Jazz Certificate

The four level Prep Jazz Certificate program gives students the skills they need through taking Private Jazz Lessons, Small Jazz Ensembles, and Jazz Classroom courses. By the time students are seniors in this program, they are able to give recitals as bandleaders, are prepared for college level auditions as music majors and/or to make supplemental application recordings for college. The certificate program is where a lot of the Jazz students make friends, form their own ensembles and play recitals together. 

The Prep Jazz certificate program is very easy to start for younger students, and the large majority of Jazz students participate in it.

All certificate levels require private Jazz lessons through NEC (60, 45, or 30 minutes) with a minimum of 30 lessons for the Fall/Spring school year.

Jazz students often take lessons on their primary instrument that they play in ensembles through NEC. Some students join the Jazz certificate program by taking their lessons through NEC on a secondary instrument, voice, or subject like improvisation, composition, or arranging, and they are still be eligible for the Prep Jazz certificate and the discount rate on each course and ensemble with a minimum of 30 half hour lessons, although most students choose 60 or 45 minute lessons.

Jazz Certificate recitals can include the student performing on multiple instruments if students want to, but the recital must feature the instrument or voice that they play or sing in their Small Jazz Ensemble(s).

Requirements for the Jazz Certificate Program at each of the four levels are outlined below. Exceptions and waivers must be requested in writing and may be granted only by the Faculty Council. Students are required to receive a grade of Pass or higher on their end of year evaluation to receive the certificate. 

Level I

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements
  • Complete one jazz classroom course and/or small jazz ensemble


Level II 


  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements
  • Complete one year small jazz ensemble
  • Complete two classroom courses total (one of these can be completed in a Level 1 certificate).
  • Entering Walnut Hill 9th or 10th grade Jazz Majors must start at this level.

Level III

(usually completed 11th or 10th grade, this is the highest possible level for entering 12th graders)

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements
  • Complete Jazz Styles 1st year
  • Complete 1 year of small jazz ensemble
  • Complete either Jazz History or Advanced Jazz Ear Training
  • Present half recital program (25-35 minutes)

Entering Walnut Hill Jazz Majors in 11th grade, 12th grade, or Post-grad must start at this level.

Level IV

(usually completed 12th or 11th grade)

  • Meet instrumental repertoire & technique requirements
  • Complete Jazz Styles 2nd year
  • Complete 1 year of small jazz ensemble
  • Complete Jazz Theory 2 or 3, Jazz History, and Advanced Jazz Ear Training, and have completed Level 3 Jazz Certificate
  • Present a full recital (50-65 minutes)

Walnut Hill Jazz Majors that entered in 9th, 10th or 11th grade must complete this level during 12th grade.

Level III or IV Jazz Recitals can occur at NEC’s campus, or off campus. Walnut Hill students can give their recitals at the Walnut Hill or NEC campus for Level III, but must give their Level IV recitals at Walnut Hill.

For any questions about the Jazz department, please contact prepjazz@necmusic.edu.



Jazz Placement Information
Link to Jazz Placement Form
Jazz Ensemble Information
Jazz Classroom Course Information
Jazz Private Lesson Information
Jazz Faculty