Young Women's Jazz Workshops Conservatorium Open Academy

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Young Women's Jazz Workshops


Jazz is about communication, expression, and speaking freely through your instrument. The widespread genre is one that’s evolved more than most because new changes are supported and encouraged rather than ridiculed.

ARIA Award nominee, alumni of the course and internationally renowned pianist Zela Margossian attended the course, and when interviewed by the Sydney Morning Herald said "I knew I wasn't a jazz pianist, but I did my best ... I loved it so much, especially seeing women mentors being so giving and encouraging" (REF). Zela Margossian isn’t the only alumni who now leads acclaimed projects around Australia. Emma Stephenson (Freedman Jazz Fellow), Ellen Kirkwood (Freedman Finalist & Art Music Award Nominee), Jodie Michael (Jann Rutherford Memorial Award) and countless others who have continued their education at world leading jazz institutions such as; ULCA, Berklee, Julliard and Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

Developed in partnership with Dr. Sandy Evans OAM in 2002, the course was created the address the fact that “women represent only one-fifth of songwriters and composers registered with APRA, despite making up 45 per cent of qualified musicians and half of those studying music” (Page 92 REF). The award-winning Young Women’s Jazz Workshops have since played a transformative role for countless musicians aged 12 and up around Australia. The eight-week program accommodates players of all skill levels, from beginner to advanced, regardless of their prior knowledge of jazz, and has been crafted to inspire young instrumentalists to play jazz and pursue a future in music. usic.

DEVELOP the skills and confidence of young women in jazz and improvised instrumental music.
BROADEN knowledge of jazz and improvised music.
INCREASE awareness of career options in jazz and related areas.
ENCOURAGE students to understand audition processes and apply for tertiary jazz courses.
NURTURE and foster friendships, ensembles, and support networks among female jazz musicians.

Who is Eligible?

The course accommodates all levels of jazz experience. If you can read music and play your instrument, you are eligible to apply. Students are divided into different levels based on their instrumental ability and knowledge.

We welcome all students with no knowledge of blues scales or improvisation, as the course serves as a fun entryway into the wonderful world of jazz. For the more advanced student, the course serves as excellent training preparatory to auditioning for a tertiary jazz program. Active musicians have used the course to become confident soloing and improvising in a supportive and fun learning environment.

These workshops provide a fun and supportive environment for young women wanting to develop confidence improvising. They are especially helpful for those preparing to enter jazz at a tertiary level. Our graduates have gone on to win the prestigious Freedman Jazz Fellowship and perform at the Sydney International Women’s Jazz Festival.

The Basics of Auditioning

Bring a piece of your choice that you feel confident playing for us. It can be any genre, and should demonstrate your ability.

We’ll have a chat with you to find out how much basic theory you know (e.g. note names, major/minor)

We’ll ask you to play some scales. Knowledge of some major and minor scales and the blues scale is very important. If you don’t know any of these yet you will be asked to learn some during the course, so it’s a good idea to get started!

Audition Day: Saturday 25 June
Your audition allocates you into the appropriate ensemble for your age and skill level.
If you can’t attend on this day, please email

Program: Saturdays 10am-1pm, 23 July – 17 September
Venue: Sydney Conservatorium of Music (NSW)
Final Concert: Tuesday 20 September
Enquiries: or 02 9036 6292

Held in partnership with the Open Academy at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music