2019 Program | View the 2019 Schedule | Read about the 2019 Clinicians

Category: Jazz Education


Over 300 middle and high school musicians from over a dozen school jazz bands will perform during the 19th annual Jazz in the Schools program on February 9, 2019, inNightingale Concert Hall at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) campus.   The weekend events include a performance on Sunday, February 10th by theReno Jazz Orchestra(RJO) who will share the stage this year with acclaimed drummer and music educator John Riley.
 “We are honored and excited about the opportunity to showcase John Riley’s talents and prestigious career path to the students as well as the public. He never stops using his remarkable insight, sensitivity, and creativity to inspire the next generation of percussionists, jazz musicians, and teachers,” said Chuck Reider, Music Director of the Reno Jazz Orchestra.
Jazz in the Schools is free to students and the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and will showcase bands from throughout the Reno and Lake Tahoe area. Tickets for Sunday’s concert with the RJO and John Riley start at $10 for students and $30 for adults and will soon be available for purchase at RenoJazzOrchestra.org.
“This annual event is part of our community’s educational outreach efforts,” said Reider.  “The event helps to prepare the school groups to compete in the Reno Jazz Festival each spring and introduces them to UNR and the UNR jazz faculty.” 
 In addition to the Jazz in The Schools program entertaining throughout the day, nationally recognized clinicians are on site to critique each student group’s performance; the professional educators then work with that group immediately after their concert to improve their jazz performance skills.


"[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: John Riley

John RileyJohn began playing drums at age eight, after receiving a snare drum as a gift. With the support, encouragement and patience of his parents, John and Mary Ann, he played in the school band and began drum lessons with a good local teacher, Tom Sicola. While under Tom's guidance, he gained control of the snare drum through work on the rudiments and reading. Eventually, he acquired a complete drumset and lessons expanded to include "beats of the day," coordination and reading studies for the drumset. At age twelve, John began playing in rock bands and heard his first jazz recordings, the soundtrack to The Gene Krupa Story and Max Roach's Conversation. Two years later, he played his first "professional" gig, which he obtained through an audition played over the telephone. John began studying with Joe Morello in 1971, after meeting him at a drum symposium. John went on to attend the University of North Texas, where he was introduced to a larger world of music and percussion. While at UNT, he played in, toured, and recorded with the famed One O'clock Lab Band. In 1976, he moved to New York City and was soon called to join the Woody Herman Band. Following that great experience, John returned to New York and began freelancing with a wide spectrum of world class musicians including Stan Getz, Milt Jackson, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, John Scofield, Bob Mintzer, Gary Peacock, Mike Stern, Joe Lovano, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band, John Patitucci, Bob Berg, and many others.

John has a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz education from the University of North Texas and a Master of Music in jazz studies from Manhattan School of Music. He is on the faculty of Manhattan School of Music, and Kutztown University, and is an Artist in Residence at Amsterdam Conservatory, Holland. John is also the author of The Art of Bop DrummingBeyond Bop DrummingThe Jazz Drummer's WorkshopThe Master Drummer DVD, and has taught master classes around the world.