jazz and improvised music



2017 is the 15th year of the Young Women's Jazz Workshops!

This exclusive experience will take place at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, in Canberra at the ANU School of Music and the Street Theatre, and in Perth in partnership with the WA Youth Jazz Orchestra at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

As the workshops continue to go from strength to strength, our goal remains the same. To create more opportunities for women in jazz. With the support of our media partner, ABC Jazz, we look forward to joining forces with our national partners in an exciting year ahead.

"The Young Women's Jazz Workshops provided me with an important opportunity to take my first steps into the jazz world. The overall encouraging atmosphere of the workshop and the support from the mentors gave me confidence and inspiration to continue and pursue my goal. Above all, the most inspiring aspect of it was having incredibly talented women as mentors, teachers and friends."Zela Margossian -  piano, vocals
composer and previous workshop participant


Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Enquiries: admin@sima.org.au (02 9036 6292)

Applications now open!
Apply Now. Course starts July 22

To be advised
. Pre-recorded auditions are possible where necessary.
Workshops:  Saturdays 22 July - 16 September, 10am-1pm
Final Concert:  Wednesday 20 September



ANU School of Music
Enquiries: admin@sima.org.au (02 9036 6292)

Applications now open!
Apply now. Course starts July 22
Auditions: To be advised. Pre-recorded auditions are possible where necessary.
Workshops:  Saturdays 22 July - 16 September, 10am-1pm
Final Concert:  Sunday 24 September

Payment (ACT ONLY) here


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Course now underway
Enquiries: info@wayjo.org.au (08 9471 1950)
WA Youth Jazz Orchestra


A short course aimed at women who are interested in pursuing jazz and improvised music, the Young Women’s Jazz Workshops have been changing the face of Australian jazz since 2002.

Developed by Dr. Sandy Evans OAM and the Sydney Improvised Music Association to develop skills and confidence in improvised music, this pioneering program has had a direct impact on the number of women studying jazz at conservatoria across the country.

The course offers exclusive opportunities for participants including ongoing performance and touring prospects. Participants also create new friendships and networks with like-minded people.

Our course tutors are sought-after educators and in-demand musicians. The course includes masterclasses with leading practitioners in the field. We cater to all skill levels. Entry is by written application and audition. Classes run on Saturdays over eight weeks and culminate in a public concert.

This could be a life changing experience, so don’t hesitate in applying today!


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


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. This course is also suitable for first time improvisers.


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

2. Sight reading of music and chord changes.

3. Major scale in several keys.

4. Play a blues head and improvise over the form (depending on experience of applicant).

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

*A piano accompanist will be provided for the auditions.


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

I now understand the structure of a song, chord changes and how to play more chords. I understand my role in a band setting better now.

Jenna– student, 2015

This workshop has inspired me to continue with jazz and continue to get better. I am HEAPS more confident in playing jazz and improvising now.

Rosa– student, 2015

The workshops have had a positive impact on my musical ability. They allowed me to practice and strengthen concepts such as listening and interacting with the rhythm section when improvising, following chord changes and guide tones and using interesting rhythms and phrasing better in solos. 

Bernice – student, 2015




Amy Curl, Delia Burrage, Nick Conner, Mercedes Estaban-Lyons, Helen McFarlane, Susan Meyer and Andrew Clark,  Dr Elizabeth Rechniewski, Lenore Robertson, Dr Therese Underwood, Elizabeth Watson.