Jazz Program

Being in the MYAC Jazz Program is like playing in an All-State ensemble every weekend. The program is for any student who wishes to deepen their knowledge of America’s great art form. Through participation in big bands, combos and improvisation classes, students will master jazz styles and core musicianship skills. MYAC jazz students have the opportunity to perform with internationally acclaimed guest artists in premier jazz and concert venues throughout Chicago and beyond.

A free jazz improv class is required for all members not participating in a combo.

CLICK HERE to listen to an interview with MYAC Jazz director Chris Madsen as he discusses his time as an MYAC student, and how the program benefits promising young jazz musicians more than ever before. (skip to 18 mins. in)


Jazz Ensemble

Conducted by Joe Policastro, this group is for younger jazz musicians who are eager to learn jazz phrasing, articulation and ensemble skills.

Audition Requirements for Jazz Ensemble

Sign Up For an Audition for Jazz Ensemble

Jazz Ensemble Rehearsals: Sunday, 3:00pm - 4:30pm in the Macey Room


Jazz Orchestra

Directed by Joe Policastro, this group is for developing jazz musicians who are mostly in high school and ready for a more challenging ensemble experience.

Audition Requirements for Jazz Orchestra

Sign Up For an Audition for Jazz Orchestra

Jazz Orchestra Rehearsals: Sunday, 12:00 - 2:00pm in the North Rehearsal Hall


Jazz Workshop

Directed by Chris Madsen, this group begins tackling college- and professional-level repertoire.

Audition Requirements for Jazz Workshop

Sign Up For an Audition for Jazz Workshop

Jazz Workshop Rehearsals: Sunday, 3:00 - 5:00pm in the North Rehearsal Hall


Big Band

Directed by Chris Madsen, the Big Band is for the most advanced jazz students ready to play at the highest level.

Sign Up For an Audition for Big Band

Big Band Rehearsals: Sunday, 6:00 - 8:00pm in the North Rehearsal Hall


Jazz Combos

Directed by Chris Madsen, Dan Pierson and Joe Policastro, the combos are designed for students who want to learn the art of improvisation and solo expression.

Audition Requirements for Jazz Combos

Sign Up For an Audition for Jazz Combos

Jazz Combo Rehearsals: All combos meet on Sunday.


Merit Combo

Directed by Chris Madsen, this group is selected based on ability and dedication. This elite ensemble has worked with such jazz luminaries as Matt Wilson, John Clayton and many others.

Exact dates of rehearsal schedule will be announced to those who are selected.


Jazz Improv Class

Free to MYAC Jazz Students, participation in these classes is required for all members of the Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Orchestra who are not participating in a combo. This course aims to develop jazz theory and improvisational skills through aural assimilation.

Jazz Ensemble Improv Class: Sunday, 4:00-4:30pm, South Rehearsal Hall

Jazz Orchestra & Jazz Workshop Improv Class: Sunday, 11:30pm, South Rehearsal Hall

Music and MovementOrchestrasChamber MusicChoralMusic Theory