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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 a big band.

About Youth Ensembles

Who Is Eligible?

We accept middle- and high-school music students who are able to play all 12 major scales and can read music. There are no age requirements.

For less experienced students, please see our workshop program.

What’s Included?

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

Curriculum: Ensemble students are expected to practice their assignments at home and be ready to perform in class. Assignments range from learning new music, practicing their parts, transcribing solos, composing tunes, etc. 

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

Performance Opportunities: Ensembles will have the opportunity to perform in at least one Wednesday evening concert feature at The Young Lions Series at Panama 66, as well as at our All-Ensembles Showcases. Furthermore, select conservatory ensembles will have the chance to showcase their talents at Jazz @ the Jacobs, Rady Shell, Street Fairs, KSDS Jazz Live Series, private/corporate events, and festivals throughout the state.


Tuition is paid by the acendemic year. There is also a reccurring monthly payment plan available.

  • $1,250 for the acedemic year

  • $25 non-refundable registration fee

  • There are no class material fees

Billing invoices are sent via email after ensemble placements. We accept check and credit cards. 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.  



2024-2025 – Registration Now Open!

Now accepting registration for the 2024-25 academic year.

*All new and returning students must register.

  • New students will receive an email to sign up for in-person auditions.

  • Returning students are required to submit a video audition.

Important Dates:

  • August 1: Registration Closes 

  • August 3: In-Person Auditions for NEW Students

  • August 5: Audition Videos Due For RETURNING Students 

  • September 14, 15, 16, 17, 19: Classes Begin

$25 non-refundable registration fee

Audition Process

Students NEW to YLJC
In-Person Auditions
  • For students who were NOT in the program last year (2023-2024), YLJC requires an in-person audition.

  • YLJC workshop students must also audition in-person after completing the workshop program.

Both new YLJC students and returning workshop students are required to participate in an in-person audition. Once new students have registered, they will receive an email containing a link to sign up for an audition slot.

In-person auditions are crucial for adjudicators to accurately assess each student's skill level and determine the most appropriate ensemble placement.

In-person auditions for Fall 2024-25 will take place on August 3, 2024 at YLJC's Rehearsal Space (Liberty Station)

Returning Students
Video Auditions
  • Only for students that were in a YLJC ensemble last year—2023-24. If you are returning to YLJC but were NOT in an ensemble last year, an in-person audition is required. 

  • YLJC workshop students must audition in-person after completeing the workshop program.

  • Returning students who would prefer to have an in-person audition are encouraged to sign up.

Returning YLJC students are required to submit an audition videos. Fall 2024-25 audition videos are due Aug. 5, 2024

Audition submissions must be compiled into one video. Videos must be uploaded to YouTube and submitted using YLJC’s Audition Form. Cell phone videos are acceptable.

 Placement Process

Upon completion of in-person and video auditions, artistic director Gilbert Castellanos thoughtfully places students into ensembles alongside peers of similar skill levels, with careful consideration given to each individual's abilities.

Placement decisions are based solely on musical ability and are not influenced by the day or time of class meetings. We understand that conflicts with sports or other activities may arise during our fall semester, and as such, we encourage students who have scheduling conflicts in the fall, to 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!"


- Gilbert Castellanos

Placement announcements are sent via email.

Audition Requirements

Carefully Read and Follow the Requirements

Click on your instrument to download the requirements. Auditions will not be considered if requirements are not followed.

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