossa nova, blues, etc.)  Applicants should chose music that displays their tone, pitch, stylistic interpretation, time, and rhythmic accuracy.  When possible, applicants should record with a 3 or 4 piece rhythm section but duos, trios, and sing-a-long tracks are acceptable accompaniment.

Those auditioning for the Instrumental Ensemble Program should record two selections.  Both should be of contrasting style and tempo (i.e. swing, funk, samba, jazz, rock, etc.)  Ballads are not accepted.  Applicants should choose music that displays their tone, pitch, stylistic interpretation, time, and rhythmic accuracy.  When possible, applicants should record with a 3 or 4 piece rhythm section but duos, trios, and play-a-long tracks are acceptable accompaniments.

All recordings for Vocal and Instrumental Programs should not exceed a total time of 10 minutes.  Any single selection involving more than an introduction, melody (head), solo of applicant, and outro should be edited.  Only one applicant per submission.  The applicant’s performance is carefully considered in the acceptance procedure, combo and Big Band placement, and scholarship consideration.  Each applicant should label their recordings with their name, instrument, and selection titles.  Recordings are not returned.


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Admission and Fees

Applying to Jazz in July is a multi-step process.  We have worked very hard to make it as convenient as possible for each applicant.  You should read each step carefully and follow them completely so there are no delays in the processing of your application or fees.

  1. Complete the online application in its entirety.  The application is extensive, but every question is necessary.  Completing the application in a thorough manner will make the rest of the application process smoother.
  2. Pay the $90 registration fee online or by check.  The UMass Amherst Fine Arts Center Box Office handles all of our registration fees and tuition payments.  They only accept Visa, Mastercard, or checks made out to “UMass Amherst”.  Registration fees are non-refundable.  Within one week of receiving your application and registration fee, you will be notified via email or phone that you have been added to our system and you may continue with the application process.
  3. Send audition recordings or schedule an appointment to audition in person.  Audition requirements for the Vocal Soloist Program and Instrumental Ensemble Program have been described in the sections above.  Auditions should be sent on CD to:
    Jazz in July:
    10 Curry Hicks
    University of Massachusetts
    Amherst, MA 01003-9300
    or emailed electronically to (formats include: mp3, m4a, wma, wav).  Youtube or DVD recordings are not accepted.  Do not send recordings unless you have been notified by our office to do so.  Any in person auditions are held in the Department of Music and Dance on the UMass campus.  Within two weeks of receiving your audition, you will be informed of your acceptance or denial to Jazz in July. 


Once you have been accepted, there are still many things that must be completed before your arrival.  These items will be discussed in the following sections.

Application & Registration fee: $90 as space permits.
Make checks payable to: University of Massachusetts Amherst


  • per week: $600
  • auditor/per week: $400

(payable in full by June 15, DOES NOT INCLUDE room & board)
University housing and meal plans are available at an additional cost. Details are mailed upon acceptance to program.

Pay your registration fee online by clicking here.

Pay for your room and board here.

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Once an applicant has been accepted after completion of the admission process, they should then proceed to tuition payment.  Jazz in July is a two week program, but we allow for students to attend for one week because of scheduling or financial issues.  The chart below explains the tuition breakdown for Jazz in July 2011:

Complete program (July 11-22) $1200

1st week program (July 11-15) $600

2nd week program (July 18-22) $600


Complete auditor program (July 11-22) $800

1st week auditor program (July 11-15) $400

2nd week auditor program (July 18-22) $400


The applicant’s spot at Jazz in July is not secured until tuition has been paid in full.  Tuition can be paid by check or using the links on our home page.  The links will direct you to the Fine Arts Center Box Office web page where you can use a Visa or Mastercard to pay tuition.  You may also mail a check to Jazz in July made out to "UMass Amherst".

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The Jazz in July scholarship program was developed to help increase diversity during our program.  Tuition scholarships are given in two denominations covering all or half of the two week tuition amount.  The determining factors for scholarship awards are talent and financial necessity.  Jazz in July partners with various organizations such as MAJE, MENC, and assorted university, regional, and All-State high school festivals to present talent based scholarships to exceptional High School and College musicians.  Attending these festivals is not the only way to be awarded a scholarship.  An exceptional CD audition that is received in a timely fashion will be considered for scholarship as well.  Also, regular applicants to Jazz in July can mail a copy of the payers first page of their most recent Federal Tax Return forms to Jazz in July and our office will make the determination if you or your child (depending on talent shown in audition recording) is eligible for a scholarship.  The following chart shows a general financial breakdown of the criteria for financial/talent based scholarships.

