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The Youth Jazz Ensemble course introduces students to the joy of playing and improvising in the jazz idiom, helping them develop the skill set required to perform this challenging and rewarding music. Meeting weekly to rehearse, each ensemble section is directed by an experienced CMS coach, a professional jazz musician who draws upon their onstage experience to help each ensemble reach their full performance potential.

These ensembles are open to all students aged 12 to 18. No prior jazz or improvisation experience is required. The placement process for the course ensures each student is assigned an ensemble that is appropriate for their current musical experience level and age, ensuring the Youth Jazz Ensemble course provides new challenges each year.

The Community Music School Youth Jazz Ensemble course has been at the forefront of jazz education in Canada for over 30 years. Immersing students in the techniques, concepts and repertoire of jazz, this unique course is designed to help students find their individual voices as improvisors while working with others towards the common goal of performance.

Jazz is an art form rooted in the Black American musical tradition that emphasizes artistry and expression through improvisation, the act of spontaneous musical composition. The history of jazz is filled with landmark artistic innovations that changed the course of modern music, forming a rich and ever-expanding musical language that continues to influence and innovate today.


“Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.”
- Art Blakey


“Jazz is democracy in music.”
- Miles Davis