479-575-6491 cms@uark.edu


2019 Youth Jazz Camp

By attending Youth Jazz Camp, you will experience a fun group dynamic where you can feel free to express yourself through improvisation and composition. The instructors teach you how to learn songs, assimilate styles, and improvise so that you have tools to improve your musicianship after the camp is done. Working in large and small groups throughout the week, you experience democratic music-making and work on interpersonal skills in a professional environment.  Learning about the history of jazz and creative music gives you a greater context to appreciate this American-born global art form. Students from ages 11 – 18 will play together in a large ensemble as well as in small groups organized by age and ability.

You will learn:

  • to play a variety of songs by ear, improvise, and compose your own songs as a group
  • improve your sense of time and meter
  • improve your listening skills by singing all parts of the songs (bass line, melody, harmony, improvisation) and connecting the singing to your instruments
  • how to transcribe classic jazz melodies and solos by ear
  • basic audio recording techniques and how to listen to recordings to improve playing
  • strategies for practicing performance, learning songs, style, improvisation, transcription, and composition

The 2019 camp has expanded its faculty to include internationally acclaimed professional jazz musician/educators in addition to camp director/drummer Chris Teal. Read more about them below.

Eligibility: Open to any music students entering grades 7-12 with at least 1 year of instruction on their instrument/voice.

No audition or previous jazz experience required.

Dates: June 9 – 14, 2019
Times: See sample schedule below
Location: Music Building, U of A Campus     Click here for maps and directions.
Fees: $370 by May 1 / $400 after May 1: instruction, materials, daily lunches and dinners

$235: lodging package (for those staying overnight at dorm): 5  nights lodging, breakfasts

Registration: Online registration will open by January 31.
Cancellation/Refund Policy: By May 15: refund less $100 administrative fee

May 15 – May 31: refund less $150 administrative fee

After May 31: no refunds available

For More Information

Registration:      David Owens, Operations Coordinator – 479-575-4702 – cms@uark.edu

Curriculum:         Chris Teal, Camp Director – uofacmsjazz@gmail.com


The mission of the Community Music School is to provide enriching programs to all. In collaboration with the Institute for Creative Music (www.ifcmusic.org), a limited number of need-based scholarships are available for the 2019 Youth Jazz Camp. To apply for a scholarship email Chris Teal at chris@ifcmusic.org with a statement of financial need.  If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship or making a tax-exempt donation to the program please email Chris Teal at chris@ifcmusic.org. The Institute for Creative Music is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Scholarship inquiries must be submitted by midnight on April  19, 2019. Applications will be reviewed and notifications sent to applicants the week of April 22.


Tentative Schedule

Sunday, June 09
5:00 – 6:00pm Camp check-in at dormitory (all campers)
6:30pm                Dinner
7:30pm                Camp orientation and evening activity

Monday – Thursday, June 10 – 13
7:30 – 8:30am     Breakfast (for dorm campers)
8:30am – noon    Song learning, listening lab, performance workshops, demos
Noon – 1:00pm    Lunch at dormitory (all campers)
1:00 – 4:00pm      Improvisation class, composition class, playing together
4:00 – 5:00pm      Free time (all campers)
5:00 – 6:00pm      Dinner at dormitory (all campers)
6:30 – 9:30pm      Evening activities (all campers)

Friday, June 14
7:30 – 8:30am     Breakfast (for dorm campers)
8:30am – noon    Playing together
Noon – 1:00pm    Lunch at dormitory (all campers)
1:00 – 2:30pm      Concert set-up, sound check
2:30pm                   Concert hall opens for seating
3:00pm                    Final concert
4:00pm                   Camp Ends


Chris Teal, camp director, drum set:

 Chris Teal teaches drum set and popular music at the University of Arkansas and the Jazz Workshops for the U of A Community Music School. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music and Whitworth University, Teal is the co-Director of the Institute for Creative Music. Before relocating to Fayetteville, where he plays with the U of A Faculty Jazz Quintet, the Jake Hertzog Trio, the Matt Smith Group, and TheatreSquared, he was one of the most in-demand drummers in western New York, performing with the IfCM Collective, Dave Rivello Ensemble, the Mighty High and Dry, John Nyerges Trio, and Silver Arrow Band. Chris has released three albums with his band Quintopus on ears&eyes Records (Voyage to Ornoc, April Showers, and Prehistoric Beach) and three albums with the Institute for Creative Music Collective on Outside in Music Records (Volume 1, A Tribute to Prince, and A Tribute to Bjork.)