Single (paying for self) $17,500 or less
Single Parent (Paying for at least one child) $20,000 or less
Married with no children (two income household) $22, 500 or less
Married with children (two income household paying for at least one child) $32, 500
*Median dollar amounts determined from 2006 Census Bureau Demographic Survey

Scholarship awards are paid only if the applicant is accepted to the program and subsequently attends Jazz in July.  If tuition is paid before the scholarship is awarded, the scholarship amount will be refunded to the payer either by check or credited to charge card.

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Academic Credit

The University of Massachusetts Music Department, in cooperation with the Division of Professional and Continuing Education, offers University credit for Jazz in July.  Students may elect to enroll for one, two, or three undergraduate or graduate credits in:

Music 594A Theory for Instrumentalists
Music 594 B Theory for Singers
Music 594 C Jazz Composition/Arranging

Credit fees are set by the Division of Professional and Continuing Education.  Students who register for credit are required to pay credit fees in addition to Workshops tuition; there is no waiver of credit fees. 

Course Requirements

Your ability to tie in your works to your experience at Jazz in July is highly desirable.  Questions? Contact Professor Jeff Holmes at 413-545-6046, or at

One Credit:  Fulfill all requirements of the two-week workshops.  A three page minimum double-spaced 10-12 pt typed paper which describes what you learned and/or accomplished at Jazz in July in (for example) your master classes, lectures, combos, performances.  This should not be a critique of the program, but an evaluation of what you as a musical artist brought to the program, and how the program assisted your ability to make musical choices.  Any musical characterizations of your participation-styles encountered, theoretical or compositional practices, observations of how faculty artists and/or peers performed etc.-would be appropriate as well.

Two Credits: 
(THEORY) Complete requirements for one credit and make a tape of three jazz artists whose styles differ from one another.  Write an analysis of the three styles of performance, applying, when you can, what you have learned during The Workshops.  Submit the CD with your analysis. 

(JAZZ COMPOSITION) Complete the requirements of one credit and make a tape of three composers whose styles differ from one another.  Write an analysis of the three styles, applying, when you can, what you learned during The Workshops.  Submit the tape with your analysis. 

(ALL) Listen to at least 3 selections each, by three artists of your choice, and write a typed discography citing all nine selections.  Include song titles, album titles, artists, personnel and instrumentation, dates of recordings and label(s).  Either bold type or place an asterisk beside the single selection from each of the artists you intend to analyze.  Your analysis of each should contain the following:

  • 2 pages minimum double-spaced 10-12 pt type, biographical information about the artist.
  • 2-3 pages minimum double-spaced 10-12 pt type analysis with an overview of the stylistic characteristics of the writer (composer/arranger) or the  performer (theory) drawn from all the recordings you listened to as examples, plus a detailed analysis of the specific recordings you’ve chosen to feature, including written musical examples where appropriate.  Assessments of jazz style(s) and reference to any corroborative studies at Jazz in July are encouraged for inclusion.
  • A 2 page minimum double-spaced 10-12 pt type summary of your three analyses should complete the paper, citing personal reflections and comparisons of all three to one another (similarities and differences).
  • Materials handed in should include a total of 15-18 pages.  1 for the discography, 6 for the three biographies, 6 to 9 for the analyses, and 2 for the summation.  This paper should also be submitted in a folder with a cover page including your name and the appropriate number of credits and title of course.  All material should be typewritten-musical examples can be hand-written.  In addition, for Composition/Arranging, one composer chosen should be known for writing for non-combo instrumentation (big band for example).  A CD with the three selections chosen for analysis should accompany the paper with the cassette clearly marked, real time markings provided.

Three Credits: 
(THEORY) Complete the requirements for two credits and write 24-32 bars in the style of two of the three jazz artists or perform in the style of tow of the three jazz artists.  If you choose the performance option, submit a CD of your performance.  For theory/performance, the CD should be clearly marked with three selections listened to, plus your own playing in two of those styles. 

