Student Letter



Please check the website for specific audition information. Click on“Audition info”; then “Audition repertoire”.

All auditions are scheduled on Sunday, July 22. Check in at the main Workshop Central Room. Signs will be posted to direct you. This ten to fifteen minute audition will help us evaluate your level of playing so that we can place you in an appropriate performance group (Combo) and Master Class. You will work with these groups all week, and then perform with your Combo at the final concert. YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY ACCEPTED INTO THE WORKSHOP. We want to be sure to place you where you will feel comfortable, with people of comparable experience so that you get the most out of your week!


*YOU NEED TO REVIEW THIS INFORMATION AND RESPOND TO WITH YOUR CHOICE OF THEORY LEVEL. You will not need to take a theory test for placement in class unless you wish to be placed in Level IV.   You will take the Level IV placement test on audition day, July 22 and on that test, indicate WHICH of the Level IV classes you wish to take if you pass the test. (If you took and passed the test last year and were placed in Level IV, you will not need to take the test again, but you must still email us which SPECIFIC Level IV class you want). We have last year’s theory results so let us know if you are not sure if you’ve already passed the Level IV test. Please read the following descriptions of the various theory levels and decide which one is most appropriate for your level of knowledge and skills. Anyone who does not respond by email to with a selection of theory level will automatically be placed in Theory Level I.

DRUMMERS do not need to sign up for a theory class, instead you will have 2 Master Classes a day.

Level I: Most basic. You will work on key signatures, major scales, triads and their corresponding scales; introduction to modes.

Level II: You should know everything listed in Level I. In addition you will work on modes, 7th chords and their corresponding scales; introduction to the ii-V-I progression.

Level III: You should know everything in Level II. In addition you will work on understanding modal harmony and navigating major and minor ii–V–I’s and other chord progressions; introduction to modes of melodic minor.

Level IV: You should know everything in Level III.


Advanced Theoretical Analysis: Study advanced harmonies and structures, including tritone substitutions, Coltrane changes, modes of melodic minor, and altered blues progressions.

Advanced Improvisation Class: You must be very proficient on your instrument! You should know several tunes by memory and be prepared to develop your soloing skills.

Introduction to Arranging: Learn the basics of arranging, different types of chord voicings, instrumental transcriptions, how to write rhythm parts.

Intermediate Arranging: You have some arranging experience already.

Advanced Arranging: You must have extensive arranging experience. This is a greater in-depth exploration of instrument voicings and how to write in different styles. Please submit an example of your work on audition day.

Rhythm Class: How to play in the groove while playing jazz, blues, funk, world music (African, Cuban, Brazilian, Indian) as well as odd time signatures.

On Monday, if the teacher feels you did not choose the appropriate level, you will be referred to the Director of Curriculum for assignment to a different class. If you can tell you are in over your head, talk to the Director at the end of the first day, and we will find a better placement for you.


Monday, July 23: Registration will begin at 8:30am in the Central Workshop Room. (Drummers, guitarists, bass players and pianists need to arrive at 8:15am to move their equipment into their combo rooms where it will remain for the entire week.) Come to the main registration table to pick up your nametag. You will be given a new nametag each day, which should be worn chest high where it can be easily seen. This is how we take roll – if you don’t pick up your nametag, we start looking for you!

Tuesday through Friday, July 24 – July 27: Plan to arrive no later than 8:45am. Classes will begin promptly at 9:00am. If you need to arrive earlier because of transportation issues, our staff will be on campus by 7:45 am each day. There will be no adult supervision before 7:45 am; do not drop off prior to this time. Please check the website: for daily class schedules. Schedules will be handed out on Monday and posted around the facility. Classes will end each day at 4:30pm EXCEPT for Friday (see Friday’s schedule in the “Concert Information” section below.) Staff will be on campus until 5:00pm Monday through Thursday. Again, there will be no adult supervision after 5:00pm.


This is teacher supervised, voluntary and everyone is welcome. On stage in the main Workshop Central Room.


