MacPhail Center for Music is proud to offer students exploration of the great Black American art-form, jazz.

Under the direction of Christopher Rochester, the faculty provides a comprehensive, explorative jazz curriculum spanning the great traditions of the past to the innovative developments of the present. The program gives students different opportunities and enhances the presence and quality of jazz performance in the MacPhail community.

Jazz offerings include: individual lessons, combos, summer camps, school partnerships, performances, master classes, and jam sessions.

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Individual Lessons

A hallmark of MacPhail is providing exceptional music lessons to students of all ages, levels, and backgrounds. Over a dozen MacPhail faculty specialize in providing jazz lessons. Financial assistance and scholarships are important to rewarding aspiring students and making lessons financially feasible.

Artists performing on stage in Antonello Hall

Jam Sessions

Key to this program, open jam sessions (similar to the jazz clubs of year’s past) provide students with the opportunity to perform with others, test their chops, develop performance skills, and network with a welcoming community of fellow musicians.

Summer Camps

Summer camp intensives provide youth with the opportunity to hone their skills in weeklong camps that focus on performing in combos, improvisation, creating new music and performance.

School Partnerships

Jazz sessions led by MacPhail teaching artists will become a significant offering for students in schools throughout Greater Minnesota utilizing MacPhail Online School Partnership program. Jazz is a vital component of OSP assisting music educators in Great Minnesota whose it greatly limited.

MacPhail is pleased to announce a new partnership with Minnesota Youth Jazz bands. MacPhail is the host site for rehearsals and concerts.

Performances/Master Classes

Throughout all student activities, performances are integrated. In addition, the MacPhail jazz faculty perform frequently at MacPhail events and in featured MacPhail concerts such as the MacPhail Spotlight Series. Faculty also provide instrument/genre specific master classes.

Guest Clinicians

MacPhail is proud to partner with the Twin Cites Jazz Festival and will annually host clinics by the headlining performers of the Jazz Festival in Antonello Hall. MacPhail Guest Clinicians have included Matthew Whitaker, piano; Emmet Cohen, piano; Houston Person, saxophone and Dee Dee Bridgewater, voice amongst others.

Jazz Combos & Ensembles

The Dakota Ensemble – An Elite Instrumental Jazz Combo

First Ave Ensemble – Pop and R&B Combo with Vocal-centric Arrangements

Jazz Combos – a combo for every skill level and age

Brass Band Ensemble – A fun entry into the music of New Orleans, the world of improvisation and learning by ear. (no audition necessary)

Audition Information and Requirements –
Check back for 2024 Audition Dates

Minimum age for all ensembles is 12. Exceptions can be made on a case-by-case basis.

Questions? Email [email protected]

Christopher playing saxophone

Christopher Rochester

The MacPhail Jazz program is led by Global Music Initiative Director, Christopher Rochester. Chris is an African American musician, educator, and composer. He has studied and played with artists such as Greg Osby, George Garzone, Scotty Barnhart (current leader of the Count Basie Band), Bill Pierce, and many others. As an educator he’s taught in Florida, Minnesota, Georgia, and Alabama, helping students receive scholarship offers from many illustrious programs. Several of his students have been recognized at the state level and have won many auditions and awards.

For Individual Lessons, please fill out our Student Placement Form.

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