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June 17th - June 27th, 2020

This is a dream experience for guitarists of any age; Traveling to Kyoto, Japan, the most beautiful city in the world, and having the chance to play in many settings- two guitar duo, guitar-bass duo, guitar trio, with piano, organ trio, and with vocalists- getting a firm grip on jazz theory and harmony, vastly expanding your repertoire and making major strides toward developing your own unique improvisational voice.

The experience includes the following;

  • 7 days of intensive 3 hour workshops, private accommodations-breakfast included- with western style bed and private bath located a short and wonderful walk from the site where the workshops take place.
  • 2 nights in Japanese jazz clubs hearing some of the best musicians Japan has to offer.
  • 5 dinners, some of which will include some of the same Japanese musicians we'll hear live in the clubs for discussion, conversation, and cultural exchange.
  • 2 guided tours with the best tour guides in Kyoto to experience the amazing temples, gardens and neighborhoods of Kyoto!

    You will be met upon your arrival and helped in finding your way to your hotel as well as to the opening night dinner.


    Improvisation: Developing Your Own Voice

    Jazz is a non-verbal means of expression by which we can communicate feelings and emotions that are beyond the scope of words. What makes a great solo? How do we develop our own voice, our own personal and unique way of playing and expressing ourselves?

    Scales, Variations, Intervals, Developing Control and Mastery

    How can we develop the ideas we have in our solos? How can we develop the mastery to take our ideas where we want? How can we develop our ideas so as to "tell a story" in our solos? How can we play new things in our solos, things we've never played before, and go places we've never gone before?

    Jazz Harmony and Repertoire- Standards, Standards and more Standards

    The strongest melody that we can find over any given set of chords is the original melody of the song. We'll play tunes, standards as well as some lesser known material and explore the idea of how to play those melodies both expressively and in our own way. Students will receive books of tunes by such jazz composers as Benny Golson, Bud Powell, Dexter Gordon, Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Clark, Wes Montgomery as well as books of Latin tunes, ballads, blues, contrafacts, I Got Rhythm and it's many variations- and much more.

    The Art of the Ballad

    Ballads, ballads and more ballads. How to be expressive at a slow tempo.

    Blues: The Common Ground

    The blues is a simple 12 bar structure, but it's variations are seemingly endless. Blues is a common link between so many forms of music and underlies everything we play. We'll play the blues, explore some of it's many forms, and take a look at approaches to blues taken in the compositions of Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and others.

    Chords- Comping- Reharmonization

    New chord forms, reharmonization, and approaches to comping when playing with instrumentalists, vocalists, and within the context of the rhythm section. We'll also take a close look at tritone forms which make your chord melodies sing.

    Special Guests

    We will have special guests over the course of the 10 days and a chance to discuss the way they approach their music, what inspired them to play jazz, what it's like to play on the jazz scene in Japan, and many other topics which will inevitably, no doubt, end up going in a number of different and unforseen directions.