The Don “Moose” Jamison Heritage School of Music

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All of our music programs now take place at our new state-of-the-art education facility, the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center.

All of our music programs now take place at our new state-of-the-art education facility, the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center.

I try to help them with their instrument and with the jazz vocabulary. Then they can take it an do something with it.

Edward "Kidd" Jordan

Starting in September 2017, we will continue a program that we launched last year to offer classes to students ages 8 to 15 who have never before studied music and who do not own an instrument. The program is called HSM Beginners. Classes will be held Tuesday and Thursday afternoons starting Sept. 26, 2017. Admission is based on an interview with prospective students. We provide instruments to students who need them depending on how many instruments we have available. Students who own their own instruments also are welcome to participate provided that they have had less than one year of instruction. NOTE: What follows is information about the Heritage School of Music. For more information about HSM Beginners please see here.


Auditions wfor the 2017-2018 school year will be held on Sept. 9, 2017. To register for these auditions, please use our Audition Registration Form here. Note: Auditions are for new students; returning students do not need to audition.

In addition to our regular Heritage School of Music classes, we also will held auditions Sept. 9 for these programs:

  • The Jazz & Heritage Brass Band. Brass band rehearsals will take place during our regular Saturday classes
  • The Jazz & Heritage A Capella Choir. This showcase for more advanced singers will have rehearsals during our regular Saturday and Thursday classes

Students who miss the auditions may request a private audition until Sept. 24. To request an audition, please send an e-mail to:, or call (504) 558-6112.

PLEASE NOTE: Unlike in years past, we no longer will host auditions in January for new students to join the program.  Instead, we will host internal auditions in January to determine which of our students will be invited to participate in our performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. Students also will have the opportunity in January to audition to move into a  more advanced group. Students who previously may have skipped the fall semester due to scheduling conflicts on Saturdays now are encouraged to join the program in the fall - but to take classes on Thursdays. This will preserve their opportunity to be considered for the end-of-year Jazz Fest performance.

• Mandatory Thursday Classes for all Combo 1 Students: All students who are in Combo Level 1 will now be required to attend classes on Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. in addition to our regular Saturday classes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday classes will remain optional for members of Combos Levels 2 and 3 and the A Capella Jazz Choir. 
• Mandatory Orientation for Students and Parents on Sept. 23: On Saturday, Sept. 23, we will hold an orientation starting at 10 a.m. Attendance is mandatory for all Heritage School students and at least one parent or guardian, as school attendance and discipline policies will be discussed.
• Supplies Fee: All students will be required to pay a $15 fee to cover the cost of instruction books and other educational supplies.

For details on the history of the Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music, please see here.

Operating since 1990, the Heritage School of Music is our longest-running education program. The school is free and serves students ages 10 to 17 from throughout the greater New Orleans region. Classes are held on Saturday mornings and after-school on Thursday afternoons at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center (1225 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans). We teach the performance technique and theory of jazz music. Our instruction is universal and may be applied to all styles of music, but the focus is on jazz - which is the cornerstone of all American music. We expect our students to have an interest in learning jazz.

The Heritage School provides instruction in:

  • Brass
  • Woodwinds
  • Piano
  • Voice
  • Bass
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Music Theory

The Heritage School of Music does not provide instruments. Students must be between the ages of 10 and 17 years old and must have completed at least one year of prior instruction on their instrument.

For students under 10 years old, who have never studied music and do not own an instrument, please see our new program called HSM Beginners for first-time music learners here.

Heritage School of Music classes are free, but a supplies fee of $15 per student.

The Heritage School of Music provides free instruction by some of the best jazz musicians and educators in New Orleans - and in the world. They are:

Derek Douget, program coordinator and woodwinds
Edward “Kidd” Jordan, artistic director and woodwinds/fundamentals
Leah Chase, voice
Michael Pellera and Meghan Swartz, piano
Peter Harris, bass
Don Vappie and Davey Mooney, guitar/strings
Leon Brown, brass
Ricky Sebastian and Gene Black, drums

The Heritage School accepts beginning to advanced students between the ages of 10-17.

Beginners should have completed at least one year of prior instruction on their instruments. They should be able to play a major and minor scale, identify notes on a staff and play at least one song. Students should own their own instruments and should bring them to the auditions.

More advanced students should be prepared to:

  • Perform a song (preferably a jazz standard) that demonstrates their full range of ability
  • Demonstrate an ability to improvise over a blues form in the keys of F and B flat
  • Play a chromatic scale (two octaves)
  • Sight-read an unfamiliar jazz composition
  • For pianists and bassists, demonstrate a fundamental ability to read chord changes

Drummers should have at least some experience with:

  • Single stroke and double stroke rolls
  • Flams and paradiddles
  • Reading snare drum music
  • Playing very basic jazz beat and rock/funk beat
  • Second Line rhythms
  • Playing a C Major scale on the piano

Vocalists should be able to sing an unfamiliar melodic phrase after hearing it once or twice. Experience with reading music is a plus.

Jazz & Heritage A Capella Choir Candidates should be prepared to:
    Sing a prepared piece from memory
    Sight-read a short melody
    Sing an unfamiliar melodic phrase after hearing it once
    Improvise over a recording of a 12 bar blues

Jazz & Heritage Brass Band Candidates should be prepared to:
    Sight-read a basic chart for a traditional New Orleans Brass Band standard
    Perform major triads

Parents or guardians of students interested in the Heritage School of Music, the Jazz & Heritage Brass Band or the Jazz & Heritage A Capella Choir should complete the student enrollment form that is online here.

Classes for the Fall 2017 semester will begin on Saturday, Sept. 23. Classes will continue through April, culminating with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presentyed by Shell.

Students will be given written evaluations at the start and end of each semester, plus once in the middle of each semester.


The Heritage School of Music is a free program. There is a $15 supplies fee per student. The Jazz & Heritage Foundation is working hard to provide excellent educational and performance opportunities. We ask students who enroll in the program to maintain a consistent attendance record.

Especially with regard to the public performance opportunities that we provide, adequate preparation is essential.

As a result, we have instituted a policy that students who accumulate more than five absences in a semester will not be eligible to participate in the public performances and/or recording sessions organized for Heritage School students.

Due to situations we have had in recent semesters, we are now adhering to policies to prevent disruptions during our classes, and to maintain a positive atmosphere during instruction. 

NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES. Students may not use mobile electronic devices during class time for phone calls, text messages, social media or Internet uses. In case of an emergency in which a student may need to make or receive a call, they must exit the classroom. In all other cases, the use of mobile electronic devices during school hours anywhere in the building is strictly prohibited. Students who violate this policy will have their phone (or other device) taken away until the end of class time. Students who violate the policy three times will be dismissed from school for the remainder of the semester.

NO CLASS DISRUPTIONS, NO BABYSITTING. The Heritage School of Music is a free music instruction program. It is not a babysitting service for parents to drop off children who may or may not have an interest in learning jazz. We expect our students to be engaged in the instruction and to participate enthusiastically. Too often in the recent past we have had students whose lack of interest in the material has led them to be disruptive in class. Students who disrupt class or do not participate will be given a warning and their parents/guardians will be notified. After a second infraction, they will be removed from the classroom and we will ask to meet with the parents or guardians. After a third infraction, students will be removed from the program for the remainder of the semester.

For more information, please contact the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation by calling (504) 558-6112, or by emailing


Links & Downloads:

Audition Requirements

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