Jazz and Popular Music Institute

The Jazz and Popular Music Institute (JPMI) provides students with the opportunity to explore a wide range of contemporary styles, from jazz to rock and world music to pop. JPMI inspires students to look at collaboration through multiple lenses in order to develop their own identity within a musically diverse community.

JPMI is a dynamic community of musicians coming together to explore their craft. Through small ensembles, private lessons, workshops and performances, students of all ages will gain musical experience within a supportive space that encourages them to push beyond their comfort zones.

Click here to learn more about our Summer Workshop Week (August 12–16)!

To begin private lessons with any of the JPMI faculty, please e-mail Private Lesson Coordinator Jessica Rost at hcdlesson@hartford.edu. To sign up for an ensemble audition, please e-mail Artistic Director Luke Nelson at lunelson@hartford.edu

Jazz Studies

Steven Bulmer
Bass; Jazz Studies
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Ken Fischer
Piano; Jazz Studies
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Jordan Jacobson
Trombone; Jazz Studies
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Doug Maher
Guitar; Jazz Studies
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Joseph McCarthy
Percussion; Jazz Studies
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Luke Nelson
Artistic Director: Jazz and Popular Music Institute
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John Charles Thomas
Trumpet; Jazz Studies
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The Ensembles

American Roots

Acoustic Guitar

For students in grades 7–adult
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 32 classes 

Tuition: $264 for hcd private lesson students, $330 for all others

American Roots music covers a wide range of styles, from Blues to Bluegrass, from string bands to the Folk Revival music of the 60s. Much of this music is personal, political, and powerful and here’s your chance to join the band! Playing the music of Pete Seeger, the Carter Family, Bob Dylan and more, you can let your voice be heard. Players at every level are invited to join, using limited music reading and lots of ear training to develop authentic roots performances. The group is sure to improve your playing and listening skills while giving you a chance to jam with other “fans of Folk.

The ensemble welcomes players in grades 7 and up interested in studying and playing this rich, powerful music. Instrumentation is designed for acoustic guitar, string bass, banjo, mandolin, violin (fiddle), and voice. However, other instruments will be considered, depending on interest.

Hartt Harmony: A Cappella and Vocal Arranging

Hartt Harmony

For students in grades 9–12
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 32 weeks

Tuition: $264 for hcd private lesson students, $330 for all others

A class for singers only! This chamber vocal ensemble will be a training ground for both singers and arrangers. Students will develop their best singing skills and ear training to create an impressive vocal sound, while learning about arranging for voices. Hartt Harmony is an a cappella ensemble featuring close harmony singing, with music supplied by both the director and the students. We will cover a wide range of music, from the Renaissance to today. Students are expected to read music and develop their voices toward an ensemble blend that is at the heart of this performance practice.

Hartt Harmony is limited to 4 sopranos, 4 altos, 4 tenors, and 4 basses.

Hot Club

Bass

For students in grades 9–12
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 32 meetings

Tuition: $264 for hcd private lesson students, $330 for all others

Jazz for classical string players? Yes! If you are looking to improve your playing and develop a personal style, this is the class for you. Find your musical voice in this challenging and exciting ensemble!

The HCD Hot Club provides the tools and repertoire to perform an acoustic swing music based on the legendary Quintet of the Hot Club of France. Using the songs and style of the great Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, students will discover a new level of musical expression.

The music is a combination of European folk music and American swing, sometimes referred to as “Gypsy Jazz.” Many of the songs are very simple to learn and play, which makes them perfect for collective music making and “jamming,” while providing literature of a musical genre that is respected around the world. This musical style provides plenty of room for improvisation, while helping to develop skills that are essential to all musicians (keeping a beat, listening and blending, playing with feeling, etc.).

The course is limited to three violins, two woodwind instruments, one accordion, one cello, one string bass, and three acoustic guitars. No amps allowed! Students will supply their own instruments and should be able to read music.

Jazz Combos

Saxophone

For students in grades 6–12
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 32 meetings 
* Meets in Simsbury

Tuition: $526.50 for hcd private lesson students, $675 for all others

The Hartt Jazz Combo is designed for students looking for a chamber-sized ensemble to develop their jazz playing, practice improvising, and increase their knowledge of classic jazz tunes. From Blues to Be Bop, the Jazz Combo is a training ground for middle school and high school players.

Students will develop their collaborative skills in this smaller ensemble, and have the opportunity to explore improvisation at great length. The language and history of jazz will be part of the process, as we study the legends and explore this great art form. Students should be able to read music and have an understanding of the jazz style to be part of this ensemble. Find out how far your jazz playing can go in a combo setting that lets you be heard.

The course is limited to 4 winds and a rhythm section.

