Newpark Big Band

Overview of the course

There is a vast musical and social history of jazz music and it’s development, 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 Summer Big Band Jazz Course 2023.

Participants 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. Led by the highly experienced Big Band Leader & Saxophonist Ciaran Wilde, the faculty will also include some of the leading exponents of Jazz music from Ireland; with Saxophonist Brendan Doyle and Drummer Kevin Brady.

The Newpark Big Band course is the only available course of its kind in Ireland, and will give you the tools to improve your performance ability in an ensemble and further your playing opportunities in the future. The final day of the course will culminate with a concert at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), performing the repertoire taught over the course of the week. The final recital will also feature the critically acclaimed Tenor Saxophonist & Composer Meilana Gillard (U.S.) as a Guest soloist.

Auditions & Entry Requirements

  • Due to the limited spaces available we ask that each student interested in participating attends Newpark Academy of Music on Saturday May 13th between 2pm & 6pm, your audition time will be assigned to you in advance.
  • For those unable to attend, a recording of yourself playing is also acceptable. Your application must also 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 May 8th.
  • 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.

Saxophones, Trumpets, Trombones, Guitar, Piano, Voice.

  • 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)

Applying To The Big Band Summer Course

The Newpark Jazz Summer Course is open to juniors and seniors who have the appropriate background, and who are committed to studying the performance practices and rich cultural legacy of jazz & improvised music. Admission to the course will be by application. 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.



To facilitate the best learning experience individual sections will rehearse on different nights. The following is a provisional timetable for the week:

Monday 3rd of July  3-6pm

Horn Section Rehearsal with Tutor – Ciaran Wilde

(parts will be supplied in advance of the rehearsals/workshops).

Tuesday 4th of July  3-6pm

Rhythm Section rehearsal with Tutors Kevin Brady/Daniel Rorke

Wednesday 5th of July  3-6pm

Horn Section rehearsal with Tutor Brendan Doyle.

Thursday 6th of July  3-6pm

Rhythm Section rehearsal with Tutors Kevin Brady & Daniel Rorke

Friday 7th of July  3-6pm

Full Section rehearsal with Faculty

Saturday 8th of July  1-5pm

Full Section rehearsal with Faculty and Guest Saxophonist

Meilana Gillard.

Sunday 9th of July 4pm Soundcheck 2pm

Concert Performance with Guest Meilana Gillard at Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham.

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