Jazz Ensemble Improvisation Course

Course Information

The popular Jazz Ensemble Improvisation Course at Newpark Academy of Music is taught by some of Ireland’s leading jazz musicians and offers a pathway for musicians to enter the world of jazz improvisation. During the course students will have the unique opportunity to work in an in-depth way on improvisation techniques and jazz standards, and will develop practical rhythmic tools to connect with the rhythm section.

The Jazz Ensemble Improvisation Course at Newpark, is set in a welcoming and non-judgmental environment, where participants will be encouraged to play and improvise. Students will have the unique opportunity to work in-depth on improvisation techniques, learning jazz standards, practical rhythmic tools to connect with the rhythm section and much more. The major stylistic eras of jazz will be covered through a variety of repertoire introduced to the ensembles weekly by each teacher. Each student will learn to understand the role of their instrument/voice within an ensemble context.

International lecturers will visit throughout the duration of the course, to share their experienced insights and knowledge with students, helping them broaden their understanding of jazz music and its contribution to global culture.

A working knowledge of reading musical notation is advantageous, but not a necessity to apply for this course.

Jazz Recital

A recital must be performed at the end of each term for completion of the Jazz Improv Course.
This must include at least 1 original composition and arrangements of any jazz standards from the diverse repertoire covered throughout the term. Each ensemble will arrange a 30-minute performance.

The recital will be recorded in an audio/visual format.
Each group will also have the opportunity to perform in bi-annual public performances.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Learning the basic concepts of Jazz Improvisation
  2. Understanding chord symbols, rhythmic notation, articulation, and dynamics
  3. Be conversant with a core jazz repertoire, covering major and minor blues, Latin, swing, ballad playing, modal, funk and rhythm changes
  4. Be familiar with harmonic and rhythmic devices necessary for the performance of the repertoire
  5. Comping, solo-ing ideas, trading, development of intros and outros, listening skills and much more
  6. A knowledge of the broad periods of the history of jazz and appropriate repertoire
  7. Develop critical thinking and an ability to arrange and compose music for group performance


Classes take place one night a week, on Monday or Wednesday evenings (depending on which class you choose) at 19:30 -21:30.

This is a 32 week course, with classes starting the week commencing the 4th September 2023.

Monday Night Class lead by:

Aidan Gray - Bass & Ensemble Teacher.

Tom Harte - Guitar & Ensemble Teacher.

Wednesday Night Class lead by:

Brian Wynn - Tenor Saxophone & Ensemble Teacher.

Daniel Soro - Guitar & Ensemble Teacher.

Greg Lloyd - Piano & Ensemble Teacher.

Tom Harte - Guitar & Ensemble Teacher.


It was a pleasure to study at Newpark. Throughout my time there, I learnt about the creative and technical areas of music and got to study with some of the best jazz teachers in Ireland.
Josh Fitzpatrick Couzy • Professional Drummer

"Jazz education at Newpark provided me with guidance on how to navigate myself through contemporary music. Instrumental skills, musicianship, composition, arranging, harmony, rhythm and improvisation are subjects essential to me - I can compose, produce music, teach and perform thanks to my ongoing training in music.” 
Peter Moc • Jazz/Classical Guitarist

I had the most amazing time studying at Newpark. For me, it was an incredible experience to be challenged in many ways, rhythmically, performance, composition, arranging. Not to mention, meeting and playing with so many amazing musicians whom I have made lifelong friendship with.
Jenny Hallahan • Bassist & Recording Artist

I am from Denmark and went to study jazz performance at Newpark which was an extraordinary experience. At Newpark I learned all the fundamentals, essential to launching a successful career as a professional musician. I was fortunate to have some very inspiring teachers whilst studying there, that inspired me to really work on my craft as a guitarist.” 
Kasper Priess Hollesen • Guitarist & Composer

Studying Jazz at Newpark opened my eyes to a whole world of music and opportunity. The course of study was very clear and well guided and gave me the skills I needed to begin a professional life in music. It also gave me the confidence to pursue a career as a performer. Newpark fosters creativity and I was encouraged to push boundaries and step outside my comfort zone, an important tool to cultivate for any creative musician.” 
Aoife Doyle • Singer & Composer

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