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Jazz Juniors

Jazz Juniors is Northern Ireland’s first dedicated jazz improvisation scheme for under 18s, open to all instrumentalists and singers. Each September we select a small group of musicians from a nationwide talent search spearheaded by our summer Jazzlife Alliance Roadshow. In addition to monthly ensemble sessions led by David Lyttle at the MAC, Belfast, Jazz Juniors also receive individual mentorship, attend masterclasses by acclaimed musicians and perform concerts nationwide.

We will be welcoming expressions of interest in our fourth ensemble from May 2024. Please read the below frequently asked questions and get in touch.

1Do students need to have any experience in jazz to apply?
No, most of our current students joined with no experience of jazz improvisation. Applicants may be asked to submit a video recording in advance of participating in a workshop in Belfast. Potential students will be asked to embellish a melody or improvise using a basic selection of notes.
2Is there a minimum age?
3What level of performance is required in order to be a successful applicant?
Above all we are looking for dedicated students who are passionate about music, however we do expect participants to be reasonably proficient on their instruments, or to show potential.
4Is an advanced level of music theory required to be eligible?
No, the current Jazz Juniors ensemble features participants from a wide range of backgrounds, including some who joined with very limited knowledge of music theory.
5What instruments are you looking for?
We are not looking for any specific instruments and vocalists are also welcome to apply.
6How long can a student remain in Jazz Juniors?
Members can remain in Jazz Juniors until the age of 18. After that they can apply to our young adult developmental schemes. These have included touring and recording opportunities.
7What commitment is required from parents?
We do not provide any transport services and, from September to June, parents can expect one monthly rehearsal in Belfast on Saturdays, two sessions at David Lyttle’s studio in Co. Armagh and around four concerts in Northern Ireland.
8Is there a fee for participation?
Thanks to the support of our funders and private sponsors there are no membership fees. However, as private sponsorship is a crucial part of our funding, we welcome contributions from relatives of Jazz Juniors whose circumstances allow them to help us.
9How can I get involved?
Expressions of interest can be emailed to join@jazzlifealliance.org
10What kind of safeguarding does Jazzlife Alliance have in place?
We have a safeguarding policy which is up to date with the latest regulations and is regularly reviewed. This will be sent to all parents on accepting places for their child in Jazz Juniors. All our facilitators have up-to-date Access NI disclosures and we have a safeguarding officer on our board of directors.

Praise for Jazz Juniors

We also have enjoyed significant support from national media such as the Independent, RTE News and BBC News, as well as local support from the Belfast Telegraph and Sunday Life.

Ben and Nick look forward to their Jazz Juniors sessions at the Mac and the RV sessions. We have noticed that Ben and Nick have really grown in confidence in their musical abilities. They have been exposed to a greater variety of music and performance styles than they would have found anywhere else and developed a new-found passion for jazz.

Maeve and David Falconer, Parents

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is thrilled to support Jazz Juniors thanks to National Lottery players. This impressive initiative offers valuable opportunities for young musicians to learn from exceptional, professional jazz musicians as well as gain experience in performing to live audiences. I wish all involved every success.

Jo Wright, Arts Council of Northern Ireland

…the first-ever junior improvisational jazz ensemble in Northern Ireland.

RTÉ News

…a commendable scheme, and so necessary to help foster a viable local jazz scene

All About Jazz, global jazz website review of Jazz Juniors at Brilliant Corners Festival, Belfast

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