Testimonials

"I learned a lot about music and life that I believe positively changed me as a growing musician."
—2016 Student

"It was an excellent experience. Ever since, my playing has increased in energy."
—2016 Student

"Excellent experience. Very friendly instructors willing to share their knowledge at all times, no matter the level. A lot of playing and feedback."
—2016 Student

"Such an amazing and rewarding experience. I met so many inspiring people that I know I will be friends with forever. I am definitely returning next year."
—2016 Student

"I benefited enormously from Jazz Camp. I hope to participate in it again in the future. What an extraordinary gift to students of jazz!"
—2016 Student

"Mark Dresser has an extensive knowledge of music and is open to any musical idea. Listening to what is happening around the world with jazz really opened my ears; I still haven't gone through all the names I wrote down in this class. I'd recommend this class to any listener."
—2015 Student

"One of the most exciting experiences in my musical life so far! Gilbert Castellanos succeeds in extracting the very best of each player. Extraordinary example of band leading, with very precise coaching about interpretation, tune structure, etc., but with excellent two-way comunication with the musicians. And always with a pervasive great sense of humour. Look forward to repeat the experience."
—2015 Student

"Through Charles McPherson, I have learned many important improvising skills. Since my return from jazz camp, I have paid closer attention to my rhythm and pulse and have learned that there are nearly an infinite amount of ways to play around with one scale."
—2015 Student

"It was fascinating to hear what these speakers had to say. My perception of music has changed drastically because of many of the ideas that I have been presented with at these sessions. I learned a lot and it has been a pleasure listening to these instructors."
—2015 Student

"At first I was shy and nervous about soloing over songs I had never played before, but by the end of the week I had soloed over plenty of songs I didn't know and learned the true meaning of 'improvise.' This experience has been very useful and enlightening for me, and has inspired me to attend more jam sessions outside of camp."
—2015 Student

"Frankly, this year's experience is close to prefect. Your approach is unique and mind-opening. Both ends (i.e. Hard Bop and contemporary) have to be kept for the future as well as the wishes of the participants to play in a band close to their taste. In my case, I think I've enough to learn in the styles I prefer before venturing into uncharted - for me- territories; others are elated to play in contemporary settings with the best coaches available today."
—2015 Student

"One of the most profound experiences I have had."
—2014 Student

"The camp provided me with a whole new perspective on jazz and music as a whole."
—2014 Student

"There is no other camp like UC San Diego. It really is unique in its challenges and boldness."
—2014 Student

"An excellent course...a superb job demonstrating all the styles and methods of improvisation he talked about in class."
—2013 Student

"Amazing. It really opened up my eyes further when it came down to jazz theory. I'm primarily classically trained, so I understood the theory, but got the jazz standpoint and way of thinking when it came to examining music."
—2013 Student

"Definitely one of the most interesting sessions I've attended so far."
—2013 Student

"[It] brought on a new perspective of music composition that I have not had much experience with, but enjoyed thoroughly. [Mark Dresser] would play segments of songs to help get his idea across, and the songs he played were amazing, thought provoking, and interesting. One of my favorite classes."
—2013 Student

"Excellent. An experience it would be difficult to get elsewhere. Dan (and staff) did an excellent job of creating ensembles that were balanced both instrumentation-wise and talent-wise. No ensemble seemed to have players that were outliers in terms of talent in either direction. Well done."
—2013 Student

"I loved this combo. I really enjoyed how [Charles McPherson] would talk to the rhythm section, and he would address ideas we could think about during solos. He gave us an exercise to do over any tune where we play an entire chorus of quarter note triplets. It teaches us to get through the awkward spots and not to stop the line."
—2013 Student

"I learned a lot. I learned how my sound fits into the group and it was a lot of fun. Because we were in an ensemble, I feel like I learned and listened more."
—2013 Student

Rob Thorsen was a great teacher because he genuinely cared about teaching practical materials. Sight reading the bass line to Oleo at 270 bpm was just one example of how Thorsen productively challenged us. I knew my instrument better after his master class and my playing definitely improved overall.
—2013 Student

