Creative Growth Through Improvisation

While jazz piano instruction is at the heart of the offerings at Chapin Jazz Studio, students enjoy a wide range of other ways to learn about jazz and to experience “creative growth through improvisation.”

CJS Sunday Jazz Jam Session

Students of jazz who can read music and who range in age from young to more seasoned are welcome at the Sunday Jazz Jam Session, which happens one Sunday a month September through May. Bill starts each session with a coached tune. Then participants select the jazz standards on which they want to improvise. Fake books, drums, bass, piano, keyboards, and amps are all provided. Participants need to bring their horns and their spirit of adventure, an essential ingredient for growing creatively through improvisation. See Calendar

2023-24 CJS Sunday Jazz Jam dates ~ Sundays from 3:30-5:00 pm:

Oct 15 | Nov 12 | Dec 10 | Jan 14 | Feb 11 | Mar 17 | Apr 14 | May 5

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Audition Prep

Chapin Jazz Studio offers guidance and structure to students who are preparing for auditions for jazz groups at high school, college, Midwest Young Artists, Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA), and jazz festivals. Besides tips on learning the notes and rhythms, Bill also coaches students on proper time and feel, sight-reading, and preparation for performance.

Improv Coaching

Horn players, vocalists, guitarists, and bass players who are preparing to take solos with their school jazz groups benefit from coaching on how to construct a better solo. Understanding jazz harmony and progressions, choosing the best notes and scales, and playing with proper time and feel are just some of the ways students benefit from improv coaching.

Jazz Bass

Chapin Jazz Studio provides instruction in beginning jazz electric bass. Students will learn the electric bass fretboard, Latin bass patterns, and walking bass lines for blues and swing tunes.


CJS provides support for students interested in music composition, including study of composition instructional materials, guidance through the process of composing original works, listening to and study of musical scores, and opportunities to shared compositions with CJS students and their families.

Notation Software & Music Production

CJS provides instruction music notation on Finale and on music production with Apple Logic software.