Upon joining Trinity Laban’s Jazz Department, you will enter a vibrant and dynamic community of improvisers. Though grounded in the jazz tradition, we are constantly looking forward and we invite you to draw on a wealth of diverse influences within these traditions, and reinterpret them in new ways as you find your individual voice. We will support you as you develop as a musician, an improviser and an innovative performing artist, enabling you to reach your full creative potential.
Jazz at Trinity Laban is holistic, enabling you to become the artist you want to be. Whilst we embrace and celebrate jazz traditions, the Jazz Department here is contemporary in outlook, balancing skill and individual artistry and ensuring a student-centred approach.
Jazz is fundamentally a collaborative music-making process, and as well as developing your individual musicianship through a generous number of one-to-one lessons, you will learn to interact and collaborate with your fellow musicians through playing in a range of ensembles and combos. Classes are practice-based, with focus on jazz harmony, rhythm, jazz history, arranging and composition, and coaching rhythm and horn sections. We celebrate the origins of jazz, with opportunities to study African, Brazilian and Cuban music, and we focus on shaping the jazz of the future by nurturing creative composition, and collaborative projects and concepts.
Our staff, drawn from London’s exhilarating jazz scene, play and perform with students, replicating the feel of the wider jazz community.
In September 2018 we welcomed new staff including Winston Rollins, Cleveland Watkiss MBE and Kevin LeGendre.
Learn more about the Jazz Teaching Staff:
|Hans Koller (Head of Jazz)|
|Phil Robson (visiting tutor)|
Trinity Laban Big Band
Trinity Laban Jazz Orchestra
Jazz is a collaborative process, growing organically from diverse musical cultures. Fundamental to the process of becoming a jazz musician is the art of reacting to and supporting each other. You will not only be encouraged to collaborate amongst your peers, but also with other musicians, dancers and artists from across Trinity Laban and beyond.
A recent collaboration with MOBO award-winning ensemble Empirical, themselves Trinity Laban Jazz alumni, saw students and professionals alike experimenting with traditional and contemporary approaches to jazz. The energy and dynamism of these young musicians characterises our commitment to innovative performance.
Performance is the heartbeat which pulses through our Department. At Trinity Laban, you will gain extensive experience in large ensembles, whether you’re playing classic jazz compositions in the Big Band (led by Winston Rollins) or showcasing work by contemporary composers and Trinity Laban students in the Jazz Orchestra, led by Mark Lockheart and Laura Jurd.
London is buzzing with jazz venues, and we take full advantage of this. With Oliver’s Jazz Club on our doorstep in Greenwich, our regular Beats in the Bar series at Blackheath Halls, and performances at the London Jazz Festival, there is always somewhere for you to display your talents. Our relationships with jazz clubs across the city result in regular performance opportunities at exciting venues, such as Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Southbank Centre, the Pizza Express Jazz Club in Dean Street and the Vortex Jazz Club.
Find out more about Music Performance Opportunities.
Situated at the heart of London’s thriving jazz scene, the department attracts acclaimed artists from across the globe who come to share their experience with you. Recent visiting artists include Steve Cardenas, Norma Winstone, Ethan Iverson, Marc Copland, Jonathan Kreisberg, Jed Levy, Julian Arguelles, Robert Mitchell, Judy Niemack, Phil Robson and Lorraine Baker.
The Trinity Laban Jazz department boasts a wide range of instruments and equipment, which are available for students to loan on a short-term and long-term basis. The collection includes double basses, alto/tenor/baritone saxophones, and a wide range of brass instruments. There are permanent drum kits, amps and pianos located in all of our jazz rooms, and a number of drum kits, amps, PAs, microphones and keyboards available to book out for personal practice and external gigs (subject to availability).
We are encouraging applicants to audition in person where possible. However, if for whatever reason you are unable to attend a live audition in London online recorded auditions are available for all applicants.
Prior to audition, you must apply via UCAS Conservatoires. All auditions will be held in London at our Music Faculty between mid-November and mid-December. The address for the Music Faculty is: Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, King Charles Court, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10 9JF.
We will endeavour to schedule your audition as soon as possible and will update you with your audition date and time via UCAS Conservatoires and email. If you have any issues making this time, please let us know as soon as possible on the email on this page.
- All auditions will include a short discussion with the panel
- We do not have a dress code for auditions
- Where applicable an accompanist will be provided for you, you will have a rehearsal time of around 10 minutes with the accompanist prior to your audition. If you are bringing your own accompanist, let us know as soon as possible on the email below.
- If you have any accessibility requirements, please contact StudentServicesEnquiries@trinitylaban.ac.uk.
- Auditions do not include a written paper
- If you have also applied for BA Music Performance and Industry, details will be sent separately. You can find information on audition requirements and submission deadlines here.
Jazz applicants perform two pieces – either two standards, or one standard and an original composition – that best illustrate your interest and ability in jazz and areas of music that involve jazz improvisation. Any original composition brought in should allow for improvised elements in the performance.
For jazz auditions, a band is provided. Applicants are asked to use the rhythm section in a quartet or trio setting. This band consists of the following, less the applicant’s own instrument:
– lead instrument (this may be a vocalist)
– piano (or guitar)
– double bass
Rhythm section applicants will take their place in the trio setting. Applicants may not play to a backing track. Jazz vocalists, please note that microphones will not be provided. If you require a microphone, please bring your own. Jazz drummers should bring their own cymbals and clutch.
