Jazz at Settlement 

Settlement Music School is where Philly’s Jazz musicians get their start. Philadelphia plays a pivotal role in jazz history. From Billie Holiday to John Coltrane, many major jazz figures were born here and made Philly their home. A number of them got started right here at Settlement Music School.

Settlement’s jazz alums include Bassists Christian McBride and Stanley Clarke, Violinists John Blake, Jr. and Diane Monroe, the Eubanks brothers, and multi-instrumentalist Joey DeFrancesco, just to name a few. Internationally renowned vibraphonist Tony Miceli not only took lessons at Settlement as a kid, he now coaches Settlement’s Advanced Study Jazz Ensemble. Every day, jazz musicians of all ages and experience levels walk through our doors to practice, rehearse, perform, share ideas, and learn.  

Settlement is preparing the next generation of jazz musicians with classes and private instruction taught by the very best jazz teaching artists. Traditionally, students start with private lessons on an instrument, join a jazz ensemble in early middle school, enroll in music theory and improvisation classes, and eventually audition for higher level ensembles in late middle school and early high school. Settlement offers all of these courses of study, in combination or solo, and is prepared to meet students wherever they might be in their musical development journey.


Private Lessons

Settlement offers jazz instruction on Piano, Percussion, Guitar, Bass, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, and Violin. Interested in another jazz instrument? Contact us and we will do our best to find the right instructor for you. Lessons are offered weekly, with 30, 45, or 60 minute options.  


Advanced Study/Scholarship Ensemble

The Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Study Jazz Ensemble, taught by Tony Miceli, is for the most advanced students. This group, which is tuition-free, meets for 90 minutes on Tuesday nights, at 7:30 p.m. at the Wynnefield Branch, and performs frequently throughout the Philadelphia area. 


Auditions (Wheeler Pre-Advanced and Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Study Jazz Ensembles)

Taught by internationally renowned vibraphonist, Tony Miceli, these tuition-free groups meet for 90 minutes on Tuesday nights, at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. at the Wynnefield Branch. The groups perform frequently throughout the city. 2018-2019 venues included Whole Foods, the Parkway Central Branch of the Free Library, the Greater Philadelphia Social Innovation Awards, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Chairman’s Dinner, Mingle on 54th Street, Chris’ Jazz Café, and the Manayunk Brewery. Ensemble members often get to work with impressive guest artists. Last year’s clinicians included Larry McKenna, John Swana, Kevin Eubanks, and more.

Auditions for the 2019-2020 school year will take place on Tuesday, September 10 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wynnefield Branch. For more information, please contact Wynnefield Branch Director Alex Serio (215-320-2642).

Students who wish to audition must memorize the melody and chords of the following four compositions. Please note that students will not be allowed to audition with sheet music.

  • Billie’s Bounce
  • Blue Bossa
  • Little Sunflower
  • All Blues

To sign up for an audition, please complete the following form.


Rehearsal Schedules: 

Mary Louise Curtis Branch: Adult Combo, Tuesdays at 7 p.m.

Kardon-Northeast Branch: Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m.

Willow Grove: Thursdays, 6:30 p.m.

– Middle School, Tuesdays, 6 p.m.
– High School, Thursdays, 6 p.m.
– Wheeler Pre-Advanced Jazz Ensemble, Tuesdays, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
– Helen K. Schwartz Advanced Study Jazz Ensemble, Tuesdays, 7:30 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Camden: Mondays, 6 p.m.

Tuition (32 weeks):

$605 for a one hour class
$905 for a one and a half hour class
Financial Aid Available

Settlement offers jazz ensembles for jazz musicians ages 10-18 who have at least two years of experience on their instruments. Classes meet for 60 or 90 minutes weekly during the school year and include ensemble and small combo work as well as improvisation instruction. Ensembles regularly perform at events in the community.