Grasshoppers 2018 students and workshop faculty at Portland State University.

About the Program: Grasshoppers is a mentorship and performance opportunity for students to learn the ins and outs of composing for a professional ensemble. Through one-on-one private lessons and professional group feedback, students will gain valuable insight into the idiosyncrasies of composing. By the end of the program, students will be able to understand the basic skills needed to compose a tune, use digital notation software, and correctly notate parts for rhythm section and horns.  

Click to enroll in the Grasshoppers Young Composers program!

Tuition is $300 per student and includes:

  • Workshop One, January 12, 12p at PSU Rm 47 – Piano, Bass, Drums
  • Workshop Two, February 9, 12p at PSU Rm 47 – Trumpet, Saxophone, Rhythm Section
  • Four individual composition lessons with a mentor, scheduled independently
  • Invitation to attend a PJCE rehearsal, Date TBD
  • Concert of student pieces with professional audio recording at The 1905 on March 10th

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 our Grasshoppers Coordinator, Mieke Bruggeman (

Hear the voices of the 2018 Grasshoppers on our podcast!

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 or something similar is highly recommended. 

The Grasshoppers band in performance at The 1905 in March, 2018.

Who can participate: High-school music students, advanced middle-school students as well as early college students and emerging professionals. Space is limited to 12 students. Students are accepted on a first come, first served basis. The PJCE will make every accommodation possible for students with disabilities.

How it works:

  • Students can be recommended by their band director and/or private teacher. They can also reach out directly to our Grasshoppers Coordinator (
  • Fill out an initial questionnaire to determine eligibility, availability and any scholarship needs.
  • After receiving an acceptance letter, students can sign-up online, get their mentorship assignment and get started!

Students will be given a checklist to help them manage their time and meet all of their goals. They will also be guided through the entire process by our Grasshoppers Coordinator, who is more than happy to answer any questions, help with mentor assignments and ensure that students have a positive learning experience!

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 above).
  • Attend the final performance on March 10th at The 1905.
  • Be prepared to discuss your work for any of our promotional material as well as at the final concert.

To sign up for the program or to learn more, email Grasshoppers Coordinator Mieke Bruggeman at

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