Vail Jazz Workshop

Each year, a dozen of North America’s most dedicated, gifted and promising young jazz musicians are chosen from a broad field of talented applicants, receiving scholarships to participate in the 10-day Vail Jazz Workshop in Vail, Colorado. Organized in conjunction with the Vail Jazz Party, this highly-regarded curriculum has just surpassed its 27th year, mentoring over 300 high school-aged musicians since its inception. The VJ Workshop, among the longest-running programs of its type, enables the student musicians to study and be coached in an environment that emphasizes intense interaction with instructors and fellow students, while providing them with the unique opportunity to perform alongside legendary professional musicians at the VJ Party over Labor Day Weekend. It is a rigorous learning experience that is conducted exclusively, and uniquely, without any written music, emphasizing listening skills, improvisation, and group work. The curriculum for the Workshop each year varies depending on what the faculty sees as most beneficial for the students. By anecdote, reputation, and word-of-mouth—from students and professionals alike—the 12 annual slots at the VJ Workshop are among the most coveted music scholarships among pre-college jazz musicians today. Many Workshop alumni have advanced to highly successful musical careers, garnering numerous awards, Grammy® nominations, albums, and tour dates with jazz greats, as well as fronting their own groups at notable jazz venues and festivals throughout the world. In a nod to the exceptional talent the Workshop has nourished over many years, the VJ Party features returning alumni—now professionals—to perform as the Vail Jazz Alumni Sextet.


The 2023 Vail Jazz Workshop will take place in Vail, CO from Aug 26 – Sept 4. Applications are now open, scroll down for details!

Who can apply?

The Workshop is a residency program for twelve dedicated and gifted young jazz musicians who have demonstrated a commitment to their musical studies and a level of skill to warrant special attention. The level of talent of the students attending the workshop is extremely high. Therefore only students who can play at the highest level will likely gain admission to the workshop.


Age restrictions

Students attending the workshop must be at least 15 years of age and not more than 19 years of age (determined as of August 25, 2023) and must be a full time student enrolled in a high school (grades 9 – 12) or home schooled in compliance with appropriate local law during the school year completed just prior to the Workshop. Applicants who have just graduated from high school may apply but an applicant may not have attended a university, college, junior college or other post high school educational institution on a full time basis, nor may an applicant have attended a prior workshop.


Instrument Restrictions

The Workshop is only open to students whose primary instruments are the following: piano, bass, drums, trumpet, saxophone and trombone. Currently no other instruments are accepted into the Workshop.

Applications are now open for the 2023 Vail Jazz Workshop!



Workshop Online Application Form 

Must be completed online by the student applicant

Workshop Online Nomination Form

Must be completed online by the student’s reference



Workshop Application Instructions – everything students need to know prior to applying online.

Application Form Questions PDF – sample to be used for student reference prior to completing online.

Nomination Form Questions PDF – sample to be used for referrer’s reference prior to completing online.





If you wish to apply to the Vail Jazz Workshop, it is recommended that before you attempt to complete the Workshop Online Application, that you thoroughly review the Workshop Application Instructions and the Application Form Questions.  It is estimated that you will need 60 minutes to complete the Workshop Online Application and it is suggested that the following information and documents be procured before beginning to complete the Workshop Online Application:

  • Covid Vaccination dates (if you have received vaccination and booster)
  • Contact information for your High School Music Director or Jazz Teacher
  • Contact information for your Musical Reference, if a different individual
  • Current High-Resolution photo (used for publicity purposes)
  • YouTube link(s) to your audition videos, if completed


CONFIRMED parent or guardian’s email address (your application will not be reviewed without up to date guardian contact information)


If applying for a Scholarship, you will need to have:

  • The amount of your family’s most recent annual gross income
  • The first page of your family’s most recent 1040 Federal Tax return in PDF format
  • Supporting documentation if there are unusual circumstances that may influence the decision regarding eligibility for a scholarship




important deadlines

Jan 4 - Mar 31, 2023

Applications Open

Mar 31, 2023

Applications Due

June 1, 2023

Selections Made

Aug 26 - Sept 4, 2023

VJ Workshop

Workshop Faculty

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