Young Women’s Jazz Workshops first ever Canberra chapter!

Dear music lover,

Do you know a female, high school aged, student who is into Jazz or might like to try it for the first time??

Hi! I’m a passionate musician and music educator, and have just moved back to Canberra after living in Sydney for the past ten years. I want to introduce to you, a very exciting new opportunity for female music students in Canberra, and hoping you might read the following letter and encourage girls to apply and audition.

Also please feel free to write back with questions or suggestions!

Kind Regards


 Introducing The Young Women’s Jazz Workshops Canberra

SIMA YWJ DL_2_1 (1)SIMA YWJ DL_2_1 (1)As you may know, Sydney has a fantastic community arts organisation called SIMA (Sydney Improvised Music Association) which has been running over twenty years and predominantly focuses on the presentation and promotion of Jazz music. Sydney also is the home of one of Australia’s most respected and loved Jazz musicians; Saxophonist Sandy Evans. She is an incredible player, and composer and works regularly nationally and internationally with world class groups (Ten Part Invention/Australian Art Orchestra/The catholics/Sandy Evan’s Trio to name a few) as well as having been the recipient of The Churchill Fellowship and The Order of Australia Medal.

In 2002, Sandy was feeling frustrated by the underrepresentation of women in the Australian improvised music scene (particularly Jazz), and decided in conjunction with SIMA, to trial running a workshop series to directly encourage young women to develop skills and confidence in improvised music. This pioneering program has had a direct impact on the number of women studying jazz at conservatoria across the country, and now a direct impact on the number of women performing professionally. I myself have taught at these workshops many times, and have delighted in seeing students that came in shy and unsure, end up making firm friends, pursuing Jazz at a Conservatorium, starting all girl big bands, playing at Sydney Festival, moving to Berlin, performing experimental music in respected clubs, performing with Hip Hop Acts supporting, Paul Kelly or signing to Universal to release cool original music.

The workshops have now expanded to be presented at WAAPA in Perth, and this year, SIMA has asked me to help them present the workshops in Canberra for the very first time.

I grew up in Canberra, and studied Jazz at the ANU, and so it makes me very excited to bring home this opportunity for girls perhaps in the same boat as I was all those years ago, wanting to expand my skills as a soloist.


The successful applicants are placed into an ensemble of similar skill set and age, and attend a series of weekly workshops, every Saturday, for 8 weeks, this year led by myself (and possibly other tutors should we gain enough interest). We will work towards a concert at The Street Theatre, and along the way explore concepts and techniques important to playing improvised music and jazz, and most importantly having fun and building confidence on our instruments.


A particular passion of mine is educating audiences of the broad nature of Jazz music. Many people have limited understanding of the diversity in the Jazz genre. A career that starts with Jazz is about developing confidence on your instrument, the ability to adapt and improvise, and a love for the history of the music that started last century in America. These days you can love Duke Ellington (or Mary Lou Williams) and Kendrick Lamar (or Santigold), and I try to enthuse my students with this same passion by using diverse repertoire in my teaching.


If you think you know a girl who might be interested, please write back to me and we can discuss how to proceed.


I’ve copied below the audition requirements, but if the student has no experience previously in learning jazz, and don’t know how to go about preparing for the audition, I am happy to support them by sending / suggesting some materials for them to work on. We want to encourage all girls to have the opportunity to try improvisation and jazz, and a student who is predominantly learning classical music or contemporary pop can still be a good candidate for the course. I am here to support the student’s tutors too!

As this is a pilot course, we may only be able to run one ensemble. Depending on who applies, this could mean we run at a more beginner or more advanced level. The best thing is for the girls to apply as soon as they are interested, and for tutors to let me know if they are concerned whether their student is ready. I’d rather have the student apply, even if they are very beginner, as this will feed into planning for 2017.


Finally, I’d like to mention that although this is being programmed by a Sydney organisation, my aim is to foster partnerships with the many wonderful Canberran music associations, and contribute to strengthening the vibrant music scene that already exists here. Australia is a Big, little country, and for artists to survive it is essential to work together across the states.




Fee:  $405 + GST includes 8, 3 hour workshops and concert.

A small number of subsidies are offered for families who are experiencing financial hardship at the discretion of the course Director


Audition requirements:* 1. Play a blues head and improvise over the form. 2. Play a piece of your own choice that demonstrates what you are best at. 3. Sight reading of music and chord changes. 4. Major scale in several keys. 5. Drummers only: Demonstrate swing, bossa nova, rock and jazz waltz feels



Dates for 2016 :


Applications Close:

Friday June 10th.

Auditions: Saturday June 25th.


Saturdays (10am – 1pm).

July 23rd, 30th, August 6th, 20th, 27th, September 3rd, 10th and 17th. Concert: Sunday 18th September at the Street Theatre


Application forms are available here:







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