Experience Jazz

“While rooted in jazz, this program embraces the power and artistry of hiphop, rhythm & blues and other genres students and instructors want to explore together. We strive to bring together students of a multitude of cultural and musical backgrounds in an innovative music-making environment.”

– Justin Christy, Board Chair
Minnesota Jazz Education 

About Experience Jazz

Experience Jazz is a genre-bridging music ensemble program for instrumentalists, vocalists, rappers, DJs and other aspiring musical artists. The goal of this program is to foster creativity and collaboration by bringing together aspiring artists from diverse backgrounds with a common desire to make new music rooted in jazz, blues, pop and hip-hop. 

Now in its third year, this innovative weekly combo program is an incubator for middle and high school musicians to learn, play and compose new music together. Presented in partnership with High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), students rehearse together in HSRA’s state-of-the-art Studio 4. There is no other program like it in Minnesota! 
 
Students work in combos, each focused on a different musical style, based on student interest. Combos are led by professional local musicians, with additional workshops presented by industry professionals, focused on teaching students new skills, and providing the hands-on experience of integrating musical styles.
 
Musicians of all skill levels, grades 7-12 are encouraged to participate! No prior jazz experience required. Read on for information about this year’s program, and past years’ programming.

Experience Jazz 2020

Experience Jazz 2020 will run 13 weeks, February 8 to May 16 (March 30 and April 6 off for Spring Break). Sessions take place Saturdays 1:30-4:30pm at High School for Recording Arts, a secure facility with ample free parking, centrally located in St. Paul, off University Avenue and Lexington Parkway.

Enrollment is open now! Click here to complete an application, we ask all applicants to send a video work sample, and answer some interview questions. 

Please join us for an Open House on Saturday, January 25 at 2pm at High School for Recording Arts to meet our teaching artists, tour the studio and rehearsal facilities, and ask any questions about our program! 

This year’s program is made possible thanks to the STAR Grant from the City of St. Paul. Your contribution ensures the future of innovative programming like Experience Jazz! Donate here today.  

Experience Jazz 2019

Led by local jazz musicians Tasha Baron, Kavyesh Kaviraj, and HSRA staff members Scott Herold and Gabe Moore, Experience Jazz 2019 served 15 students from across the metro area. Students played songs by Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Roy Hargrove, The Jazz Messangers and more! Throughout the spring, students collaborated to compose new songs, and some brought in original compositions to play with their combos–some students even learned to play new instruments!

Recordings 
Experience Jazz students recorded their songs in High School for Recording Arts’ state-of-the-art recording studio, “Studio 4” and released their tracks online through HSRA’s “Another Level Records!” Check out their “Experience Jazz EP” available on Spotify and iTunes. Also check out the student-made promotional videos for their public performances (below), for a behind-the-scenes look at the recording process!

Public Performances
Experience Jazz 2019 students performed at Saturday Night Jazz At the Black Dog, opening for the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra, at Jazz Central Studios, opening fo Hoaxer, and a final performance at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, joined by special guest vocalist Sheridan Zuther