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We offer world-class musical training with a specialist pathway for those wishing to study jazz and improvisation, ranging from individual improvisation lessons up to a full study programme for jazz specialists.

The opportunity to study on the specialist music scheme with a jazz specialism is available for gifted young jazz musicians on any instrument, which provides the ideal environment for talented and motivated young musicians to develop their improvisation skills to the highest level.

We tailor the course to each individual so pupils can enter at elementary, intermediate or advanced level. Within the busy musical life of the school, it offers a great opportunity to advanced jazz pupils and those pupils interested in developing their improvising skills.

Our jazz department is run by Edward Leaker with a team of dedicated tutors. Jazz is taught in weekly combo workshops and individual lessons and covers key areas of jazz learning, including harmony, rhythm, historical context, transcription and playing with other pupil musicians.

What We Offer

  • Up to two hours of one-to-one tuition per week with specialist jazz staff
  • Tuition on a second instrument
  • Traditional study of each instrument and access to non jazz based ensembles as appropriate
  • Wells Cathedral School Jazz Orchestra (The premier Big Band at Wells)
  • Jazz Ensemble (for pupils in Years 7-9)
  • Regular masterclasses with leading players from the UK and abroad
  • Jazz combos – intermediate and advanced groups taught in weekly workshops
  • Improvisation classes or one-to-one tuition available to all instrumentalists
  • Pupil combos and jam sessions
  • Performance classes
  • Use of iMac loaded with transcription tools and iTunes library
  • Numerous performance opportunities outside of school

Ensembles and Performance Opportunities

One of the many benefits and joys of receiving a musical education at Wells is the opportunity to take part in weekly orchestral and ensemble rehearsals. Within Jazz, we offer:

Jazz combo 1: Premiere small jazz band for jazz specialists
Jazz combo 2: Second small group for those with a particular interest in jazz and improvising
Jazz Ensemble: The second big band open to all pupils year 7 up and grade 5 or above
Jazz Orchestra: Premiere jazz group in the school, mainly sixth form specialists

Meet our Staff

Staff Structure

Edward Leaker – Co-ordinator of Jazz Studies

Jazz Double Bass
Yuri Goloubev (Consultant)

Jazz Piano
Dhevdhas Nair
Nick Malcolm

Jazz Drum Kit
Andy Tween
Jon Whitfield


Jazz Trumpet
Nick Malcolm

Jazz Guitar and Electric Bass
Jerry Crozier-Cole

Jazz Saxohone
Edward Leaker
Andrew Tweed (Consultant)

About some of our specialist staff

Masterclasses and Visiting Artists

Our Jazz Department has attracted a host of internationally-acclaimed artists to give masterclasses, workshops and performances.

Percy Pursglove – Trumpet/Improvisation
Gareth Lockrane – Improvisation/Flute (Director of jazz course for Jnr RAM)
Iain Ballamy – Saxophone (ECM recording artist, composer, RAM professor)
Ralph Salmins – Drums (Renowned session musician)
Pee Wee Ellis – Saxophone (‘Godfather of Funk’ and MD for James Brown & Van Morrison)
Mike Mower – Flute (Composer and jazz musician)
Laura Jurd – Trumpet (Award winning UK Jazz musician)
Martin Shaw – Trumpet (International Jazz Artist)
Pete Long – Saxophone (UK Big Band leader, Jazz and Session musician)
Ernie Watts – Saxophone (US / International Jazz and Session Artist)
Iain Matthews – Drums (Drummer with Kasabian)
Nikki Iles – Piano (UK Jazz artist and Composer)
Byron Wallen – Trumpet (International Jazz Artist)

Latest News

After Wells

Our past jazz pupils have gone on to study jazz and improvisation at music college with many now pursuing successful careers in the jazz and commercial music world. Old Wellensian jazz musicians include James Gardiner-Bateman (Saxophone – RAM Jazz course, currently touring with Paloma Faith), Doug Harper (Drums – now working in the West End) and Henry Spencer (Trumpet – GSMD Jazz course, leader of award winning band ‘Juncture’).

Summer School

International Jazz Week

Sunday 4th August to Saturday 10th August 2024

Join us for an inspiring and fun week

Our world-class tutors will nurture musicians (aged 13-18) to develop their jazz and improvisation skills within a creative and supportive environment. We offer two distinct strands on our summer course based on ability. One strand is designed for musicians who are experienced in jazz playing, and the other strand (new this year) is for instrumentalists who would like to learn how to play jazz and improvise from scratch. Please feel free to contact us on 01749 834388 / [email protected] if you’re unsure which strand is right for you.

£995 Residential £795 Non-residential

Join our Jazz Department