Come see your faculty perform in the intimate, club-like setting Tuesday and Thursday nights.   Check website for time and personnel each night.


Beginning Monday there will be free choice classes every day at 1:00pm. There will be sign up sheets outside the Workshop Central Room each morning, through lunchtime. Sign up for any class you want each day, with your friends if you wish, a different class or the same class every day – you choose!


If you need to buy anything, Lamorinda Music Store will be open at the LafSMW every day.

HORN PLAYERS: Woodwind players should bring extra reeds. Brass players should bring needed oils or slide grease.

PIANISTS: Please bring your own keyboard, stand, cords and amplifier. You MUST CONTACT US IF YOU DON’T OWN A KEYBOARD AND NEED TO BORROW ONE. We have a LIMITED number of keyboards and amps available to loan out for the week. Prior arrangements MUST be made with the camp director, Bob Athayde at You will leave everything in the Small Gymnasium on Sunday, Audition Day. You do NOT need to bring it into your audition room at audition time. You will be responsible for moving your keyboard (either your own or borrowed) from the Small Gymnasium to your assigned combo room on Monday morning, and back again on Friday after the last combo practice. Please arrive by 8:15am Monday morning to move your equipment to your assigned combo room.

If you are borrowing a piano, please repack it with all cords and pedals at the end of the last combo practice on Friday afternoon. Label everything with your name using blue masking tape. DO NOT plug a keyboard into a bass amp or guitar amp and play loud. Those amps are not built for the tones and frequencies that a keyboard can produce. You can damage the amps!

GUITAR, BASS PLAYERS: Please bring your own instrument, cords and amplifier. Contact us if you don’t own an amp (see below.) You should bring extra strings and cords. Label everything including your instrument and case with your name using blue masking tape. You will leave everything in the small gymnasium on Sunday. You do not need to bring your amp into your audition room, as we have amps for that. Please arrive by 8:15am Monday morning to move your equipment to your assigned combo room.

We will have guitar amps in the guitar master class rooms, and bass amps in the bass master class rooms, as well as a few others distributed in various rooms for jam sessions.

Standup Bass Players: Bring a pad or a puck to protect the floor from your endpin and to keep your bass from slipping. You will be charged for damage to the floors from endpins. We also recommend that you bring Band-aids! Playing 6 hours a day can wreck your fingers, even with really good calluses. YOU MAY LEAVE YOUR STANDUP BASS IN YOUR COMBO ROOM AT THE END OF EACH DAY. On Friday after the last combo practice, you will move your amp out, either to designated Staging Rooms, or move it directly to your ride home. We will have amps on stage for the final performance. You won’t need yours for that, but you will need your instrument!

DO NOT plug your guitar into a bass amp or keyboard amp and play loud. Those amps are not made for the frequencies and energy of electric guitar, and can be damaged.

DO NOT plug your bass into a guitar or keyboard amp and play loud. You can damage the amp. If you must use a guitar amp because that is the only thing available, keep it low. This won’t work for Jam Sessions, so find a bass amp for that!


YOU NEED TO BRING YOUR OWN DRUM SET. It will be locked up in your combo room all week. If you don’t own a set you will need to rent one. We have drum sets for Master Class but you need your own set for Combo. Label EVERY piece of equipment with your name using blue tape. You will leave everything in the small Gymnasium on Sunday July 22. A drum set will be provided for your audition. Please arrive by 8:15am Monday morning to move your equipment to your assigned combo room.

Do not change cymbals or hardware in Master or Theory Classes!

BRING A MAT OR RUG FOR YOUR SET!!! This is to protect the floors, and to keep your bass drum from “walking” across the room. Industrial door mats 36” x 48” work well. Office Depot, Office Max, Home Depot all carry them. Carpet scraps work well too, up to 48”x72”. You will be charged for any damage to the floors from your drum set.

We will have drum sets in the master class rooms, and a few others distributed in various rooms for jam sessions.