"I had both Charles McPherson and Ben Schachter. Both told me that I have good tone and that I need to keep air flowing within my instrument at all times. To get the full sound and tone out of my horn, I need to hear it in my head, ears, and fingers. Mr. McPherson really helped me out in my improvisation. I'll admit that I wasn't the best jazzer, but through the sax masterclasses with him, I know for a fact that I got better."
—2013 Student

"Thank you for such a well-planned week. I was literally dreaming jazz music every night because I was so soaked in the genre from every possible angle. Good immersion!"
—Piano student, 2011

“The Ensemble helped my ear training. I learned about working in group, I shaped my soloing, I learned to answer back to the music that others made. To react....to see my score from a more general point of view, to enjoy while I play and forget about my possible mistakes, stopping worrying about the perfection of what I play.....a lot of things!!!!!!”

—High school trumpet student, 2010

“Anthony Davis’ Composing and Arranging class was lots of fun and got me to think about writing music in a completely new way – I highly recommend him as an instructor.”

—College piano student, 2010

“The Hofmann/Wofford Jazz Topics class helped me think about the development of solos, whether I was playing the solo or playing time behind the solos, and how I could really drive and support the soloist to create a developmental, interesting solo.”

—Adult drum student, 2010

“Charles McPherson has got to be one of the coolest musicians I've ever had the pleasure of working with. He helped me break down walls of things I thought I wouldn't be able to play.”

—Middle School saxophone student, 2010

“At first I was upset I was in a free jazz Ensemble, but by Wednesday I really liked it. The music was challenging but we were able to pull it off, it was very fun, and I am now more interested in free jazz.”

—High School guitar student, 2010

In the Performance Ensemble I learned more about playing as a group. I think that all of us grew to a higher level of playing in this group.
—High school tenor sax student, 2009

It was amazing to work with Geoffrey Keezer. He is such a cool guy and it was so fun to play with him. He brought a lot of really cool music for us to play that was modern, but not completely out there. I learned so much about playing in an ensemble setting from going to rehearsals.

Going to the Jazz Topics lectures were interesting because you got to choose which one you wanted to go to. I especially enjoyed Geoffrey Keezer's lecture on surviving as a jazz musician because it really applied to us and gave us a good sense of what life is like if we pursue music.

The faculty concerts were AMAZING!!!!!! I was always so impressed with the talent and it was really cool how each night there was a different area of jazz.
—Junior high school bass student, 2009

The Hosted Jam Sessions were all very great experiences, and were held together nicely by the faculty members. Gilbert Castellanos and Jason Robinson did a FANTASTIC job with these. This is a wonderful program that I intend to attend as long as I can. Wonderful job!
—Junior high school bass student, 2009

[The] faculty concerts [were] OUTSTANDING, [with an] excellent variety of jazz styles and musicians. [The] hosted jam sessions [were a] really good opportunity to practice concepts from the classes [and] play with a variety of musicians. [The Masterclasses were] VERY informative, learned lots of new info/techniques, gave me a good idea of what to work on to improve.
—High school tenor sax student, 2009

Gilbert Castellanos was incredible. Inspiring, energetic, creative. Perfect mix of direction and freedom. I’d come back just to study with him.
—Adult guitar student, 2009

Amazing! Rick Helzer redefined my thoughts about jazz theory and how music should sound. I thought I had a good knowledge of jazz theory before the class, now I realize I've only scratched the surface.
—Adult tenor sax student, 2009

What a great ensemble (with Gilbert Castellanos). I am more daring in my playing now, much more likely to go for the color notes nuances rather than a traditional harmonic approach.
—Adult tenor sax student, 2008

Charles McPherson made us all revisit the basics and learn an entirely new way of practicing scales and chords.
—Adult tenor sax student, 2008

The Faculty Concerts blew me away. After we were exposed to "new age" jazz by Lisle Ellis, it opened a whole new world for me. I've been to Jamey Aebersold's camp twice and the ideas explored in the faculty concerts are something that Jamey's camp doesn't even acknowledge.
—Adult tenor sax student, 2008

