Private Lessons | Jazz | Contemporary Improvisation (CI)

Private Lessons Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation

Prep Woodwind QuintetPrivate instruction is the foundation of a sound musical education. At NEC Prep, the depth and expertise of our faculty assure a great match for our students' individual needs. Private lessons of 30, 45, and 60 minutes are offered for students of all levels (including beginners!). Prospective jazz and brass students must set up an audition or placement interview with their respective department chair or coordinator, who will advise each student personally regarding an appropriate studio teacher placement and path of study. For information on teacher placement interviews and scheduling an appointment for Jazz or CI, please contact the Prep office.

For information on how to get started, please click here. Private lessons can begin at any time during the school year.


David Zoffer, Jazz Department Chair
Rick McLaughlin, Assistant Jazz Chair

The Preparatory School jazz program develops skills necessary for understanding the jazz tradition of improvisation. Repertoire studied will include classic and contemporary jazz literature as well as its African and European roots. Classes will involve ear training, composing, writing, singing, and playing of materials.

Students in our Jazz program participate in all or a combination of the below offerings.

Audition and Placement Information

To sign up for a Jazz placement audition (jazz ensemble, classes, or private lessons), please call the Prep Office at 617-585-1160.

Both new and returning jazz students must also complete an admission form found here. If you have already registered, you must still fill out this form in order to be placed in the jazz course schedule. Completion of this form does not constitute registration or payment.

For more information on how to audition for our Jazz program, click here. For specific information on how to audition for our Youth Jazz Orchestra (YJO), click here.

Contemporary Improvisation (CI)

Lautaro Mantilla, Chair

The Contemporary Improvisation (CI) Department provides Preparatory School students a platform to develop their musical creativity while they immerse themselves in different improvisational traditions based in World Music and Contemporary Rock. CI faculty teach the ground work that students need in Aural skills, vocal and instrumental technique, conceptual ideas, interdisciplinary collaborations – everything required to become a leading composer/performer/improviser of the 21st century. The CI Department supports the individual voices of its students and invites them into a vibrant and supportive musical community to push the boundaries of genre and style to innovate and create.

CI Classes and Ensembles

Skill Building: Introduction to Contemporary Improvisation

Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor

These classes ground students with a strong foundation in ear training, theory, rhythm, and improvisation skills. We develop and hone these skills through a number of different exercises and methodologies using students’ musical abilities and helping them gaining facility on their instruments. All work is practically applied, so that students are instantly able to connect new skills with their own musical goals while they explore their musical creativity.

Rock Music Appreciation and Ensemble - NEW! Fall 2017

Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor

In the fall semester of this year-long course, students gain first-hand knowledge of the rock genre by playing in a rock ensemble. This ensemble is an introduction to the diverse repertoire of music from different decades starting in the 1960s. This music has shaped societies and social movements that have inspired generations. By arranging and recomposing music from The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Nirvana, Radiohead among many others, students gain knowledge of different compositional and improvisational approaches while they learn how to ROCK OUT!

During the spring semester, the students participate in a classroom-based exploration of rock. The spring semester of the class will examine works by a diverse group of bands, performers, and improvisers, across cultures and genres throughout Rock history. Students will analyze the different approaches and influences that have been shaping this genre for almost 100 years. Possible artists/genres included may be The Beatles, Radiohead, Melt Banana, Meridian Brothers, and many others.

Beginners on any instrument can be part of this adventure.

Saturday, 10:00 - 11:00AM

World Music Appreciation and Ensemble - NEW! Fall 2017

Lautaro Mantilla, Instructor

In the fall semester of this year-long course, students will be introduced to different musical cultures by listening and analyzing a diverse selection of compositions from places like Bulgaria, Morocco, Israel, Brazil, Argentina and more. Students learn about the repertoire, methodologies of improvisation, and musical nuances characteristic of the vast range of cultures and traditions in the world.

In the spring semester, students will put the concepts they have covered in the fall semester into action by playing in a World Music Ensemble. This ensemble will present a variety of musical repertoire and original material based in music from different regions of the world. Students will learn how to improvise over traditional musical forms, modes and rhythms, from each culture. Possible repertoire includes music from Brazil, Cuba, Israel, Bulgaria, Colombia and more!

Saturday, 11:00AM - 12:00PM

A Cappella Singers

For more information about CI A Cappella, click here.

Chinese Music Ensemble

Hui Weng, Instructor

This ensemble is open by audition to all NEC Prep students and offers an opportunity to perform and arrange repertoire from a variety of Chinese traditional and other world musics. During each rehearsal, students will listen to a diverse world music repertoire. They will learn musical forms, modes, and rhythms of typical instruments within each tradition. Students will also develop improvisation skills based on the different musical forms. The goal is to foster individual creativity and create a new musical language that innovates and crosses boundaries.

Saturday, 5:00 - 6:00 PM