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Stanford Jazz Combos

2013 SJW Mentor-Fellows performing at Tresidder Memorial Union

All musicians with an interest in jazz are invited to audition for the jazz combo program. Jazz combo participants receive some coaching from professional jazz players and have access to Department of Music rehearsal space, equipment (drums, amps, etc.) and music (SJW sheet music and fakebooks). Some groups play gigs in the community (optional).

AUDITION INFO:  Jazz Combo Organizational Meeting

Interested in playing in a jazz combo? Stop by our organizational meeting to find out more!

  • DATE: Thursday, September 28, 2017
  • LOCATION: Braun Music Center room 105
  • TIME:
    • 6:00pm: Rhythm section players only (bassists, drummers, pianists, and guitarists)
    • 7:30pm: All other instrumentalists
    • BRING your instrument, but we'll provide amps as needed, piano, and drums (drummers should bring own sticks).
    • PREREQUISITES: Basic knowledge of an instrument (including all 12 major scales) and some improvisation experience.  For those who want to review the basics, the "Intro to Jazz Skills Combo (section 32)"  is offered in Fall Quarter only.
    • QUESTIONS?  See Informational section below or contact Jim Nadel directly.

Jazz Combo Information (MUSIC 171, section 34)

Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of an instrument (including all 12 major scales) and some improvisation experience.


Jazz Combos rehearse at a scheduled time at least once a week. Each combo member is expected to attend the combo performances at the end of the quarter, two combo masterclasses, two or more CoHo jam sessions, and also to submit a brief report by email at the end of quarter. (See “Other Jazz comb requirements” below.)

There are three ways you can join the jazz combo program: by auditioning, by presenting a pre-formed group, or through the entry-level Jazz Skills Combo offered each autumn quarter in conjunction with Music 20A (elementary jazz theory).

1. Auditions

All instrumentalists with an interest in jazz are invited. Depending on your schedule and level of jazz experience, you may fit into one of the beginning, intermediate or advanced groups being formed. Because of limited resources, not all students can be accepted. Preference will be given to music majors, those participating in other jazz courses, and students who are concurrently taking private lessons. If we cannot immediately place you in a group, a spot may open up or a new group may form in a subsequent quarter.

2. Pre-formed group

Students who want to play together regularly in a jazz group they have formed should designate one of the group as the administrative representative who should contact Jim Nadel on behalf of the group by email at Because of limited resources, not all groups can be accepted. You may be asked to modify your group, or include an additional player.

3. Jazz Skills combo  (Note: Section number for this group is Sec 32)

In the Fall quarter only there will be an entry-level weekly jazz skills combo. No prior jazz experience is necessary, though students must know all 12 major scales and have a basic knowledge of a musical instrument (which normally requires at least 18 months of study). Preference will be given to students who have taken or are enrolled in Music 20A.

The beginning jazz skills combo will meet on Tuesdays from noon to 1:00pm in Room 111, Braun Music Center. First meeting will be on Tuesday, October 3, 2017. Come join us! For info, contact Bob Murphy:


Other Jazz combo requirements:

1. Students must register for 1 unit or use Zero Unit Enrollment.

All participating students are now required to enroll for Music 171 sec 34 (or sec 32 for jazz skills). If you are unable to add units to your plan, please specify so on your audition information sheet or email Jim Nadel ( by the end of the first week of the quarter. A permission number will be emailed to you for enrollment. For more information about Zero Unit Enrollment, see

2. Attendance Counts

The grade you receive at the end of the quarter will largely be based on your attendance record, commitment and teamwork. Students who fully participate can expect to receive an A or Credit. Weekly participation is important; we can’t cancel rehearsal every time someone in the group has a midterm or paper due, so if you cannot commit to attending every week, please do not get involved.

3. Required attendance on performance dates

Combos perform at the end of each quarter and everyone is required to attend (unless prior arrangement have been made with Jim Nadel) and provide peer to peer feedback.

2017-18 performance dates are:

AUTUMN: Mondays, November 27 and December 4, 2017 (CoHo)

WINTER: Mondays, March 5 and 12, 2018 (CoHo)

SPRING: Friday, June 1, 2018—Tentative (Campbell Recital Hall, Braun Music Center), Monday, June 4, 2018 (CoHo)

4. Combo Masterclasses and CoHo jam sessionsCoHo jam sessions

Each combo is required to participate in two evening Combo Masterclasses (TBA). Additionally, each combo member must attend two Monday night CoHo jam sessions during the quarter to sit-in and/or listen. If you cannot do this, contact Jim Nadel ( and you can instead attend two high quality live jazz performances and write a brief report.

5. Final report

At the end of each quarter before receiving a grade, you will need to send a email to Jim Nadel ( very briefly summarizing what you accomplished in combo during the quarter. (Two or three sentences is fine).

6. Security and care for equipment

Students must respect Dept. of Music facilities and equipment and follow the appropriate procedures to ensure that equipment remains in good working order and is available for all those sharing it. 

  • Be careful that you or your group always receives advance permission if you want to borrow equipment outside of regularly scheduled rehearsals.
  • Never share your access privileges.
  • Never leave equipment unattended. Unfortunately there have been occasional thefts in the past of instruments left briefly unattended behind an unlocked door.
  • Make sure the door is locked when you leave the room.
  • The last group to rehearse must make sure that any equipment is returned to its secure storage area and that the classroom is restored to its normal set up. (See instructions posted inside of the classroom door.)

7. Equipment Access

It is advisable for the drummer or another member of your group to have access to the equipment lockers or practice module 13 in room 206. The equipment and space is available for jazz use only. To obtain access, contact Jim Nadel, who will send you information and alert the Dept. of Music office, which oversees and controls access.

Questions and Contacts:

Combo questions? Contact Jim Nadel:

Other Jazz Ensembles contacts:

Last modified on: 
Friday, September 1, 2017