The real joy and excitement of being a musician, especially a jazz musician, we believe, comes from playing together with others in a group. We give adult musicians a chance to play in a small jazz combo with like-minded others, on a regular basis, and to grow and develop as an individual musician and group player, all under expert guidance and coaching. This is a unique opportunity to deepen and fulfill your love of playing music.
This is for all levels of ability, but people who are serious enough to commit to regular rehearsal and growth as a band. Growth, not perfection, is our goal. There’s a lot of playing, but a strong educational component as well. A small group setting is perfect for getting lots of playing time and focused instruction.
We’ll work not only on the practical aspects of playing in a jazz band but also on spurring creative growth. Improvisation and musical interaction and communication, which are at the heart of jazz, are a strong focus.
How It Works
Our groups meet for two hours per session, twice a month, year round. Our jazz combos typically will consist of five to seven players (horns plus rhythm section). We’ll play music from swing to bebop, bossa nova and Afro-Cuban.
We’ll learn new techniques each session and cover the nuts and bolts of how to function in a jazz band. We’ll help you understand your role and communicate with your band mates, and we’ll get you familiar with the standard jazz repertoire that serves as a common language among working jazz musicians. At the same time, we’ll keep instruction practical and manageable.
In addition to regular rehearsals, we’ll have opportunities for playing at public venues, jam sessions, and more. You’ll also be able to make friends and network within our growing jazz community.
Logistics: This is a tuition-based program. Groups are led by Paul Bangser, long-time local performer and music educator.
Location: We rehearse at a location in North Bethesda, MD that is very close to the Beltway and 270.
Private Instruction: Private lessons on jazz guitar, and music theory and ear training for all instrumentalists, are also available. Call us for more information.
To Get Started or For More Information: Call Paul Bangser at (301) 461-8798 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to discuss further details, answer questions, and see how our groups might fit with your musical plans and goals.
Jazz Lab Bethesda also offers separate sessions for teens, click here for more information.
Q: Who are the people that join your jazz combos?
A: Our groups are appropriate for adults of all ages and a range of musical backgrounds. Some might be accomplished musicians in another field, like classical music, but are fairly new to jazz. Others might have picked their instrument back up after time off. They all have at least a basic proficiency on their instrument and a desire to play and learn jazz.
Q: What if I’m not good enough to be in a JLB group? Or, what if I may be too good?
A: Calling us to discuss your situation is best here. You don’t need to be a star instrumentalist coming in, but you should have a basic proficiency, an interest in jazz, and a desire to learn. Most should know how to read music (some exception to this for guitarists and drummers). If you have questions, let’s talk.
If you think you might be too advanced, call us as well and we’re glad to discuss. Continuing to progress as a jazz musician is a lifelong pursuit, and there will always be something to learn. We promise to keep you challenged!
“I’ve played in bands under Paul’s leadership, and I’m always impressed by his musicianship, patience, and professionalism. It’s extremely rare to find a musician who combines these attributes so well.”
– Seth Kibel (WAMMIE award-winning jazz sax player and band leader)
“I played in one of Paul’s jazz groups. He is great for those who seriously want to improve their jazz playing and listening skills and confidence while also having fun. He excels at getting the best out of each student.”
“Paul very quickly introduced me to a number of improvisational ideas and practice techniques and I saw immediate improvement in my playing. I continuously apply the techniques that Paul taught me and continue to see improvement in my playing. Paul is an extremely knowledgeable and experienced guitarist who has a special talent for transferring this knowledge to his students.”