Great camp. I loved the idea that they were not trying to make us into Charlie Parker clones and were not trying to get us to memorize rules or musical phrases. The UCSD faculty really seemed to try to open doors for us and just point to where we could go.
—Adult tenor sax student, 2008

The camp was amazing. The best musical camp I have ever attended. Thank you so much for letting me in. I had a blast. I hope to come back next year.
—Junior high school trombone student, 2008

"The camp really was quite an experience for me—a full week just immersed in jazz. It was intense but fun. I definitely gained a lot of insight into jazz that I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else."
—High school piano student, 2006

"If felt I had been on a year's vacation in one week. I found that being one of the 'older' students didn't matter in the field of music… As we all played our instruments age went the door and I felt I had finally come home to a planet where the language I needed to hear was spoken. People of all ages were in community for the purpose of learning, each wanted to get better and each level was honored and respected. It was probably one of the most profound experiences I have had in the last ten years. Thank you so much. Sign me up again!"
—Adult piano student, 2006

"My son raved about the camp. You have a wonderful thing going on there. Great job!! Definitely worth the money and way better than the Stanford Jazz Camp. Thanks!"
—Mother, high school saxophonist, 2006

"Thanks for a great week at Jazz Camp. Your professionalism, structure, artistry, and incredible faculty made it an outstanding event. I would completely recommend it to my high school students, private college-age students, and adults."
—High school music teacher, Orange County, 2006

"Lisle Ellis' ensemble was great, nothing short of fascinating. He has inspired me to go further with my music."
—Adult piano student, 2005

"Working with David Borgo, I learned about being able to play fairly with other musicians… I thoroughly enjoyed the faculty concerts and couldn't wait to get back from dinner to see these guys play… Great camp, great time. I would definitely attend again."
—High school piano student, 2005

"I loved living in a dorm because I got a taste of what college will be like… I had a great time in my master classes. I really felt like the instructors spent time with each person. I really got individual teaching…"
—High school piano student, 2005

"The ensemble workshop was the highlight of my experience at the camp. I totally enjoyed the ensemble and working with Charles McPherson, and his expertise in bringing the group together. It was great playing with musicians of about my level. I learned about dynamics and what the whole procedure is to really work with a group and get it sounding right."
—Adult bass student, 2006

I found this old email so I could send a "thank you" to you for organizing the jazz camp this year. I went to the concert last night and was so impressed with what these kids did after just five days together! Alex had a wonderful time at the camp. He came home each night full of stories and was so impressed with the quality of the guest teachers who were involved and how friendly and helpful they were to the students. Certainly, they were great role models for those kids who are thinking about music as a career…like Alex. Thanks for putting it together!
—Mother of 17 year-old bass student, 2003

It is hard to believe Jazz Camp is now a memory for me, but this experience will accompany me through my musical future. I learned so many new ideas, techniques and ways to express myself. This was a real broadening of my musical horizons. I felt the faculty was excellent, each contributing his own expertise. There was an openness and a collegiate feeling that brought all the ensembles together. Thanks for letting us jam so late into the evening, that was such a highlight for me. I will hope to hear news about next summer's camp. When plans are finalized, perhaps you could keep me on an active email list. I am very interested in returning! Again, please extend my thanks to the faculty who made this experience so fruitful for all involved. It was the time of my life!
—16 year-old drum student, 2003

I wish to thank you for giving my son the opportunity to participate in Jazzcamp. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience! The teachers and other students were inspiring. I hope that Jazzcamp continues, as it is a really significant experience and fills a void for the young musicians in the San Diego area.
—Mother of 19 year-old piano student, 2003

I really do miss the camp and the opportunity to participate with such great mentor teachers and fellow students. It is such a unique time in my life and I will really put to use all that I learned. I have already spread the word about the camp to other interested musicians. I know that next summer will prove to be another great session.
—15 year-old drum student, 2003