Course  Descriptions

Jazzmaster Workout Classes and Lessons by Jim Grantham
Our main goal is the propagation and support of live, creative, improvisational music. In the face of increasing conformity and commercial hype, we work to promote the sound of the individual spirit. We play, produce, teach and encourage all forms of jazz. The Jazzmaster Workout can be used by jazz improvisation instructors and students anywhere in the world. However, students in the San Francisco Bay Area have the additional opportunity to learn directly from creator Jim Grantham.

Private Lessons
Theory, Musicianship, Improvisation (all instruments)
The technique of Saxophone & Flute
$100 for 1.5 hours or $125 for 2 hours
Private Lessons are the most effective way for students to get the Jazzmaster Workout program individualized for them. This format allows a student to pick a convenient schedule, proceed at their own pace, get personal feedback on abilities and problems, and work on personal projects and performance. Many students take the Jazz Theory classes for the information and eartraining and also take private lessons for performance abilities and personal coaching. Private lessons are usually every other week.

For a basic outline of content covered in Private and Group Private lessons, use the Group Class table below. There is also additional content based on the individual student.

Group Private Lessons
Theory, Musicianship, Improvisation (all instruments)
2.5 hours, typically every other week
$50-$75/class paid in advance for a 5-lesson series
For small groups of students wishing to save money. Group lessons are from 2-5 students and pro-rated based on enrollment. GPLs meet every two weeks and require a deposit for 5 weeks up front. GPL are also flexible on meeting times based on group agreement. If you have friends who wish to get together to save money this is proving to be a very effective option. Call for info.

Group Classes – Jazzmaster Workout Workshop Series
Theory, Musicianship, Improvisation (all instruments)
$295 for one 8-week series or $50 per class
The Jazzmaster Workout classes are a progressive set of six 8-week workshop series. The 2 1/2 hour classes alternate a week of theory and ear-training with a week of practical application, meeting weeknights from 7:30–10 PM. All workshops use the Jazzmaster Cookbook, featuring the Jazzmaster Workout Improvisation practice method by Jim Grantham. All instruments are welcome.


All classes offer intensive musicianship training and in-depth improvisational theory. These are not jam sessions. The classes are highly structured and include extensive ear training, theory, and practical practice techniques. Advanced classes involve tune writing and in-depth analysis of standards and jazz tunes.

No classes are currently being offered.  To get on a mailing list that announces new classes or groups and upcoming gigs please send your name and email to Jim at and request to be on the mailing list.


Jazzmaster Workout Improvisation Method
All classes and private lessons are based on the Jazzmaster Workout improvisation practice method, which introduces topics in a logical fashion and provides the framework for much more intensive woodshedding after the classes are completed.

There is a required Theory book and Workbook (combined into one book entitled the Jazzmaster Cookbook) for the series. The Jazzmaster Workout CDs are optional but are highly recommended for those students who really want to advance their playing technique.

For strong, self-motivated students the world over, it is possible to acquire the Jazzmaster Workout Theory book, Workbook and CDs and work on your own. However, the classes are designed to ensure a complete and thorough assimilation of both the theoretical and practical concepts.

Student Resources

This area provides useful links and information for jazz students. If you would like to see some particular link or information on this page, please email

Jazzmaster Cookbook Answer Key
Looking for a place to check your answers while working through the Jazzmaster Cookbook. Here is the Jazzmaster Cookbook Answer Key.

The Great Gig Book (also known as the “Blue” Book)
This is an incredible compilation of the tunes most played on casual and jazz gigs. Very useful for working musicians and students. Good chord changes and lyrics. For more info, sample page, and tunelist, email us at

The Jamlist

Upcoming young (or old) and developing musicians have a rough time these days finding places to play and to meet one another. To help musicians and students locate other compatible musical friends, Oakland musician and jazz educator Jim Grantham publishes the The Jamlist

A listing of people who want to meet others in order to practice, jam, form rehearsal groups, or start bands. The listings indicate instrument, level, and style of music, as well as city, telephone number and email of each list. The jam list is free, available to all online. With a few exploratory calls, you should be able to find some new friends and opportunities to further the joy of music-making.

To join the Jamlist, email the following details to

  1. First and last name
  2. Email
  3. City (bay area)
  4. Primary Instrument
  5. Secondary instruments
  6. Level (B) beginner, (I) intermediate, (A) advanced, (P) professional
  7. Style(s) (J) jazz, (R) rock, ((C) classical, (P) pop, (B) blues, (F) folk, (L) Latin, (S) soul, or other styles


Other Links

JAZCLASS with Michael Furstner – Award-winning Music Education site with books, CD-ROMs and online lessons on Blues, Jazz, Improvisation, Theory, Learning to Read Music, Piano Technique and Saxophone. Clark Suprynowicz runs a great series of jazz combos at different levels in the East Bay Area.

Student Feedback

“It’s the music course I’ve been looking for for years.”

“more confident and creative with melody and enjoy playing with friends a lot more!”

“I feel my hearing has been helped much, especially hearing chord changes and modes.”

“This course is clarifying what I need and giving it to me. TOOLS!”

“class structure is easy—teaching manner is open and receptive to individuals.”

“For the first time in history, it’s beginning to look as if there MAY BE SOME HOPE!”

“stimulating, challenging and fun, a highlight of my week.”

