Middle School Jazz Academy How to Participate

Middle School Jazz Academy is now accepting applications for the 2022-2023 season.

Middle School Jazz Academy (MSJA) seeks New York City middle school students interested in instrumental jazz instruction. Sixty (60) middle school musicians will be awarded full scholarships providing group classes throughout the school year.  Students will be selected based on their interest in jazz, exceptional dedication to music, desire to work in an ensemble of their peers and an ability to commit to this rigorous and rewarding jazz immersion experience.  Students learn from outstanding faculty and guest musicians, and receive tickets to performances and educational events at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Program goals

  • Provide students with an opportunity to thrive in a supportive and challenging jazz environment
  • Reach talented students who may not otherwise be able to afford quality music instruction
  • Instill a love of jazz, a respect for self and an appreciation of community
  • Awaken and enhance listening skills, creativity, imagination and discipline


Students must:

  • Have played an instrument for a minimum of one year
  • Demonstrate fluency on at least three major scales
  • Be entering grades 6, 7 or 8 for the 2022-23 school year
  • Live and/or attend school in one of the five New York City boroughs
  • Be willing to commit to practicing at least forty-five minutes a day and listening to jazz at least one hour a day, five days a week
  • Be eager to learn more about jazz

Full scholarships are given to students from families of limited means.
Accepted students are eligible to participate in the program for a maximum of two years and are required to reapply each year.
Instruments: Saxophone (soprano, alto, tenor, baritone), trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, percussion, guitar, flute clarinet, tuba/euphonium, violin
“Jazz is music to my soul. It is a very sweet melody that puts you in the mood to realize and think how great life is.” Brenda Letang, MSJA Parent
“Jazz is the rhythm, the soul, the beat. It evolves around me. There’s jazz everywhere I go. Jazz is the music I fell in love with. Jazz is me.” Terson Modeste, MSJA student

Student auditions run approximately fifteen minutes and will include the following:

  • Performance
  • Perform two contrasting pieces of the student’s choice
  • Scales
  • Play three different major scales
  • Sight Reading
  • Sight read a song consisting of simple rhythms and melodic ideas
  • Melodic and Rhythmic Patterns
  • A faculty member will tap a series of short rhythmic patterns and melodies and the student will repeat them
  • Verbal

Students should be prepared to answer the question: “What would you like to learn about jazz?”
After the first round of auditions, a limited number of students will be invited via mail and/or phone to return for a callback audition and a family interview.