Rock Band

Rock Band

For students in grades 8–12
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 32 meetings

Tuition: $526.50 for hcd private lesson students, $675 for all others

Hartt’s Rock Band offers students a collaborative environment in which they can develop their individual musicianship, study classic Rock literature, and be part of a band. In addition to receiving training in these areas, students will work together to create their own versions of the music.

Instrumentation includes (but is not strictly limited to) guitar, keyboard, bass, some winds and drums. Singers are most welcome! Students are expected to read some music, however, more time will be devoted to developing a musical ear, and creating a unified band sound.

Ukulele

Ukulele

Youth

For students in grades 6-12
1-Hour Class, Time TBD
Length of course: 12 meetings
Two Sessions in the Fall & Spring

An ensemble designed for everyone! If you are just starting in music, or have played for years, this ensemble will increase your musical vocabulary while providing an ensemble experience that is rewarding and fun. Students will learn about melody, chords and rhythm while playing music from Rock to Bach. No music reading is required. Bring your own ukulele and plan on having a great time growing your musical world.

Adult

For 18 and up
1-Hour Class, Time TBd
Length of course: 12 meetings
Two Sessions in the Fall & Spring

Adults, don’t let kids have all the fun! This class will provide you with a unique musical experience. Pick up a ukulele and join in!

Ukulele class offers an entry into the world of ensemble playing on an instrument that is easy to learn and played around the world. Beginners and seasoned players are encouraged to join this class, as we learn the basics of melody and chord playing on music from Rock to Bach. Students will learn by ear, playing together as an ensemble, while developing musical skills along the way. Students will supply their own ukuleles.

*The Ukulele ensembles do not require an audition.Please contact JPMI Artistic Director Luke Nelson at lunelson@hartford.edu for more information.

Songwriting

songwriting

For Students in Grades 7–12
Tuesdays, 4-5 p.m.
Length of Course: 10 weeks

Under the instruction of Luke Nelson, this group class gives students the skills and knowledge to best express themselves through song. Participants will study music theory and performance skills while examining classic songs. Understanding song structure, developing rhyming techniques, and discovering new musical styles will help every songwriter unleash her or his full potential. Both short and long form songs are considered in this class, sometimes combining our efforts to create our own musical! 

Students must read music and/or TAB and have studied an instrument or voice for two years. Please e-mail Luke Nelson at lunelson@hartford.edu to express interest.

The Chinese Music Tradition

chinese music tradition

Explore Chinese culture by delving into The Chinese Music Tradition. Through this musical experience, students have the opportunity to engage with a new music system, immerse themselves in distinctive musical style, learn and explore traditional Chinese instruments, and experience rich Chinese musical traditions.  Both courses within the Chinese Music Tradition series are taught by Esther Shuyue Cao.

Course 1: Explorations in Chinese Musical Traditions
Tuition: $120 per 8-week session

Explorations is an 8-week class for students in grade 1 through adults who are interested in learning more about the rich Chinese culture and music tradition. Each week students will learn about traditional repertoire and performance techniques as well as how they differ from our Western musical traditions. Students will explore the Guzheng (zither), Pipa (lute), Erhu (fiddle), Ruan (guitar), Hulusi Flute (Cucurbit flute), Chinese percussion, Chinese folk song, and will conclude with repertoire for Traditional Chinese Ensembles.

Course 2: Performance Traditions: A Study of Traditional Chinese Instruments
Tuition: $345 per 8-week session

For students in grade 2 through adult, Performance Traditions provides students with 5, 45–minute private lessons in a Chinese Musical Tradition of their choice, such as Guzheng (zither), Pipa (lute), Erhu (fiddle), Ruan (guitar), Hulusi Flute (Cucurbit flute), Chinese percussion, or Voice (Chinese folk song). Students will then join together in a melding of east and west for a 3-week collaborative ensemble experience culminating on our Creative Studies Day.

Students must have experience on another instrument and be able to read music to participate in this class. Students are encouraged to take the Explorations class prior to taking Performance Traditions.

Audition

Days

Most auditions are short and low-key, giving the student a chance to get to know our artistic director, Luke Nelson. See what new musical horizons await you!

  • Audition Festival, June 9

  • Simsmore Square Edition, June 15

If you cannot make either of the scheduled audition days, please e-mail JPMI Artistic Director Luke Nelson at lunelson@hartford.edu.

Requirements

All ensembles require an audition with the exception of Ukulele, Songwriting, and The Chinese Music Tradition.

Please see below for the list of audition requirements. All students must audition for these ensembles on one of the two Audition Days, including returning students.