“A lot more info that I couldn’t get elsewhere. The ear training centering on tonal centers has been the most valuable aspect of the course. The way the class is structured—simple to more complicated—is like building a strong foundation”

“Course is very well organized and all of the time is instructional. Nice relaxed atmosphere.”

“When I enrolled in this course, I was looking for two things. The first was a way in which I could practice my instrument in an organized way that works, and the tapes are a perfect method for this. The second was a deeper understanding of musical theory—once again, perfect.”

“The class is geared very well for the different levels of musicianship.”

“This course is many times clearer than any J.C. or University class I have ever taken, and I have taken a great many.”

“Tapes are extremely helpful, and make practicing enjoyable. I can see that I’ll be using them long after class is over.”

“Everything’s great, the singing, theory, and playing.”

“I feel like I have stumbled on the most comfortable, practical, and efficient class I could be taking. You’ve got a great sense of humor, which lightens the class and relieves tension and makes it actually fun to come to class. There’s not any feeling of competition.”

“It is fascinating, satisfies my need to know ‘why’. Everything is tied together, not just isolated facts.”

“Harmonic rhythm and the idea of ‘activating weakness’ in chord choices is so useful to composition, and is never discussed in composition classes.”

“I can feel my ears developing. I’m beginning to be able to play more of what’s in my head without trying so hard.”

“The information is very coherently organized and understandably presented. I like your consistency about learning theory in a way applicable, immediately to using it on my instrument.”

“I think the course is very valuable because the material is organized and presented so that it relates to the real world, i.e. real playing situations in real life.”

“The major benefit I’m getting from the class is the disciplined, systematic approach and in particular, the ear-training practice.”

“This has been an excellent class! You are always very patient with our questions.”

“I’m taking a classical theory & composition class at my school right now—your class is superior in every aspect: theory, ear training, concepts, etc.”

“Among the Great Revelations are the key of the week and guide tone lines. Absolutely shocking in their simplicity and usefulness.”

“I wish music had been presented to me in this fashion years ago.”

“Overall, a fantastic approach to jazz theory.”

“Ample practice material for years to come. I really appreciate being given so much information and practical tools in one class.”

“stimulating discussions about improvisational ideas.”

“My ear has improved, had to do some ear stuff for an audition and was pleasantly surprised; I feel it coming week by week.”

“I really have drastically improved my hearing ability.”

“This series of classes in jazz theory is unquestionably one of the most, if not the most, important courses in offering practical and comprehensive information for the contemporary musician.”

“The central value of the class seems to be in the organization of daily practicing. The course makes it possible to integrate the big pile of method books everyone keeps collecting.”

“The course has really given me inspiration. I have found many new ways to look at a lot of concepts that I understood roughly before.”

“The course is an A+, the teacher an A++.”

“Tune writing has been challenging and fun, tune analysis very valuable as a way of bringing it all together.”

“I seem to learn more here than anywhere else.”

“I can much more easily write my own charts and understand what is going on in the tunes I sing. The tapes have improved my scatting and improvising immensely.”

“I feel that I am learning, not just memorizing formulas.”

“This was the best musical training I’ve ever had!”

“overall course had been fantastic! Much more than I hoped for when I first heard of it.”

“I like the openness and friendliness of the course.”

“I gained a very valuable understanding of mainstream harmony … a method for relating scales to chords, and understanding the relationships of chords to keys in their most common usages.”

“The method is clean, and uncluttered with things that will not be used.”

“The tapes are the key to practicing the method, keeps things focused and makes the practicing fun.”

“The best class I have ever taken! My family and friends were really impressed with the final project.”

“Playing along with the tapes has given me many melodic ideas to experiment with—also given me a better sense of timing.”

“It’s the first time any of this has made any kind of sense to me.”

“The course has taught me much more and benefited me much more than I though it ever could in such a short period of time.”

“I like the presentation of the material and the attitude that there are no set rules but some ways work better than others. I spent a year in college music theory and was so busy learning rules I didn’t learn anything else.”

“I understand now that music theory isn’t a dark mystery.”

“This course helps me to pull together a lot of information I’ve read about elsewhere—really enjoyed the fact there are no grades, no attendance, etc. I come because I can’t bear to miss anything.”

“The practice method outlined in the back of the book is the most ingenious, practical, and worthwhile method of music learning I have ever encountered.”

“It amazes me how far I’ve come; all other music courses have left me feeling inferior as soon as it passed the rudimentary steps. This class however proves that I too can speak the language. Your class demystifies music.”

“The scale and arpeggio studies are a direct means to grasping the concept of functional harmony, i.e. how they relate to the tonal center.”

“I feel like I’m building from the bottom up, and that feels good!”

“Improved self confidence due to a more solid background to draw from.”

“This gives me the tools for my own music for self expression.”

“feel increasingly more confident on my instrument.”

“I like being around and working with other musicians who care to learn about different things in music.”

“Workbook is very well thought out and laid out.”

“The material covered has helped me tremendously, especially the melody writing and the concept of guide tones.”

“the practice method is one of the most valuable aspects of the course for me. In particular the emphasis on the key of the week. Also the different exercises relating to chord progressions—all of them—very helpful—e.g., melodic chord studies, up and down scales with tonal alterations, all the exercises playing around with the guide tone lines, etc.”

“I like your emphasis on each individual finding her/his own way of playing.”

“The most valuable part of the course is the SINGING!”

“[The CDs] help with ‘hearing’ the sound of each mode and ‘rhythmic timing’, much more fun than a metronome.”