On Friday after the last combo practice, you will move your set out, either to the designated Staging Room, or move it directly to your ride home. For the final performances, we will have drum sets on stage, so you won’t need yours.

If you have rented a drum set from a store, please take it apart and stack the drums near the door after your last combo rehearsal on Friday. If drum gig bags were provided, put the drums into them, and put the hardware in the hardware bag.

On Friday, at the end of Combo rehearsal, everyone should plan on helping their combo-mates move the heavier gear (keyboards, drums and amps) and the music stands back to the Small Gymnasium.


Some drums, amps and keyboards will be loaned to the Lafayette Summer Music Workshop. If you are using any of this equipment, please be sure to take care of it as if it were your own (or even better!)

If you need to rent equipment, please do so before the workshop begins. Our vendor, Lamorinda Music can help take care of your needs. If you have questions, please contact the camp director, Bob Athayde ( Students are not permitted to play equipment or instruments that they don’t own unless directed by an instructor. If you’re not sure, ask.


Morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack will be served daily, Monday through Friday. Breakfast and dinner are not provided by the Workshop.


The final concert will be in the Performing Arts Center at Acalanes High School on Friday, July 27th from 3:30pm to 10:00pm. The class schedule will be slightly different as the concert starts early. It is free and open to the public. Each combo will perform, led by their instructor. After all the combos have played, the instructors will perform – an exciting and uplifting finale to a great week! Many people choose to stay and listen to many combos or even the entire concert, and we do encourage that, but students are free to go home with their families after they perform .

Everyone is invited to bring a picnic dinner or buy dinner at the venue. Generations in Jazz will be selling dinners, which must be preordered by Tuesday July 24. Order forms will be available on audition day, July 22nd and Monday and Tuesday during the Workshop.

The Combo performance schedule will be posted on our website by Wednesday afternoon so you can invite your family and friends.  Combo teachers will award a $100 scholarship for next year’s workshop to an outstanding student from each combo, and these awards will be announced at the end of each combo performance.


To contact us: To reach us on campus July 21 – July 28, the cell phone numbers are:

925-914-0797 or 925-914-9390.

Email anytime at or

Medication: Notify us if your child is taking medication so we can inform the on-site doctor.

Nametags: All participants must wear their nametag at all times. Any student without a nametag will not be admitted to class. Your nametag is also your ticket for snacks and lunch.

Missing a class/day: If you are going to miss the workshop any day for any reason, please call one of our two phones (listed above).

Permission to leave campus: Students under the age of 18 are not permitted to leave campus during the hours of the Workshop without a written note from a parent, delivered to and approved by Bob Athayde, Director. A student will only be allowed to leave with people you (the parent/guardian) authorize. Parents, siblings and friends are not allowed to attend workshop classes without prior consent of the Director. If you are over the age of 18, please notify the Director if you need to leave campus.

BART Shuttle: There will be a daily sign up sheet for students who wish to take BART. We will have morning and afternoon shuttle service Monday – Thursday, and Friday morning, but you must sign up in advance. **There is no BART shuttle on Sunday, audition day or Friday afternoon or evening!

Supervision: No students are permitted in any classroom without instructor supervision, especially during lunch and break times. Students may jam only with instructor’s permission and supervision.

Be responsible: If your child has damaged property or equipment belonging to the school or Workshop, you will be financially liable for repair or replacement. The Workshop is not responsible or liable for lost, damaged or stolen items.


Finally, the most important thing to bring to the Workshop is a great attitude. Everyone will be wearing a nametag, so call people by name. You’ll be surprised at how many friends you’ll make. Remain open to the instructors’ comments. If they ask you to do something that you don’t want to do—try it anyway. They are there to help you. If you like the way someone plays, compliment him or her. If someone compliments you, say thank you. We’re all here to learn and make music, and have fun. I want each of you to have a great experience—both musically and personally—one that will have a lasting effect long after summer is over. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at or call me at 925-914-0797.


Bob Athayde, Workshop Director


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