(JAZZ COMPOSITION) Complete the requirements for the two credits and write 24-32 bars in the style of two of the three composers.  For comp/arr. a CD of the three composer/arrangers must be clearly marked and all your created scores/works must be clearly marked as well.  A recording of your creation is optional

(ALL) All materials listed above plus the performance or writing requirements.  Mark CDs clearly.  A 2 page minimum double spaced 10-12 pt type written analysis of your own creations should also be included.

All materials should be returned to the Jazz in July office no later than four weeks after the conclusion of the program to receive credit.  No credit will be given nor will a refund be given if no work is returned.  It is the student’s responsibility to check with their institution to make sure that credits from UMass Amherst and Jazz in July will transfer into their grading system.  Credit fees are not returned for credits that do not transfer.  The Division of Professional and Continuing Education will send grade reports to all students.  Transcripts for undergraduate credit are maintained by the Office of Records and Registration.  Division of Professional and Continuing Education, Box 31650 (413-545-3653).  Transcripts for graduate credit are maintained by Records and Registration Office, (413-545-0024).

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Jazz in July internships

The history of Jazz in July has always been intertwined with the development of jazz education in America. Throughout our nearly 30 year history, we have consistently had the support of not only national and international jazz artists, but also world class jazz educators. We have created a program that is dedicated to the continued growth of jazz education.

The Swing, Serve, and Learn Internship has been created to encourage students to pursue academic achievements along with studying jazz improvisation at Jazz in July. By subsidizing the tuition fee, the Swing, Serve, and Learn Internship aims to reward participants for their volunteer service to Jazz in July. This internship is open to high school seniors, college students, and adult performers. There are 4 ways to participate in the Swing, Serve, and Learn Internship. Each one allows the individual to fully participate in all that Jazz in July has to offer while earning college credit, learning about arts management, and volunteering at one of the east coast’s premier summer jazz workshops.

Swing, Serve and Learn duties

  • Usher Concerts
  • Data Entry
  • Jam Session Facilitators
  • Stage Production
  • Merchandise Sales
  • Office Administration
  • Drivers

* Duties are assigned by Jazz in July Staff

Internship – 20h/week volunteer work
One week tuition - $466 / Savings = $224
Two week tuition - $797 / Savings = $493
*prices include registration fee

Internship+1 academic credit – 10h/week volunteer work
Two week tuition - $900 / Savings = $535

Internship+2 academic credit – 10h/week volunteer work
Two week tuition - $800 / Savings = $735

Internship+3 academic credit – 10h/week volunteer work
Two week tuition - $655 / Savings = $980

Please contact Jazz in July Director, Frank Newton at 413-545-3530 or email at if you are interested in the Swing, Serve and Learn Program. Program is only available to accepted applicants to Jazz in July and a limited number of positions are available. Apply online

Age Requirements
Disabilities Consideration

Jazz in July caters to a wide variety of musicians.  We accept musicians from early high school to late life professionals.  The low age cut-off is 15 years of age at the start of the program.  Jazz in July will consider applicants between the ages of 13-14 but those applicants must show an extensive background in formal music education and an exceptional high level of technical ability as a vocalist or instrumentalist.  There is no maximum age limit recognized by Jazz in July.  Our facilities are handicap accessible.  Any mobility disabilities should be disclosed to Jazz in July staff during the application process.  Seeing-eye dogs and/or guides are allowed free of charge at Jazz in July for the visually impaired.

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There are many options for housing during your stay at Jazz in July.  The most popular option for most applicants is a stay in University Housing.  The University provides a co-ed dormitory expressly for Jazz in July participants.  The dorm is walking distance from the Music Department and is the most convenient option for housing.  UMass Conference Services handles all reservations and fees for those making use of University Housing. The UMass Conference Service provides a dorm monitor that is always present.  Fees for University Housing are set by UMass Conference Services.  All payments can be made by Visa or Mastercard by clicking on the housing link on our home page or payments can be made by check to “UMass Conference Services”. Residence Hall housing is not the only housing option for Jazz in July.  There are many hotels and motels located just off campus, which can provide housing for your stay in Amherst.  Jazz in July can supply information on hotels that are in the immediate area.  Any off-campus housing options may be used by participants at their own discretion.

