jazz and improvised music


2016 Young Women's Jazz Workshops

Thanks so everyone who participated in the 2015 workshops in WA and NSW!

It opened my eyes to jazz and really helped me expand my repertoire. Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity and experience  and I can't wait to continue to explore jazz and all it has to offer - Isabelle McConaghy, 2015 participant



Developed by SIMA and Sandy Evans OAM in 2002, the Young Women’s Jazz Workshops (YWJW) is an innovative short course to inspire women to play, study and pursue a professional career in jazz. Since its inception, the course has become an important catalyst for more women working in the genre through its unique combination of skills development and positive role-modelling.

In addition to our partnership with the Sydney Conservatorium Open Academy, we also run workshops in Perth in partnership with WA Youth Jazz Orchestra 

Entry is by audition and written application.

Sydney Enquiries: Amy Curl, amy@sima.org.au or 02 9036 6292

Perth Enquiries: Fiona Symonds, fiona.symonds@wayjo.com  or 08 9471 1950

Course Objectives:

DEVELOP the skills and confidence of young women in jazz and improvised music
BROADEN knowledge of jazz & improvised music, including the contribution of outstanding Australian artists in this field.
INCREASE awareness of career options in jazz and related areas.
ENCOURAGE students to understand audition processes and apply for tertiary jazz courses.
NURTURE and foster friendships and support networks amongst young women jazz musicians.
About the Workshops

Course Requirements:
Knowledge of jazz is not a prerequisite, but applicants should have an interest in developing their improvisation skills and be interested in studying or developing a career in music. There are a number of levels that students will be divided into and students will form part of the Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced ensembles. Student’s levels are decided during the audition process. The course is open to all young women who fulfil the criteria. Younger students are also welcome to audition.

Audition requirements:

1. Play a blues head and improvise over the form.

2. Play a piece of your own choice that demonstrates what you are best at.

3. Sight reading of music and chord changes.

4. Major scale in several keys.

5. Drummers only: Demonstrate swing, bossa nova, rock and jazz waltz feels.

*A piano accompanist will be provided for the auditions.

The Final Concert:

At the end of the workshops, join students and tutors and enjoy a night of fantastic music as our participants showcase their newly found confidence in a finale concert. With ages ranging from 13 years up, you will experience a mix of music as participants have honed their skills in brass, percussion, strings, vocals and more - so come and support them and share their excitement, new skills and confidence!

ABC Jazz is proud to be a media supporter for the Young Womens Jazz Workshops and will be following the progress of the students so stay tuned to www.sima.org.au and www.abcjazz.net.au


‘Sadly, women are still very under-represented in jazz – professionally and in tertiary courses. This course provides a supportive environment for aspiring female jazz musicians to explore their creativity and develop their skills in this exciting and challenging musical genre’. Sandy Evans, OAM (course founder, musician/composer)

Our Young Women’s Jazz Workshops prepare students for music studies including the audition process. YWJW graduates make up the majority of the women studying jazz at a tertiary level in NSW and in 2013 a record number of women were accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium’s Jazz Program. Our workshop participants have also been accepted into jazz courses at the University NSW, Uni-versity of Western Sydney, Canberra School of Music, Victorian College of the Arts and the Australian Institute of Music.
In addition to skills development, the program forms a network of women who support and encourage one another and the musical friendships that are formed extend well beyond the duration of the eight-week course.

What students have said
This course has played a pivotal role in my development as a jazz musician. A magical thing happened in this course and after only 3 workshops, I performed my first guitar solo at a gig with my band. This has not only improved my own musical experience, but theirs as well. I would love to return and do the course again next year. Thank you so much!
Cassandra – student, 2008

As a female student studying music education and classical saxophone, I found the course to be invaluable. Whilst studying at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, I have found that a large crevasse exists between the classical and jazz areas of studies and there are more men than women studying jazz. The SIMA workshop aims at correcting the gender imbalance in tertiary jazz courses, and in the jazz scene in general, by providing female role models for young women to aspire to. With the workshop’s enrolment growing significantly each year, the premise seems to be correct. The SIMA Young Women’s Jazz Improvisation Workshop is an invaluable experience and I highly recommend anyone to enrol as it will help you grow immensely as a musician, and as a woman.

Jaki King, student 2007, 2008