In addition to his active career as a performer, Teal strives to build new opportunities for students to experience the arts by teaching improvisation, aural learning, and composition through the Institute for Creative Music.  The IfCM recently launched “Creative Jazz Fundamentals,” an online school for learning jazz. Along with other Teaching Artists from the Institute for Creative Music, Teal has presented workshops and performances at schools throughout the United States and spoken at the 2017 NYU Impact Conference and 2015 TEDxFlourCity conference.

Nick Finzer, trombone:

Nick Finzer is one of the most dynamic musicians of the millennial generation. An award-winning composer, arranger, and trombonist, Finzer is bringing the joy and power of Jazz to both traditional fans and the most modern 21st century audiences. He’s on a mission to be a passionate voice defining the sound of Jazz in this age while also bringing street cred to the trombone with a bold, tight sound.

Born into the musical world (mom Sherry Finzer is an international flutist), Finzer developed a fascination for the music of Duke Ellington and found himself, in high school, performing at the annual Essentially Ellington competition at Jazz at Lincoln Center. It was then that he decided to pursue a life in music himself. His budding talent was recognized by Wycliffe Gordon who began a lifelong mentorship by writing four pieces for the young Finzer while he attended the Eastman School of Music. Nick went on to earn his master’s degree at Juilliard’s prestigious jazz program, where he was mentored by the trombone legend Steve Turre.

In January of 2013 Nick released his recording debut as a bandleader and composer with “Exposition” (Outside In Music). Two tracks appearing on the album garnered Finzer a pair of accolades: The prestigious American Society of Composers and Performers (ASCAP)’s Herb Alpert Award for young composers (2013 & 2015). In 2014, Nick composed a new album-length work, “The Chase.” Nick’s sophomore album debuted in July of 2015 on Origin Records to rave reviews, a feature article in Downbeat Magazine, and peaked at #6 on the JazzWeek Charts.

When away from NYC, Finzer can be found touring the globe not only with his own projects, but as part of YouTube sensation, Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox. Finzer has joined the group on television, in viral videos with millions of views, and on tours across North America, Australia, New Zealand and Europe.

Finzer has performed at top Jazz clubs and concert halls with Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Lucas Pino’s No Net Nonet, Ryan Truesdell’s Gil Evans Project, Bob Stewart’s Double Quartet, Frank Wess, Terrell Stafford, Lewis Nash, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Walt Weiskopf, Slide Hampton, Frank Kimbrough, Carl Allen, Steve Turre and many more.

Katie Ernst, bass and voice:

Katie Ernst has been described by the Chicago Tribune as “a versatile young bassist who plays in far-flung bands and sings with uncommon delicacy and authenticity.” Her recent compositions are inspired by the poetry of American writer Dorothy Parker. Her complete Dorothy Parker project Little Words was released in 2015, and is currently available on BandCamp.

As both a bassist and vocalist, Katie has performed at the Chicago Jazz Festival, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, among others. The Chicago Reader identified her as “one of the brightest lights on Chicago’s jazz scene, and she isn’t close to hitting her creative ceiling.”

In 2013 and 2014, Katie was one of 24 young artist-composers selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program, an international jazz residency program at the Kennedy Center under the direction of pianist and MacArthur Fellow Jason Moran. In May 2014, she performed at the Chicago Symphony Center as part of Jason Moran’s Looks of a Lot premiere, which also featured Nasheet Waits, Tarus Mateen, Ken Vandermark, Theaster Gates, and Kenwood Academy Jazz Band.

Katie is an active bandleader and side-woman in Chicago. She recently established a duo project with clarinetist James Falzone called ‘Wayfaring.’ The duo was featured at the 2016 Hyde Park Jazz Festival, and their debut album I Move, You Move is currently available via the Allos Documents label. Katie composes and performs with the band TWIN TALK, alongside co-leaders Dustin Laurenzi (saxophone) and Andrew Green (drums). Twin Talk’s self-titled sophomore album is out now on ears&eyes Records. The band’s first album ‘Sightline’ was released in November 2013 to critical acclaim, and the group was featured at the 2014 Chicago Jazz Festival.

Katie holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media and a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. She coordinates the Jazz Links Student Council program for high school musicians at the Jazz Institute of Chicago, serves as Jazz Ensemble Director and Lecturer of Jazz Bass at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL and teaches at the Jazz I Summer Session at Birch Creek Music Performance Center in Egg Harbor, WI.