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There are many meal options at Jazz in July.  The most popular meal option for most Jazz in July participants is the University Meal Plan supplied by UMass Conference Services. All minors staying on campus are required to buy a University meal plan. This meal plan allows for three meals a day at a designated Dining Commons on UMass campus.  The dining commons has a very wide variety of food options and also has vegetarian selections.  UMass Conference Services sets the prices for the UMass Meal Plan. More information will be sent to participants upon acceptance. If you do not require 3 meals a day, you can pay in cash or credit/debit card per meal at the entrance to the dining area.  Per meal prices are available at the UMass Conference Services website.  Participants also have access to all other summer eating facilities if they would like to pay in cash or credit/debit.  Amherst and Hadley also have a wide variety of restaurants that deliver to the Jazz in July dorms and surrounding hotels.  All off-campus restaurants can be used at the participant’s discretion.

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Non-Local Participants

For years Jazz in July has welcomed participants from all over the world.  Keeping Jazz in July abreast of your travel plans will help us coordinate any special steps that need to be taken before your arrival.  All participants flying to Jazz in July should schedule their flight to arrive at Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT.  There is a shuttle service that runs from the airport to the dormitory.  You can schedule your arrival and return trip from and to the airport at  The Peter Pan bus line has the most direct bus routes to UMass.  All Peter Pan bus reservations can be made at  You should plan on being at Jazz in July until 4 pm on either Friday at Jazz in July depending on when you are attending.  Non-local participants should arrive and check-in the Sunday before the start of the program. Residence hall check-in begins at 4:00PM each Sunday.

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Commuter Participants

Participants who are commuting to Jazz in July should be prepared to arrive at 8:15 am on Monday morning.  All personal instruments or cases should be labeled with names and addresses.  Drumset and Bass players can bring their instruments and amps to the Music Department after 3 pm on the Sunday before the start of the program.  We will store the instruments until the start of the program.  All scheduled daily activities are over by 8:30 pm.  Those participants needing rides should schedule them after 8:30.  The building remains open until 11 pm Monday through Thursday for optional jam sessions and practicing.  Rides should be scheduled before 11 pm for those participants staying to participate in jam sessions.  All participants are required to go to evening concerts on Wednesday and Thursday, which end approximately at 10:30 pm.  The program ends at 4 pm on Friday.  All instruments should be removed after 4 pm.

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Call: 413.545.3530, Fax: 413.545.0132 

Jazz in July Staff
Frederick C. Tillis, Artistic Director
Jeff Holmes, Associate Artistic Director
Frank Newton, Administrative Director
Mandy Pachios, Assistant Administrative Director

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Jazz in July is a program of the University of Massachusetts Fine Arts Center, sponsored in cooperation with the Department of Music & Dance. Jazz in July is funded in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and is a patron member of the International Association of Jazz Educators. Announced faculty and programs may change without notice.

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Friends and Sponsors

Friends of Jazz in July

1794 Meeting House
Vam & Joan Abbott
John Blake Jr.
Steven Coombs
Joseph L. & Kathleen M. Diveglia
Mindy Domb and Matthew Sadof
Jacob Epstein
Nnenna Freelon
Fran and Steven Goldsher
Peter Grimaldi
Nancy and Paul Hamel
William Harris
Molly Harrison
Charles “Chip” Jackson
Nicole Kamra
John V. and Catherine L. Lombardi
Renee Moss & Eric Bachrach
Mari Mennel-Bell
Stephen Page
Emilie Phelps
Allen and Alva Weinberger
Dr. Billy Taylor
Frederick C. & E. Louise Tillis
Paula and Steven Zeitlin

State and Business Sponsors

Massachusetts Cultural Council

Downtown Sounds

Hampshire Hospitality Group
Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts

Xeric FoundarionXeric Foundation
Community Music School of Springfield

University Sponsors

College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Hampshire Hospitality Group
Department of Music & Dance
Division of Continuing Education

Community Arts Partners

Community Music School of Springfield
Ed Cohen Photography
Greenfield Community College
Holyoke Community College
Northampton Community Music Center
Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School

Media Sponsors

Want to see your name on this list? Donate to Jazz in July! Fill out the Donation form on the FAC website by clicking here . When you get to the second page of the Donation form select Fine Arts Center from the drop down menu, and be sure to note Jazz in July in the subcategory field!

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