The 2023 Young Jazz Composers program details will be released in the fall of 2022.

Feel free to reach out to our Education Coordinator, Mieke Bruggeman at with questions about the program.

About Young Jazz Composers

The Young Jazz Composers program is a mentorship opportunity for students to learn the ins and outs of composing for professional Jazz musicians. By the end of the program, students will learn composition techniques, be able to create a standard jazz head chart and use digital notation software.

Tuition includes three workshops with our professional musicians, five private lessons with a composition mentor, Musescore tutorial and a professional recording and live performance of their piece – great for college applications and resumes! 

Students will be guided through the entire process by our Education Coordinator, Mieke Bruggeman to ensure that students have a positive learning experience!

The 2022 Young Jazz Composers cohort at the final concert at The 1905.

How it works:

  • Students can be recommended by their band director, private teacher or by contacting our Education Coordinator at
  • Fill out the Intake Survey (below) to determine eligibility, availability and any scholarship needs.
  • Download and review the Deadline Checklist (below).
  • After receiving an acceptance letter, students can sign-up online, get their mentorship assignment and get started!

Tuition is $400 per student and includes:

  • Two workshops with professional musicians performing their compositions and offering constructive feedback.
  • Four individual composition lessons with a professional mentor.
  • Invitation to attend a PJCE rehearsal in January or February, 2022.
  • Professional audio/video recording of their finished pieces as performed by our musicians at The 1905 – GREAT for college applications and resumés!


We are able to offer a limited number of partial and full scholarships!

The scholarship fund is meant to provide support to students who are recommended by their teachers, but who do not have the financial means to pay full tuition. We don’t ask students to verify their financial status with any kind of documentation but ask that students and their families consider their financial need when requesting a full or partial scholarship.

Please indicate that you are requesting a scholarship on the Intake Survey (see link below) or by emailing our Education Coordinator,

Hear the voices of the 2018 cohort on our podcast!

Who can participate:

High-school music students, advanced middle-school students as well as early college students, and emerging professionals. Space is limited to 10 students. Students are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To provide the safest environment possible for all, Students agree to be fully vaccinated against COVID19 prior to entering the Young Jazz Composers program. The PJCE will make every accommodation possible for students with disabilities.


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. 

Important Dates:

  • Workshops will be held on March 5 and April 16, 2022 at Portland State University
  • Final concert will be at The 1905 (830 N. Shaver St) on May 9, 2022 at 6pm PT
  • Four individual lessons with your mentor will be scheduled independently (two in February, one in March and one in April, 2022)

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 both workshops and provide input/answer questions as needed.
  • Attend the final performance.
  • Be prepared to discuss your work for any of our promotional material as well as at the final concert.
The 2022 YJC Workshop Band. L to R: Todd Marston, Pablo Rivarola, Ben Medler, Mary-Sue Tobin, Tyson Stubelek.

What past participants are saying:

It was really valuable to see how all the musicians work together and find the right balance between too little and too many instructions on the page. I’m used to writing mainly for classical musicians and they’re usually more comfortable with everything is notated. It’s something else to learn and also kind of a nice ego check because it reminds you that for improvisation that the page is just a blueprint, and the score isn’t everything. —Rohan Srinivasan

It showed me it was possible to write a composition from start to finish for large ensemble and actually have players perform it. It was my first time doing something like that. Now five years later, I am currently pursuing a Fulbright Finland grant term, taking master’s exchange studies at the global music department at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, Finland. —Devina Boughton

PJCE helped me by sponsoring me the first year I did the Grasshoppers program, covering all the tuition which was really really helpful at the time. Now, I’ve ever since then I’ve composed much more. I used to not really compose at all, but after doing this with PJCE it’s been a much, much bigger part of my life. —Harrison Richter

Now, as I write I try to make things kind of a more integrative process. I think a little bit less in terms of chord changes and rather just in terms of these evolving shapes that accommodate themselves to a melody. That was really very helpful advice, and I think that’s one of the main ways I’ve grown (assuming that I have). —Jake Khawaja

One of the biggest takeaways that I got from my mentor was really composing with intent. He said, “Well, you have this amount of time you’re not going to do a whole symphony in that time. So, here’s an idea with a beginning, middle, and end.” And, I carried that idea of composing with intent on into this style of composing that I’ve been doing recently which is basing my compositions on art. —Christian Ramirez

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

Thanks to our sponsors!