Jazz Servicesí Will Michael Jazz Education Awards 2014 title


The Jazz Services’ Will Michael Jazz Education Awards 2013/14

Diploma of Special Merit

Finally, a joint submission by the Southampton and Hampshire Music Hubs. The two Hubs enjoy excellent individual reputations but rather than compete on jazz education they have worked alongside each other to provide projects and opportunities for young musicians in the region in a way which blurs the geographical boundaries. Yet it isn’t projects which make this submission so distinctive so much as the continued commitment to good practice in the form of relevant and effective CPD for both instrumental tutors and classroom music teachers and long-term mentoring and development of successful jazz ensembles. The two principal jazz ensembles in Southampton continue to be over-subscribed. The Southampton Jazz Workshop (SJW) nurtures young musicians (aged eight plus) from across the region, offering large ensemble playing opportunities, public and school performances, indeed, the Workshop bands have built strong relationships with several school music departments within both the City and County. It is SJW policy and practice to encourage members to write for the Bands, with mentoring by the two directors. The SJW is also, in effect, a nursery for the prestigious Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra (though the SJW has many more Youtube appearances than the SYJO!)

Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra

SYJO too draws upon the whole of the County and City for its young musicians, It is widely recognised as one of the leading UK YJOs and has several close associations with nationally recognised professional jazz musicians.One of those professional connections included a project with Ian Shaw, exploring new arrangements of Burt Bacharach songs together with Shaw originals; and a unique collaboration with the Kairos 4tet in which members of the Quartet embedded themselves within the ranks of SYJO whilst playing new arrangements of their own material written for the Band by Director Dan Mar-Molinero.  Annually half a dozen or more SYJO members leave to pursue their jazz studies at Conservatoires.

Strong links with the University of Southampton have been sustained and indeed improved with lecturers from the Jazz and Pop Undergraduate Degree Pathway working with young musicians to improve their understanding of jazz composition and jazz harmony. Teacher training and CPD have as affirmed above been a key part of the jazz offer. In an INSET day held by Hampshire Music Service over 50 instrumental tutors participated in a ‘how to approach teaching jazz’ workshop led by the SYJO Director who also conducted a similar workshop for primary and secondary music teachers on the fundamentals of running a jazz ensemble. In both instances, resources were included to aid teachers when applying the workshop outcomes to their own teaching situations.

Southampton Youth Jazz Orchestra

An important development in the year was the launch of the BTEC Certificate in Music (Jazz) for year one students and the Subsidiary Diploma in Music (Jazz) for year two students at Hampshire Hub member, Alton College. For 16-19 students in the region this represents an A level equivalent which is acceptable to all the leading jazz conservatoire courses. The curriculum includes one small group gig in local music venues per month. To complement that 16-19 offer, the Hampshire Hub provided free improvisation workshops to 8-16s exploring fundamental improvisation ideas, eg blues, modes, turnarounds, which were well attended.

There is even more to this submission, but we will leave it on this novel note. A proposal to set up a teachers’ jazz orchestra has been met with enthusiasm. What better way to start breaking down the “difficult” jazz barrier!


We pay tribute to those Hubs and Music Services which have demonstrated their commitment to music education and to jazz education in particular and believe that an ‘honourable mention’ is due to Glasgow.

We are pleased to award Diplomas to Bournemouth &Poole (SoundStorm), Bromley, East Renfrewshire, Manchester (One Education Music), Oxfordshire and a Diploma of Special Merit to Southampton and Hampshire in respect of their impressive joint submission.

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