Jazz Combos / Hot Club

  • Perform a solo version of a classic jazz composition (beginning students may use part of an arrangement as performed in an ensemble). *Strings auditioning for Hot Club may use a classical piece.
  • Improvisation: Students should be prepared to demonstrate their improvisation experience either on a Bb blues or rhythm changes.
  • Rhythm Section: Demonstrate accompanying and comping skills.
  • A brief interview about musical experiences and interests.

American Roots Ensemble

  • Perform an American Roots song (folk, country, blues, gospel).
  • Demonstrate knowledge of either melodies or chords (depending on instrument) from the folk music tradition.
  • A brief interview about musical experiences and interests.

Hartt Harmony

  • Perform a song a cappella, demonstrating vocal quality, musicality, and performance techniques.
  • A brief interview about musical experiences and interests.

Rock Band

  • Perform a solo version of a classic rock song.
  • Rhythm Section: Demonstrate ability to accompany using chords, rhythms and bass lines (depending on instrument) in a variety of styles, tempos, and grooves.
  • A brief interview about musical experiences and interests.

Private Lessons

To inquire about private lessons with our JPMI faculty, please call us at 860.768.4451 or e-mail Private Lesson Coordinator Jessica Rost.

JPMI Summer Workshop Week!

August 12–16, 2019

This workshop week will include classes featuring our award winning faculty, small class sizes, and exceptional instruction. Students from middle school through adults are invited to join us at our Simsmore Square Branch for this exceptional line-up of daily workshops.

Blues Monday

Monday, August 12
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

From jazz to rock to classical music and beyond, the Blues is in there! Learn how to hear it, play it and use it to your best advantage. Join professional songwriter, performer and composer Luke Nelson for an in-depth look at Blues masters and the Blues language. Whatever and however you play, this workshop will help you go deeper.

Prerequisites

Open to all musicians in middle school and beyond.

Faculty

Luke Nelson

Registration Details

Tuition: $180
Registration Deadline: August 1, 2019
Note: this workshop is 6 hours, to allow time for recording our Blues. Please bring your own lunch!

Drum Set Workout

Tuesday, August 13
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Don’t miss this opportunity to work with one of the best! Latin Grammy Award winning drummer Joe McCarthy will take you through the essential components of successful drum set playing in an intensive workshop focusing on technical and musical essentials. From Proper set-up and body position, to groove and style analysis, this workshop will explore kit playing in a whole new way.

Prerequisites

Open to middle and high school students with at least two years experience on drum set.

Faculty

Joe McCarthy

Registration Details

Tuition: $120
Registration Deadline: August 1, 2019

Write and Record Your Own Songs

Wednesday, August 14
9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

BMI songwriter Luke Nelson has written over a thousand songs in countless styles and genres. From folk songs to show tunes, from jazz to Asian Pop, Luke Nelson knows songwriting! Here’s your chance to learn more about the craft of songwriting and bring out your best work. You will also learn about arranging and recording your songs, creating a final product of your work in one day!

Prerequisites

Open to all songwriters in middle school and beyond.

Faculty

Luke Nelson

Registration Details

Tuition: $180
Registration Deadline: August 1, 2019
Note: This workshop is 6 hours to allow for recording. Please bring your own lunch!

Bass Grooves

Thursday, August 15
9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Award-winning musician Steve Bulmer offers bass players of all skill levels this exciting workshop, helping you to improve your musicianship and explore different styles of playing. Bass Grooves Workshop will combine listening, writing, transcribing and playing, as we explore iconic jazz, rock, funk, and blues masters and their classic bass lines. We will dig deep into what makes them “groove” and find out what the bass is all about. You will pick up essential techniques and discover your bass “grooviness.”

Prerequisites

Open to all middle and high school upright or bass guitar players. Students must supply their own instruments and amps.

Faculty

Steve Bulmer

Registration Details

Tuition: $120
Registration Deadline: August 1, 2019

JPMI Open House and Faculty Concert

JPMI Open House
Thursday, August 15
6:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Meet the JPMI faculty and tour the facilities at Simsmore Squre. Learn about all the great offerings this fall at JPMI. Middle and high school students and their families are invited to stop by. Followed by a free jazz concert at 7:00!

JPMI Faculty Jazz Concert
Thursday, August 15
7:00 p.m.

JPMI presents a jazz recital by members of the JPMI Faculty. Come hear our great jazz teachers perform together and meet the players after the show for a sweet reception.

Open Hartt Open Mic

Friday, August 16
7:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Hosted by Luke Nelson

Join us for our 4th monthly Open Hartt Coffeehouse. Students in grade 7-12 are invited to perform acoustic music, recite a poem or monologue, tell jokes, or just hang out in this relaxed setting. No advanced sign-up required. See you at Open Hartt!

Together, we can ensure the gift of an unparalleled performing arts education is available to all.