Jazz Camp

July 10-15, 2022
Grades 8-12 (grade completion)


This camp will help you improve your performance and understanding of jazz. Designed for enthusiastic musicians of any skill level, the camp is full of performing, learning, and listening. You'll benefit from:

  • Classes on jazz improvisation and jazz theory.
  • Instrument master classes.
  • Jam sessions, private lessons, and group classes.
  • Discussions on jazz styles and the music business.

You'll stay in Gilbert Hall during camp. Your experience will end with a concert open to your friends and family.

Additional Information

For more information check out these resources:

Private Lessons

Campers may elect to take private music lessons during the week at an additional cost of $30 per half hour. You may sign up for the lessons at the check-in table on Sunday or in the External Programs office (Room 132 Music Building) beginning on Monday morning; you will be asked to pay either by check written to NIU (preferred) or cash when you sign up. More details will be available at check-in and the orientation meeting.

End-of-the-Week Concert

On the final day of camp parents and friends are invited to hear the camper combos and big bands perform in the Music Building. The groups begin performing at 3 p.m. and will continue until about 5 p.m. Campers will be assigned to a combo or big band after the Sunday auditions.

To learn which group your son or daughter has been assigned to, during camp week, call the office or contact your child. Parents - remember to pick up a camp schedule on Sunday, as this will have the performance schedule for the combos and bands. Those unable to attend the concert may meet their child at Gilbert Hall at about 5:15 p.m. Campers' luggage will be secured in a room during the day at the residence hall for pick-up at the end of the concert.

What to Bring Checklist

  • Comfortable/sturdy walking shoes or sandals.
    • Note: Flip flops are not allowed in classes and should be worn only in the residence hall.
  • Umbrella or rain gear
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Sweatshirt
  • Alarm clock
  • Water bottle
  • Sheets and pillowcase (standard twin size)
  • Blanket, pillow, towels
  • Money for souvenirs, snacks, lessons
  • Dress during the week is casual yet appropriate; please, no short shorts!
  • Standard concert clothes for Friday's performances
    • Button shirt, nice slacks, jacket and tie optional
    • Skirt or nice pants no shorts, no sneakers, no jeans
  • Headphones, MP3 player for jazz music listening (recommended, not required)


All instrumentalists (except pianists and vibraphonists) are expected to bring their own instruments to camp. This includes drummers, guitarists and bassists. Call 815-753-1450 as soon as possible to let us know if you have concerns about this.


Bring no more than a 5-piece drum set with three cymbals. Bring your throne and a rug or small piece of carpet.

Guitarists and Bassists

Bring your amp, patch cord(s) and an electrical extension cord as well as your instrument.

Those players who listed a second instrument on the registration form are asked to bring both instruments to camp. Included are doubles, mutes, etc. All woodwind players should bring your doubles and trumpet players should bring your flugels.


Early bird registration fee: $650 (postmarked June 1 or earlier)

Registration fee: $700

Registration Deadline: June 22, 2022

Returning camper and family discount: $25 (for campers who have previously attended Jazz Camp, and the children and grandchildren of NIU students, staff, and faculty members)

Space is limited for certain instruments, so register early! You can register online or by mail. You'll pay a $100 deposit when you register (unless applying for a summer camp scholarship). The remaining balance is due on June 15.

Need-based scholarship assistance is available. 


We encourage campers to print out the music and practice in advance for the sessions. Sign-up sheets will be available in the Recital Hall lobby. During the jam session, each soloist will perform a maximum of two solo choruses on the 32-bar form tunes and a maximum of four choruses on the blues and the other short form tunes.

All Blues: C Bb Eb Bass

Autumn Leaves: C Bb Eb Bass

Billie's Bounce: C Bb Eb Bass

Blue Bossa: C Bb Eb Bass

Blue Monk: C Bb Eb Bass

Bye Bye Blackbird: C Bb Eb Bass

Doxy: C Bb Eb Bass

Equinox: C Bb Eb Bass

Footprints: C Bb Eb Bass

How High the Moon: C Bb Eb Bass

Now's the Time: C Bb Eb Bass

Oleo: C Bb Eb Bass

Pent-Up House: C Bb Eb Bass

Satin Doll: C Bb Eb Bass

So What: C Bb Eb

Song for My Father: C Bb Eb Bass

Stella By Starlight: C Bb Eb Bass

Take the A Train: C Bb Eb Bass

Tenor Maddness: C Bb Eb Bass


You'll audition for an ensemble on the first day of camp. Your audition will include:

  • One piece that you have prepared.
  • Sight reading.
  • An improvised solo on blues or rhythm changes (optional).

You'll be assigned to one of these ensembles:

  • Jazz bands: Perform big band music, including the music of Basie, Ellington and Woody Herman.
  • Jazz combos: Explore improvisation approaches and arranging techniques by playing jazz standards.
  • Latin jazz combo: Perform jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and fusion styles.


Auditions are scheduled to begin after orientation at 2:30 p.m. Campers are welcome to prepare a piece for auditions, but this is not necessary. Sight-reading is part of the audition. Audition and evaluation results will be used to assign campers to classes and ensembles.


Play swing, shuffle, funk, Latin, and ballad brush styles, and read an intermediate big band chart.


Sight-read an intermediate jazz arrangement, improvise on an F, B♭ blues, or B♭ rhythm changes, if comfortable, not required.


Sight-read written parts and chord symbols and play in swing, Latin, and ballad styles. Improvise F or B♭ blues and B♭ rhythm changes, if comfortable, not required.

After Auditions

When campers finish their auditions, they should go to the Recital Hall to participate in a jam session.


Our Jazz Camp staff is composed of talented NIU faculty and students, alumni, guest artists and area teachers. The ratio of campers to staff members is about 12:1. Staff members are assigned to each residence hall floor and accompany campers to all meals and activities. Complete camp staff info will be available soon.


A general overview of the camp schedule is below.

Date and Time Activity Location
Sunday, July 10 Noon-2 p.m. Check-in

First, take your luggage to Gilbert Hall. Next, go to the nearby Music Building to pick up camp materials. Free parking is available in front of Gilbert Hall and in the lot south of the Music Building.

When you check in, you'll have the opportunity to sign up for optional private music lessons for an extra charge.

Sunday, July 10 2:15 p.m. Orientation

Boutell Memorial Concert Hall (Music Building)

Parents are welcome at this orientation session with the camp director and staff.

Sunday, July 10, to Friday, July 15 Camp activities Music Building
Friday, July 15 3 p.m. Final concert

Music Building

After the concert, pick up your luggage from Gilbert Hall.

Jam Sessions

We will have signup sheets in the Recital Hall lobby for the jam sessions scheduled for 3:15 – 4:45 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Campers are encouraged to prepare in advance for these sessions by downloading the jam session music in PDF format from this site. You are also encouraged to find and listen to recordings of the tunes.

During the jam session, each soloist will perform a maximum of two solo choruses on the 32-bar form tunes and a maximum of four choruses on the blues and the other short form tunes.

Free Time Options

Other daily options during the 3:15 – 4:45 p.m. period include board games and sports, in addition to private music lessons.

Talent Show

Campers are invited to participate in the jazz camp talent show on Thursday night. Bring your skits, imitations, tap shoes, and yes, your musical instruments. The time limit per performance is three minutes.

Contact Us

College of Visual and Performing Arts
Office of External Programs

Music Building 132

Kristin Sherman

Online Office Hours

Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
(lunch from noon – 1 p.m.)

To protect the safety of our staff, students and families, we will operate remotely until further notice. Our staff will be available at their remote offices during normal NIU business hours and can be contacted via phone or email.

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