jazz and improvised music



2013 Tickets for the Young Women's Jazz Workshops 
September 19 (7pm)
The Sydney Conservatorium of Music Cafe 

Sydney Improvised Music Association (SIMA) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music Open Academy present the 2013 Young Women's Jazz Workshops Concert. The program is recognised as the leading course for young women who are interested in pursuing a career in jazz and this exciting event is the finale for our 2013 participants. 

Join students and tutors of the 2013 workshops and enjoy a night of fantastic music by four  ensembles led by some of Sydney's best known jazz artists, including singer Elana Stone, pianist Monique Lysiak, bassist Hannah James and trombonist Alex Silver. With ages ranging from 13 years - 35 years, 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!

Held at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music from July-September annually, the course is unique and an inspiration to the 30-45 girls who participate each year. For more information on the course visit us online here

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

The Young Women's Jazz Workshops is a unique short course aimed at women who are interested in pursuing a professional career in jazz and improvised music.

Entry is by audition and written application and classes run for three hours over eights weeks on a Saturday morning. The course culminates in a public concert, giving the performers a chance to showcase their skills on stage.

The young women who participate in the course come from varying backgrounds and previous experience: high school girls looking at studying jazz in the future, university students who wanted to diversify and develop their improvisation skills and women who want to learn how to play jazz. The amount of previous knowledge is not important, however enthusiasm is a must! the courses are different year-on-year and many girls have participated several years over. Each year with a new group of teachers where they learn and develop new skills.
‘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)

SIMA has been running this innovative and unique course successfully SIMA since 2001. Due to it;s popularity, in 2010 we partnered with the Sydney Conservatorium Open Academy. Each year, the standard of applicants has risen significantly, indicating that the course is having an impact on the number of women seriously studying and practicing jazz and improvised music.

The course graduates make up the majority of the women studying at the Jazz Course at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. In 2013, no less than 5 young women from our course were accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium to study jazz.

Students have also been accepted into jazz courses at the Western NSW University, the University of Western Sydney, the Canberra School of Music and The Victorian College of the Arts. Most of these students would not have had the knowledge or confidence to successfully apply to these courses having not had the experience of these workshops.


Course Objectives                                                                                                      
  1. Develop the skills and confidence of young women in jazz and improvised music.
  2. Broaden knowledge of jazz & improvised music, including the contribution of outstanding Australian artists in this field
  3. Increase awareness of career options in jazz and related areas
  4. Encourage students to understand audition processes and apply for tertiary jazz courses
  5. Nurture and foster friendships and support networks amongst young women jazz musicians

Course Requirements

Instrumental Ensembles

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.



A limited number of vocalists will be selected for our advanced vocal stream. Here, the successful applicants will join the instrumental ensembles and use their voice as an instrument, singing a horn line. Students must be proficient in voice and be able to read music.


There will also be an all vocal ensemble. Please note that this will be a beginners/intermediate group and not all girls will be able to read music. Please not that this group will rehearse as an acapella ensemble and rehearse/perform with a band at the final concert.   

The course is open to all young women who fullfil 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.

2013 dates
Applications close: May 31 2013

Audition date: June 15 2013

Workshops: From July-September 2013
Saturdays 10am – 1pm

Concert date: Thursday 19 September

More info: amy@sima.org.au 02 9036 6292
Amy Curl | General Manager, SIMA

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