2017 Program | View the 2017 Schedule | Read about the 2017 Clinicians

Category: Jazz Education

Yearly Jazz Music Clinics

The Reno Jazz Orchestra’s annual Jazz in the Schools event takes place each February in the Department of Music's prestigious Nightingale Concert Hall, University of Nevada, Reno. Each year, this all day event starts at 9am with jazz clinics presented throughout the day by nationally recognized guest clinicians from music departments and schools from around the country. There are also several clinics offered by members of the UNR Jazz Faculty. The clinicians critique each student group’s performance and then work with that group immediately after their performance to improve their jazz performance skills.  In years past there have been as many as twelve groups participating and performing on stage.

As part of the day's event, the Reno Jazz Orchestra performs on stage for a 45 minute concert at noon. A pizza lunch is provided at a nominal fee and afterwards the RJO performs a concert for the students and audience members featuring performances by UNR Jazz and Improvisational Music studies professors. Also offered is a jazz workshop for local educators.

In recent years, guest clinicians have included Craig Faniani from Sacramento, former director of the award winning Rio Americano High School Band Program in Sacramento, John Davis, director of the Jazz Program at University of Colorado, Boulder, George Stone of Cuesta College San Luis Obispo, and Robert Knop of Cal State San Bernardino. Although not all UNR Jazz Faculty members participate each year, members include jazz pianist Adam Benjamin, M.F.A.; guitarist Joey Berger; guitarist Ed Corey, lecturer in music composition and theory; trumpet player Larry Engstrom, D.M.A., Director of the School of the Arts; saxophonist Peter Epstein, Director of Jazz Studies and associate professor of world music, jazz and improvisational music; string bassist Hans Halt; percussionist Andrew Heglund, D.M.A., associate professor of music theory and percussion; percussionist, Cody Remaklus, M.F.A. Not all UNR Jazz instructors participate each year.

This event is free and open to the public with no cost to the participating students or schools.   The event helps to prepare the school groups to compete in the annual Reno Jazz Festival and introduces them to the UNR campus, the Department of Music, and the UNR jazz faculty.


"[The students] get the best of both worlds. They get to perform in front of a bunch of people, their friends, other schools, and then they get to have feedback on their performance by some world class professionals."


Andrew Heglund, D.A.
Associate Professor, Music Theory, Percussion
Department of Music
University of Nevada, Reno

RJO's Intensive Mentor Program

This program takes place at participating schools throughout northern Nevada. During the first week of the program, the guest clinicians assist the school's music or band director in selecting compositions for the band to play. Each day a different clinician representing his or her area of expertise (brass, woodwinds, percussion, rhythm, bass, guitar, piano) attends the school's band rehearsal. Each day, the school's music or band director records the rehearsal after which the visiting clinician is invited to discuss insights, issues and theoretical points for the band members to consider. The guest clinician also gives instructions and assignments with specific goals for the next week's rehearsal.

In the second and third weeks the clinicians come to two rehearsals in pairs.  During these sessions the clinicians test the assignments and refine the issues addressed during the first week.

To complete the program and to measure the results of the sessions, the school music or band director records the band's concluding performances. These recordings are compared to the initial recordings, thereby allowing for educational discussions amongst the instructors and the students. 

If you are a jazz music or jazz band director working in the Washoe County School District (WCSD) and are interested in the Reno Jazz Orchestra's Mentor Program, please contact the RJO Board of Directors.

Special Guest: Tom Scott

Tom Scott is a renowned composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist.  His 33 solo recordings have earned him 14 Grammy nominations and 3 Grammy awards.

Tom's career as a guest artist spans more than 500 recordings—by such diverse artists as Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Thelonius Monk, the Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Aerosmith.  His numerous contributions as a player and arranger include Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark and Miles of Aisles, Steely Dan's Aja and Gaucho; hit singles like Carole King's Jazzman, Paul McCartney's Listen to What the Man Said, Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy, Blondie's Rapture, Toto's Rosanna, Whitney Houston's Saving All My Love for You; and on movie soundtracks such as Taxi DriverThe JerkHeaven Can WaitSea of LoveWho Framed Roger Rabbit?Toy Story 2Monsters Inc. and The Good Dinosaur.

Tom's other career achievements include composing film scores, among them Conquest of the Planet of the ApesUptown Saturday NightStir CrazyHanky PankyThe Sure ThingSoul Man and Shakes the Clown.  His television composing and conducting credits include the themes for Family Ties and Starsky & Hutch, background scores for BarettaCannonBarnaby JonesStreets Of San Francisco and numerous T.V. Movies and Specials. He has served as Musical Director for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards (9 times), the People's Choice AwardsComic Relief, the Carol Burnett Show, the Pat Sajak Show, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Olivia Newton-John, and the GRP All-Star Big Band, among others--and has toured five continents as leader of his own group.    He is also active as a clinician throughout the U.S. and Canada, performing and teaching Master Classes in Woodwinds, Arranging & Film Composing.

Event Information for Clinics

The Date:

  • Saturday, February 11, 2017

The Time:

  • Workshops: 9 AM to 5 PM

The Schedule:View the Workshop Schedule

The Place: Nightingale Concert Hall

  • Church Fine Arts
    1335 N. Virginia St.
    University of Nevada, Reno

The Participants:

  • All Washoe County School District (WCSD) high school and middle school jazz bands are invited to participate.
  • Throughout the day between 12 and 15 different jazz bands are invited to perform on stage at UNR's Nightingale Concert Hall. Each performance lasts between 20 and 25 minutes. Clinicians then provide immediate feedback to each group, followed by in-depth hands-on clinics.
  • Performances and workshops are open to the public. Public attendance is encouraged to help generate an atmosphere of live, on stage experience.

The Clinicians:

  • University of Nevada, Reno faculty Ralph Alessi, Ed Corey, Peter Epstein, Hans Halt, Andrew Heglund and special guests Tom Scott, Paul Harshman, and Dr. Willie Hill. Read More

The Audience:

  • Everyone with an interest in jazz music and jazz music education is invited to watch and listen.

Cost of Admission:

  • The educational workshop event is free and open to the public with no cost to the participating students or schools.
  • Pizza with refreshments is provided in the lobby of Church Fine Arts at a nominal fee.
  • The special concert event Sunday Afternoon, February 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM.
  • Information and tickets.

Celebrate keeping jazz young and vibrant by joining us in our annual Jazz in the Schools event!

Special Event!

Tom Scott in Concert
with the Reno Jazz Orchestra

Afternoon Concert featuring Grammy Award winning saxophonist, Tom Scott

Sunday, February 12, 2017 at 2:00 PM