NWA Jazz Ensemble

NWA Jazz All Stars

High school students - Enroll now!
The Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Stars Youth Ensemble

NWA Jazz All Stars

  • Receive one-on-one training from professional jazz musicians.
  • Learn how to play and IMPROVISE in a jazz Big Band
  • Participate in a professional studio recording session with bandmates.
  • Concert performance with the All-Stars at Walton Arts Center on International Jazz Day

Our goal is to give students an opportunity to take the techniques they learn in the rehearsals and apply them to concert performances and recordings. High school student applicants will be selected by audition. 

The Northwest Arkansas Jazz All-Stars offers its members the chance to participate in a unique musical community of like-minded, passionate young musicians at a pivotal point in their personal development.

  • Eligibility: Students must be in grades 9-12 and reside within the Northwest Arkansas region. At least 2 years experience on the instrument or comparable proficiency (exceptions may be made based on skills and experience)
  • Instruments: Saxophones (alto, tenor, bari), trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, drums
  • Auditions: January 21 & 22, 2018
  • Rehearsals: Sundays beginning February 4 through April 29, 2018
  • Performance, etc:  A performance in Starr Theater at Walton Arts Center on April 30, 2018 and a professional recording session of the ensemble’s repertoire (date TBD)
  • Instructors: University of Arkansas Music Professor Rick Salonen, Professional guitarist and Music Instructor Ben Harris, Members of the Fayetteville Jazz Collective and Walton Arts Center's visiting artist in residence, internationally acclaimed jazz trombonist and educator Conrad Herwig.
  • Details, costs, FAQs below.
  • Contact: Robert Ginsburg, Walton Arts Center’s Jazz Curator: 479.571.2751 rginsburg@waltonartscenter.org

The Audition Process

Students entering the Jazz Studies Program will take part in an audition to demonstrate their playing ability, knowledge of Jazz music, music theory and sight reading abilities.  If you are a student wishing to audition for the NWA Jazz All-Star Youth Ensemble, it’s very simple!

First, fill out and return the questionnaire HERE

We will contact you with more details and begin the scheduling process for your audition after we’ve received your questionnaire.

Next, access the music charts for your instrument below so you can begin rehearsing and working on the repertoire you will be required to perform.

NWA Jazz All Stars Audition Materials

Details, Costs & FAQ:


Auditions are free. Tuition for students accepted is $150.00 (financial assistance may be available).



The NW Arkansas Jazz All-Stars are an eighteen piece jazz big band composed of high school students from the NW Arkansas Region. The Jazz All-Stars band began swinging in January 2017. Eighteen students from eight regional high schools dedicated three months-worth of Sunday afternoons to rehearse with some of Northwest Arkansas’ finest jazz men and women from the Fayetteville Jazz Collective. Chosen by audition, the All Stars learned jazz techniques, jazz styling, music theory, improvisation and skills on their instruments leading up to public performances and a professional recording session.



Student applicants (grades 9-12) are selected by audition. At least two years of experience is preferred, however, exceptions may be made based on skill and proficiency. Instrumentation for the All-Stars includes saxophone (alto, tenor, and baritone), trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass and drums.



Students meet weekly on Sundays from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM for instructional rehearsals over a three-month period during which they will learn the jazz style, instrument technique and music theory. Additionally, the group is given performance opportunities at major regional venues along with a professional recording session to document their accomplishments.



Sunday rehearsals are held at Walton Arts Center in the various spaces available each Sunday including Starr Theater, Baum Walker Stage and a variety of artist dressing rooms and smaller spaces for individual instrument instruction.

A professional recording session at Crisp Studios in Fayetteville with the All-Stars is scheduled towards the conclusion of the program to capture an audio and video performance prior to their concert.

The program culminates with a concert performance in Starr Theater at Walton Arts Center on April 30, 2018 – International Jazz Day.