Newpark Big Band 2024

Course Overview

There is a vast musical and social history of jazz music and it’s development, The Newpark Academy of Music continues to contribute to this ever changing and exciting musical genre. We are delighted to offer music students from all backgrounds the opportunity to apply for our 2024 Summer Big Band Jazz Camp.

Students will establish a strong theoretical and stylistic foundation with regards to improvisation and performance within a Large Jazz Ensemble. There will be an emphasis on the development of the student’s individual expression and creativity. The repertoire covered throughout the week will cover selected pieces from the Big Band era performed by Ellington, Basie and more.

Led by the highly experienced Big Band Leader & Saxophonist Mr. Daniel Rorke PhD, the faculty will also include some of the leading exponents of Jazz music from Ireland, such as Saxophonist Brendan Doyle, Drummer Kevin Brady, Trombonist Colm O’Hara & Trumpeter Michael Barkley.

The final evening of the camp will culminate with a concert at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham and will feature the critically acclaimed Tenor Saxophonist & Composer Meilana Gillard (U.S.) as Guest soloist. The NMA Big Band Camp is the only available summer course of its kind in Ireland and will give you the tools to improve your professional performance ability in an ensemble, increase playing opportunities in the future and create a unique networking environment within the music community.

The Jazz Summer Camp is open to juniors from age 15 and adults. Applicants must have the appropriate background and performance experience and be committed to the schedule and timetable set out for the duration of the course. The number of students on the program will be limited due to the nature of instrumentation required for a Large Ensemble. Placement on the course is by audition. Due to the limited availability of places, this will be a highly competitive process. Preparation is integral to success.

Auditions & Entry Requirements

  • Due to the limited spaces available we ask that each student interested in participating attends Newpark Academy of Music for an audition on Saturday April 27th between 1.30pm & 6pm.
  • To register your interest in auditioning for the Jazz Big Band 2024 please email Kevin at Your application must also include a current music CV giving detail on experience.
  • Your audition time will be assigned to you in advance, please do not attend the audition day without an assigned audition time.
  • Each musician will be asked to demonstrate their reading skills, awareness of jazz styles, comping skill (rhythm section) and improvising skill (optional).
  • A short 10 minute interview will be conducted with the adjudicating panel on completion of your performance.

  • For those unable to attend the audition in person, a recording of yourself playing is also acceptable. Your application must also contain a current music CV giving detail on experience. The audition materials required are listed below and can be emailed to -
  • Recordings can be done by making a simple “voice memos” recording from your iPhone or android phone. In many cases the “voice memos” app is already included on the phone.
  • You can often email the recording file directly from your phone or send to your computer and then attach it to an email. You can choose to use background tracks or play unaccompanied when making your recordings.
  • Recordings must be submitted by 5pm on April 27th.

Saxophones, Trumpets, Trombones, Guitar, Piano.

  • Play the melody: A jazz standard of your choice. Preferably with a 32 bar form. Blues Heads are also accepted.
  • Improvising : record a one chorus solo on the standard of your choosing and perform the melody once again afterwards. You can play unaccompanied or use a background track.
  • In addition to the above feel free to demonstrate any Latin and/or ¾ tunes you wish. (optional)


  • Play “time” with a swing feel for 2 chorus’ of a blues (12 bar form) at 1/4note = 160. You can play/record unaccompanied or use a bass track.
  • Play “time” in a Bossa Nova style for 32 bars at 1/4note = 132. You can play/record unaccompanied or use a background track.
  • Using a 12-bar blues form, record 2 chorus’ as follows:
  • ​​Chorus 1: time 4 bars/solo 4 bars/time 4 bars
  • Chorus 2: solo 4 bars/time 4 bars/solo 4 bars
  • In addition to the above feel free to demonstrate any Latin and/or ¾ grooves you wish. (optional)

Course Details

  • From Monday to Thursday, sessions will run for 3 hours from 3-6pm.
  • On Friday there will be a full-band rehearsal also from 3-6pm.
  • Finishing with a 3 hour rehearsal on Saturday 7th of July from 1-5pm.
  • On Sunday 7th of July The Big Band will perform an outdoor concert featuring Guest Soloist, U.S. Saxophonist Meilana Gillard at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham. The Concert will commence at 3pm for 1-hour and is Free to the public to attend.
  • Good musical fundamentals will be taught during this course, involving listening to your section and across the ensemble.
  • Musical Instruction will address lead playing, section playing, improvising, and understanding the “mapping” of a big band composition/arrangement.
  • The goal is to have fun, work hard, improve a great deal, acquire new skills, and give you the opportunity to network and improve your performance abilities within a jazz orchestra/large jazz ensemble.
  • All charts, rhythm backline, music stands will be supplied by the Academy.
  • Course Fee: The cost for the weeklong course is €350.

Course Timetable

To facilitate the best learning experience individual sections will rehearse on different nights. The following is a provisional timetable for the week Mon 1st-7th July 2024:

  • Monday 1st of July  3-6pm - Horn Section Rehearsal with Tutor – Daniel Rorke (parts will be supplied in advance of the rehearsals/workshops).
  • Tuesday 2nd of July  3-6pm - Rhythm Section rehearsal with Tutors Kevin Brady/Brendan Doyle
  • Wednesday 3rd of July  3-6pm - Horn Section rehearsal with Tutor Brendan Doyle.
  • Thursday 4th of July  3-6pm - Rhythm Section rehearsal with Tutors Kevin Brady & Daniel Rorke
  • Friday 5th of July  3-6pm - Full Section rehearsal with Daniel Rorke
  • Saturday 6th of July  1-5pm - Full Section rehearsal with Brendan Doyle
  • Sunday 7th of July Soundcheck 1pm -  Concert 3pm - Concert Performance at The Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham, Dublin 8. With Special Guest Soloist Meilana Gillard and other notable professional Jazz Musicians such as Trumpeter Michael Barkley and Trombonist Colm O’Hara.

Back to Jazz at Newpark