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Welcome to Jazz Up!

Preparing the next generation in Jazz for the collegiate and professional world. 

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Registration for 2024 is still open!  
Jazz Up! Summer Jazz Combo Camp

June 17-22, 2024
Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL


2024 Special Guest Michael Dease! 

  • Multi Grammy-Award winning trombonist

  • "Trombonist of the Year", Downbeat Magazine

  • Professor of Jazz, Michigan State University

Courses are tailored by level and will include: 

  • Combo rehearsals

  • Rhythm class and advanced rhythmic concepts

  • Jazz Improvisation

  • Jazz Harmony

  • Ear Training

  • Faculty Concerts and Masterclasses 

  • Career discussions and direction

  • Recording techniques and using Digital Audio Workstations

  • Daily guided jam sessions

  • The week culminates in a final concert

2024 All-Star Faculty: 

  • Sharel Cassity, saxophone/ woodwinds

  • Marques Carroll, trumpet

  • Raphael Crawford, trombone

  • Richard D Johnson, piano

  • Larry Brown, guitar

  • Clark Sommers, bass

  • Alejandro Salazar, drums

Video Soundtrack features the Coltrane Ensemble: 

Matthew Hufford, trumpet

Michael Shebar, alto saxophone

Carlton Courtois, trombone

Luke Vodopic, piano

Christian Freehill, bass

Matthew Swolsky, drums

Recorded June 2023 at the Jazz Up! final student concert


Learn More About
Jazz Up

  Jazz Up is a nonprofit 501-c3 organization that offers jazz students a platform to study improvisation, gain experience playing in small combo settings, and obtain insight into navigating collegiate and professional worlds.

Jazz Up's philosophy is to use material the students already know to develop improvisation skills further and realize their creative potential, with a focus on relationship-building, community, and communication techniques.


  Each summer, our world-class faculty teaches a wide range of activities, masterclasses, lessons, rehearsals, career planning sessions, public concerts, recording sessions, and industry discussions for students at all levels. Our activities and offerings are fun, challenging, and accepting of everyone’s individual abilities. Above all, we are a Jazz Day Camp dedicated to promoting the importance of community, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to grow and discover their voice in a positive, nurturing environment. 

 Program Director Sharel Cassity, a nationally renowned jazz artist, founded Jazz Up in 2021 after observing that most high school jazz programs with large jazz ensembles--lack focus on improvisation, jazz theory, blues, language, and rhythm. Since these are the most important skills an aspiring jazz artist can have, students gain a "step up" to earn scholarships, succeed in the collegiate world, and feel confident improvising. 


Our students arrive eager for opportunities to workshop their ideas, develop their craft, work directly with top artists and educators of Chicago, and connect with other like-minded students. In addition, students will simultaneously sharpen critical life skills that traverse any field, such as: 

  • Communication skills

  • Information processing

  • Working with others/ collaboration

  • Leadership skills

  • Critical thinking skills

  • Memory building techniques

  • Self-confidence

  • Take a deeper dive into American history through Jazz

  • Community building ethos

  • Creativity 

  • Operating DAW systems and recording techniques

  • Career planning strategies


Jazz Up gives students a "step up" so they can be fully prepared to embark on a future in music while having a safe space to develop their unique identity and voice.


 We hope to see you this summer! 

Rehearsals and Classes

Programs at Jazz Up!

Endless Activities 

Rehearsals and Classes

Combo rehearsals at Jazz Up encourage campers to learn repertoire and develop leadership, communication, teamwork, and accountability skills; all while growing their innate creativity.  Our academic courses in jazz theory, harmony, ear training, rhythm, and percussion help students learn to embrace new challenges and stretch their musical proficienty.  Our staff ensures campers enjoy every moment and keeps them engaged at our friendly Jazz Summer Camp. 

           Private Lessons 

Each Jazz Up student is guaranteed at least one private lesson with the instructor on their instrument. With low student-to-teacher ratios, students receive a large amount of direct instruction, encouragement, and feedback from our faculty members daily throughout the camp.  

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Each camp week will contain multiple masterclasses by nationally renowned artists and Jazz educators. Whether a visit from a renowned artist from Chicago, L.A., or New York or a Facetime call to nearly any living musician in jazz, students will come home with new inspiration from successful musicians in the industry. 

Faculty Concerts

The faculty will give a short concert each day for all students, with a Q&A after each tune.  Students are encouraged to ask questions as we break down what was happening from each instrument's perspective through the song. 

Recordings and Performances

 Each camp will culminate with a live performance open to the community and a recording session. Students will be offered a class on DAWs, mics, acoustic sciences, and digital music making. 

Jam Sessions

 During the last hour of each day, students will have the opportunity to participate in or observe student-led, faculty-guided jam sessions. These sessions are where students sharpen their skills and put new information into practice while creating a sense of community. Students of all levels will have the opportunity to participate. 

Giordano's Sponsored
Pizza Lunch! 


Thank you, Giordano's! 


Apply Here

Dates: June 17-22, 2024

Time: 10 am-5 pm daily

Fee: $300 

Place: Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL

Deposit: $50

Final Concert: Sat., June 22nd, 12:30 pm

Application Deadline: May 25th, 2024

*Early bird rate until 4/20; regular rate until 5/15

Placement Recording:

Please submit for ensemble placement; all applicants are guaranteed admission regardless of level.  Recordings ARE NOT due at the time of registration. 

Prepare two of the following:

1. A medium or up-tempo swing standard with melody and two choruses of solo

* Drummers play time and comp for one chorus, then take 2 choruses of solo

2. A blues of your choice

3. A funk, Latin, or straight 8th piece of your choice

Not improvising yet?  No worries! Choose from the selections below: 

4. An etude, classical piece,  or selection from your band book

5.  Scales of your choice  or a technical exercise

Please record your selections and create a link to Soundcloud, Dropbox, Google Drive, a private YouTube video, or another online storage platform. Then submit them here with a completed form or email to

Apply today!

Upload File

This form no longer accepts submissions after May 25, 2024. Please contact for information about enrollment availability.


Contact Us


Jazz Up Institute

c/o Sharel Cassity- Johnson

P.O. Box 131

Gilberts, IL 60136



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