Prior to submitting a recorded audition, you must apply via UCAS Conservatoires. Recordings will not be considered until a UCAS Conservatoires application has been submitted. When asked on UCAS Conservatoires where you wish to audition, simply click ‘recorded audition’ or ‘online’. You can watch our tutorial on submitting your UCAS Conservatoires application, for step-by-step instructions. Once you’ve submitted your application, our admissions team will be in touch with further information. Please keep an eye on your emails and check your spam inbox.
The deadline for submission of recorded audition materials is 28 October 2022.
Recording Your Audition
There should be two elements to your recording: a speech and a performance. You must submit a video recording of your speech and performance, and not only an audio recording. We do not require high production recordings, normally a recording on a phone or digital camera will suffice, but please check that the audio and video quality is clear before submitting your auditions.
We recommend sourcing a live accompanist if possible, however we can accept pre-recorded backing tracks and unaccompanied recordings. If you are playing with others, please make it clear who you are in the recording. There is no dress code for recorded auditions.
For the speech, you should record a passage of yourself speaking in English. For your speech you should:
- Introduce yourself by name
- Talk about your musical background and the training you’ve had
- Talk about your musical ambitions and your reasons for applying for the programme of study.
For the performance, you should record two to three works (or extracts) – further information on instrument requirements are below. Please note that the panel will wish to have some idea of the range of your ability, so provide works that demonstrate contrasting musical styles and instrumental/vocal technique.
You may be invited to an online discussion with the panel via Zoom, you will be updated via email if this has been scheduled.
Jazz applicants perform two pieces – either two standards, or one standard and an original composition – that best illustrates your interest and ability in jazz and areas of music that involve jazz improvisation. Some knowledge of jazz-based improvisation should be demonstrated, but non-jazz improvisation may also be employed.
Submitting Your Audition on Embark
You must submit your audition via Embark. To submit a recorded audition, you will first need to create an account before submitting your recordings or portfolio. For step-by-step guidance on submitting your recorded auditions, watch our Embark tutorial.
You can submit multiple files to Embark (i.e. your audition does not need to be submitted as one take). If you have any issues with uploading your files, you can also upload your files to a video sharing website (such as YouTube or Vimeo) and paste the links into a word or PDF document to upload into the Additional Documents section.
You do not need to submit materials for every section, e.g. you only need to submit Transcripts or Additional Documents if you would like the panel to see these.
There are no written papers for auditions.
Please note, if the performance on the recording is found not to be your own, the place will be withdrawn immediately and no fees will be refunded.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our success in supporting students to develop their creative voices is reflected in the professional accomplishments of our graduates, who include many of London’s finest emerging jazz musicians.
Moses Boyd graduated in 2016. He won the MOBO Best Jazz Act in 2015 and 2017, and releases music under his own label Exodus Records.
Nubya Garcia graduated in 2016. She is a member of Nérija septet and she recently won 2018 Breakthrough Act of the Year at the Jazz FM Awards. Read about her journey on the Evening Standard website, and The Guardian.
Elliot Galvin graduated in 2014. He performs with many different ensembles including the Elliot Galvin Trio and Dinosaur. He released a critically acclaimed debut album ‘Dreamland’ in 2014 and was awarded European Young Jazz Musician of the Year 2014.
Laura Jurd graduated in 2013. She was a BBC New Generation Artist for 2015–17 and founded the Chaos Collective. She was awarded a 2015 Parlimentary Jazz Award for Jazz Instumentalist of the Year. Her Mercury-nominated band Dinosaur received a rare 5-star review in The Guardian and have extensively toured Europe.
Emilia Mårtensson graduated in 2007. She has released three albums and recently won Vocalist of the Year at the 2016 Parliamentary Jazz awards.
London five-piece, Ezra Collective, featuring four Trinity Laban alumni and one current student, have released two EP’s and toured them across the UK and Europe. Their second EP won Best Jazz Album at Giles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards 2018 and they were named Jazz Act of the Year in the 2018 JazzFM Awards.
Read more about recent graduates Moses Boyd, Nubya Garcia and Sheila Maurice-Grey: The British jazz explosion: meet the musicians rewriting the rulebook (The Guardian, April 2018)
To view the impressive organisations that our alumni have worked with, visit Alumni Destinations.
For more information on the successes of Trinity Laban Jazz graduates and what they have to say about the course, visit Alumni Profiles.
Hollywood Role for Jazz AlumAward-winning British singer Cherise Adams-Burnett features in hotly anticipated film Downton Abbey: A New EraWed 4 May 2022
Taking Jazz on TourOur students are mixing up their performance schedule to help lead change for the future of jazz.Thu 18 November 2021
Jazz at Trinity Laban
Studying Jazz at Trinity Laban means you will never be short of places to perform. Check out our gallery to see where our students have performed in leading venues around London.
- 1 - Trinity Laban Jazz students
- 2 - Trinity Laban Contemporary Jazz Ensemble
- 3 - Rehearsals at Vortex Jazz Club
- 4 - Trinity Laban Jazz students performing at Ronnie Scott's, London
- 5 - The Gold Medal Competition held at Kings Place, London
What our students say
Elliot Galvin / BMus Jazz and MMus Composition