2023 Summer Jazz Combo Camps

Explore jazz improvisation in a supportive and fun environment 

  June 12-16 - 9am - 3:30pm - FULL
Traditional Swing/Big Band Era

June 26-30 - 9am - 3:30pm - LIMITED SPACE
Bebop/Cool Jazz

July 10-14 - 9am - 3:30pm - LIMITED SPACE
Contemporary/Groove Jazz

July 17-21 - 9am - 3:30pm - LIMITED SPACE
Latin/Afro-Cuban Jazz with Steel Drums


The jazz combo camps provide a rich musical learning environment, peer-to-peer engagement and mentoring by top jazz musicians.

Camps will take place from 9am - 3:30pm with a performance on the final day of camp (extended day is available).The weekly themes add variety to each camp session and feature different guest musicians who will conduct masterclasses, perfect for those interested in signing up for multiple weeks. 

The camps are designed for students who can read music in grades 7-12  and are interested in learning improvisational skills by playing in a jazz combo with similarly skilled peers. The camp consists of daily two-hour combo sessions, basic jazz theory classes, and one concert. Additionally, each student receives one 45-minute private or small-group (sectional) instructional session focused on their instrument.

The standard jazz combo consists of piano, bass, guitar, drums and one or two “horns” (sax, trumpet, trombone, etc.) but there are no restrictions on what instruments may participate. Camp participants can play saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, flute, vibes, guitar, bass, piano, voice, and drums.  

The Jazz Girls Combo is a program within the camp to provide a supportive and fun musical environment for girls interested in learning more about jazz. 

Guest Instructors:

Week 1:

Emilio Terranova - Director of Jazz Ensembles, Coastal Carolina University

Marissa Terranova - Adjunct instructor of trumpet, Coastal Carolina University


Week 2: 

Robert Lewis - Director of Jazz Studies, College of Charleston

Matthew White - Director of Jazz Studies, University of South Carolina

Emilio Terranova - Director of Jazz Ensembles, Coastal Carolina University

Marissa Terranova - Adjunct instructor of trumpet, Coastal Carolina University


Week 3:

Colleen Clark - Assistant professor of Jazz Studies, University of South Carolina

Demetrius Doctor - Pianist, leader of the contemporary jazz group “Momentum”


Week 4:

Alva Anderson - Vocalist, Board Chair, Charleston Jazz

Dan Moretti - Professor of Jazz Studies, Berklee College of Music

Gino Castillo - Afro-Cuban percussionist and bandleader

$230 per week. Early drop off at 7:30am and after care until 5:30pm is available for an additional $25 per week. 
10% discount for current Charleston Jazz Academy students   
$100 due upon registration. Balance due June 1 . Scholarships are available. Please contact jan@charlestonjazz.com for more information. 

Charleston Jazz Academy 

3005 West Montague Avenue, Suite 200 

North Charleston, SC 29418

Students will register for camp at their current ability level.  

Novice Level
Our combos for novice are best for players who…

  • Know all the notes on their instrument
  • Are new to improvising or have a bit of experience playing in school band or a workshop like this
  • Have some or no training in jazz music theory
  • Are just beginning to learn about how to improvise over a song
  • Pianists and guitarists should know their notes and be familiar with some chords
  • Drummers should be able to keep steady time and have some experience playing a drum set
  • Vocalists should be able to sing an octave range, sing on pitch and to read notes


Intermediate Level
Our combos for intermediate players are best for anyone who…

  • Has played in school jazz bands
  • Can improvise over the blues with the blues scale
  • Is working on “playing the changes”—hitting chord tones and using the correct scale for each chord while improvising
  • Has developed at least a beginning understanding of jazz music theory and chord progressions like the ii-V-I


Advanced Level

Advanced players…

  • Have multiple years of experience improvising (have taken multiple solos) over tunes in jazz band or while playing in jazz combos
  • Are comfortable improvising over ii-V-I’s and other chord progressions in multiple keys
  • Can play swing, Latin, and jazz waltz tunes with a good sense of time and feel

*Note: if a specific combo level does not fill, we will place a student in his/her next closest level.

Sectional or Individual Session

Date and Time to be scheduled with combo instructor after the camp begins.

Performance: A performance will be held on the last day (Friday afternoons) of the camp. 

This project is funded in part by the South Carolina Arts Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, and the S.C. Department of Education, which received funding from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds.