Jazz is not just music, it’s a way of life, it’s a way of being, a way of thinking.Nina Simone
In Elefante’s prestigious New Jersey Jazz Academy, students are fully immersed in a jazz-centered experience with these focal points:
- Read jazz rhythmic figures
- Learn how to improvise
- Learn jazz history
- Learn from and play alongside a variety of professional musicians, educators, and students of Kean University
- Gain more competitive skills and techniques to bring to their school, regional, state and national band auditions and performances.
We invite middle and high school students with at least 2 years of playing experience on any of the following instruments: alto, tenor, or baritone saxophone; trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drum set/percussion, flute/piccolo, vibraphone and xylophone; and vocals.
The New Jersey Jazz Academy is directed by Grammy-nominated educator Vinnie Turturiello. Students will play alongside professional musicians Billy Wilkins, Ron Chat (Bari Sax), Albert Johnson (tenor sax with the Joe Baracata Big Band) and Sean Newell of the Manhattan Conservatory of Music.
DATES: July 24-28
REQUIREMENTS: Middle and high school students with at least 2 years experience
LOCATION: Elefante Music – 1790 Springfield Ave, New Providence NJ
PERFORMANCE: August 1 – New Providence National Night Out, time TBA
COVID PRECAUTIONS for Jazz Academy
This program will be held indoors. In keeping with the recommendations regarding the prevention of the spread of COVID-19, all students and teachers must wear masks for group classes. For woodwind and brass instruments, bell covers must be used. Students and teachers may pull down their face masks to play woodwind and brass instruments, but masks should immediately be pulled back over noses and mouths when not playing.
Meet the Instructors
Vinnie Turturiello is a Grammy-nominated music educator. His Scotch Plains-Fanwood jazz band, The Moonglowers, has taken top honors in the NJ Association for Jazz Education’s Division II competition in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He is an adjunct professor at Kean University and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.
Al Elefante, founder of Elefante Music, studied at Kings College and the Manhattan School of Music. He studied clarinet with Charles Passhaus, Charles Russo, and Leon Russianoff.
He is a fixture of the local jazz community and performs regularly with his band Elefante & Green.
He opened Elefante Music in 1996 where he continues to teach private lessons in New Providence.
Dave Heilman studied at New Jersey City University. He is co-founder of nationally touring synth-pop group Jupiter One, which signed a two-album deal with Warner Music Group. The group recently appeared on the finale of FX’s Pose. He has over 10 years of experience teaching privately. Dave mentored on Norway’s The Voice and served as a clinician for jazz ensembles at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. His Broadway performances include Swing!, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, Burn the Floor, and STOMP. He also collaborated and recorded with Grammy-nominated artists Regina Spektor, Lars Vaular, Bernhoft, and Sondre Lerche and has performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and Late Night with David Letterman.
Summer 2020 Virtual Project:
Jump, Jive, & Wail
Fall 2020 Virtual Project:
Flip, Flop, & Fly
More Jazz Academy Videos
Kean University Performance
A unique experience for jazz students, the New Jersey Jazz Academy at Elefante Music is a prestigious program for students who aim to be top players in their school jazz ensembles. The Academy is open to students who play alto, tenor, or baritone saxophone; trumpet, trombone, piano, guitar, bass, drumset/percussion, flute, vibraphone and xylophone. Vocalists are also welcome.
The New Jersey Jazz Academy is led by Program Director Vinnie Turturiello, a Grammy-nominated music educator. His Scotch Plains-Fanwood jazz band, The Moonglowers, has taken top honors in the NJ Assocation for Jazz Education’s Division II competition in 2014, 2015, and 2016. He is an adjunct professor at Kean University and Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.