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Jazz Up

  Jazz Up is a nonprofit 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.


  Every summer, our world-class faculty devises 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 needed a "step up" to earn scholarships, succeed in the collegiate world, and feel confident improvising. 


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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

  • American history through a Jazz timeline

  • 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 are located in the beautiful suburbs of Chicago in Carpentersville, IL, in a home performance space and recording studio setting that seats up to 60 people, affectionately called "The Jazz Place."  We hope to see you this summer! 

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