Contact PJCE Education Coordinator Mieke Bruggeman at for more information. Tuition for the program is $300 per student, with scholarships available for those with financial need. Pay online or contact us to arrange payment by cash or check.

About the Program: Grasshoppers is a series of workshops, mentorship, and a final concert that will teach high school-aged musicians basic composition skills in the jazz idiom. By the end of the program, students will understand the basic skills needed to compose a tune, notate the tune, and compose parts for rhythm section and horns. Tuition includes two workshops with professional musicians, two private lessons with a mentor, a professional performance and recording of the piece in the final concert.  

How it works: Before the workshops begin, each student will meet with their mentor to ensure they are prepared for Workshop One. Notated songs are due three weeks before each workshop, and must be approved by our Education Coordinator, Mieke Bruggeman.

Students must schedule times directly with mentors, and can schedule sessions before the workshops, or after, depending on their needs.

The program begins with Workshop One where cohorts of four or five students spend an hour hearing his or her own piece as well as the other members of their cohort played and critiqued by supportive professional performers playing piano, bass and drums. Each student is required to bring a piece they have composed and notated to the best of their ability on a one or two-page lead sheet with enough copies for everyone, professionals and students.

For Workshop Two, the students will add trumpet and saxophone parts to their compositions using the same basic melody and chords, incorporating feedback from Workshop One, and feedback from their mentor, if they have had their lesson already. Students may also schedule their private lesson to occur between Workshop Two and the Concert.

The students will have the opportunity to make revisions to their pieces before the final concert, a relaxed concert for friends and families of the students. The concert will be professionally recorded, mixed and mastered so students will have a professional document of their work for college auditions, professional work samples, or simply sharing with friends and family. Students who want to perform with the professionals on the concert are welcome to do so on their own compositions.

Prerequisites: All students should be enrolled in some kind of music study, either in school or independently, and must be able to read music at a basic level. Knowledge of jazz performance is beneficial, but not necessary. Using digital notation software, such as Finale, Sibelius, Muse Score (free software) or something similar is highly recommended. Students are required to sell four tickets at $10 each for the final concert, to help cover the costs involved with producing a professional concert. Each student will attend the concert for free, and will receive one complimentary ticket.

Who can participate: High-school music students, advanced middle-school students as well as early college students and emerging professionals. Space is limited to 20 students. Students are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The PJCE will make every accommodation possible for students with disabilities.

What is expected of our mentees: 

  • Be proactive about contacting and communicating with your mentor – ask as many questions as you need to feel confident about your work!
  • Having access to a computer is essential. Having access to music notation software is a plus, but we can help students find software if needed.
  • Provide all necessary materials to your mentor and/or musicians by their due dates.
  • Attend two workshops and provide input/answer questions as needed (dates listed below)
  • Attend the final performance.
  • Sell four tickets at $10 each for the final concert
  • Be prepared to discuss your work for any of our promotional material as well as at the final concert.

Scholarships: Thanks to generous support from the Lynne Detrick Memorial Fund and Vino Veritas, we are able to offer a limited number of partial and full scholarships to students who are interested in attending, but whose families cannot afford the full price. Please indicate that you are requesting a scholarship on the online signup form, or by email to Coordinator Mieke Bruggeman.

Tuition is $300 for each student and includes:

  • Workshop One, January 13, 1p at PSU Rm 47 – Piano, Bass, Drums
  • Workshop Two, February 24, 1p at PSU Rm 47 – Trumpet, Saxophone, Rhythm Section
  • Two Individual composition lessons with a mentor, PJCE can provide references as needed
  • Invitation to attend a PJCE rehearsal, February 8, 7-8p, Portland State University
  • Concert of student pieces with professional audio recording at venue TBD on March 25th

To sign up for the program or to learn more, visit or call Grasshoppers Coordinator Mieke Bruggeman at 971-322-6266.

Thanks to our sponsors!