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Workshop Ensembles

Widely known as one of the most prestigious jazz education programs on the West Coast, YLJC has small ensembles for every skill level as well as big band.

Workshop Ensembles

What Are Workshop Ensembles?

Workshop ensemble classes are for students who are not quite ready for the demands of being in a YLJC ensemble but want to gain the experience necessary to join an ensemble in the future.  After these classes, students should be comfortable and ready for the challenges of being in the YLJC Youth Ensemble Program.

Who Is Eligible?

One year playing your instrument is highly recommended. 

For students up to 18 years of age with less than a year of experience on their instrument, we recommend starting with private instruction to establish a solid foundation. This individualized learning path ensures that each student receives the attention and guidance needed for their musical development. YLJC’s tuition is $1250 for the academic year, for the same amount a beginning student can access 15 to 17 private lessons, providing an excellent start. After completing a year of private instruction, we find that students are more comfortable and prepared to fully embrace and benefit from the comprehensive ensemble instruction and opportunities available at YLJC, leveraging their skills for maximum advantage.

What’s Included?

Students are placed in ensembles of six to nine students and rehearse weekly.*

*Instrumentation can be varied (examples: we might have 4 pianists and 1 drummer, or, 2 sax, 2 pianists and a bass player, etc.)

Curriculum: Music theory, ear training, reading music—sight reading, improvisation, how to play in a group setting, jazz history.

Class Schedule: Classes take place on Saturdays or Sundays.  You can find the class calendar and rehearsal locations here.  

Performance Opportunities: Ensembles will have an opportunity to play at our All-Ensembles Showcases (Dec & June). Workshop ensembles are not required to perform at Panama 66 (unless the group is ready and willing). This takes the pressure off students as they grow musically. 


Tuition is paid by the acendemic year and there is also a reccurring monthly payment plan available. There are no registration or material fees.

  • $1,250 for the acedemic year

Students can also join for the second semster (if there are spots available for their instrument).

  • $800 for the second semester only

Billing invoices are sent via email after ensemble placements. We accept credit cards and checks. Families who have multiple students enrolled in the program will receive a 50% siblings discount on the tuition fee for the second student.


We believe no child should miss out on the opportunity and enrichment that music education provides.

Full, half and gap scholarships are available to students who show merit and whose families demonstrate financial need.  

DEADLINE: Aug. 30, 2023

Scholarship applications are closed for 2023-24


Registration Is Closed ☹️

If you wish to be added to the list of interested students for the 2024-2025 academic year, please fill out the form (accessible via the button below) and we will notifiy you when registration and audition requirements are posted.

See A YLJC Class In Action

If you are interested in seeing the YLJC program in action, we welcome you to visit our classroom and sit in on an ensemble class. We are happy to coordinate a time that works for both the instructor and your schedule.

To arrange a visit, please fill out the form (accessible via the button below) and we will get back to you promptly with available dates and times.

Audition Process

Workshop Ensemble Students
Audition Required

Potential workshop students are required to audition (see audition requirements below). The auditions are designed to be low-pressure experiences, intended to help us tailor our program to best support each student's musical journey.

Benefits of auditioning:

  1. Students will learn how the audition process works and that it isn't something they need to fear—auditions are just a way for us to gauge where a student is in their musical journey.

  2. Often, students don't realize what they can achieve with a bit of hard work. We've had multiple students who after auditioning, end up being placed in higher level ensembles.

  3. After auditions, students mostly come away with a better understanding of their growth opportunities and a sense of accomplishment for having gone through the process.

When and Where

Auditions for fall 2024 have not been sceduled

After new students register, an email is sent with a link to sign up for auditions. In-person auditions for new students are required so adjudicators can get a better sense of the student’s skill level and place them appropriately.

 Placement Process

After in-person and video auditions are held/received, artistic director Gilbert Castellanos will place students into ensembles.

Mr. Castellanos takes placements very seriously and places students into groups with others who are at similar levels.

Placements are not based on day or time of class meetings. Sports and other activities conflicting with our fall semester classes are common and these students usually audition for the spring semester.

"Learning music is a journey that is unique to each individual. Creating and playing jazz is not a competition, it's a collaboration with other musicians. Wherever a musician is in their journey, accepting their position and working to improve the group as a whole as well as individually, is the best pathway to growth. This can also be applied in everyday life!"


Artistic Director — Gilbert Castellanos

Placement announcements are sent via email.

Audition Requirements

Audition requirements will be posted when registration opens

If you wish to be added to the list of interested students for the 2024-2025 academic year, please fill out the form (accessible via the button below) and we will notifiy you when registration and audition requirements are posted.

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