Jazz, Rock & World Music Ensembles

Featured Ensembles:

NEW! Klezmer in the Neighborhood

Ages 14 and up. Klezmer in The Neighborhood will focus on some gems of the American and European Klezmer repertoires - repertoire flexible depending on instrumentation. Each class will focus on learning a tune or two by ear - written materials will be provided at the end of sessions, but recording of classes is encouraged as well! The goal will be to work on a small body of music as well as learning to make informed choices in how to play 'in the style'.

Open to: Strings, Brass, Winds, Guitars/plucked strings (melody or chords), some folk instruments. One or two pianists max.

To register for Klezmer in the Neighborhood, select below:

NEW! Alternative Style String Ensembles

Open to: violin, viola, cello, bass, piano, mandolin, guitar

Level 1: Ages 10+ (at least 3 years playing experience or equivalent of book 3 suzuki)

Level 2: Ages 14+ (5+ years playing experience or equivalent of book 4 suzuki)

Styles include: Fiddling, blues rock/ jazz, and pop music covers. Repertoire and arrangements will be selected based upon the enrollment. Techniques: rhythmic string playing, chopping, percussive techniques, comping chord changes, embellishing melodies, improvising. Electronics may be used in the advanced ensemble.

To register for Alternative Style String Ensembles, click below:

NEW! Bluegrass Ensemble

Ages 14 and up, 18 and up. Local bluegrass legend Phil Rosenthal has performed with Bill Monroe, Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris, Jonathan Edwards, and is the former lead singer/guitarist of the Seldom Scene. He will lead the ensemble in a selection of classic folk and bluegrass songs. Advanced/beginner to intermediate players of all string instruments plus vocalists are welcome. Six one-hour sessions. Final session will feature a concert open to guests and the public.

To register for Bluegrass Ensemble or Elm City Ramblers and to see, select a group below:

Phil Rosenthal


Rock Bands

All ages. Instrumentalists and vocalists of all ages wanted! We'll match you with a band and coach based on your experience and style.

Rock Ensembles at NMS


Jazz Ensembles

Featured Jazz Ensembles:

NEW! The Blue Notes

Ages 14 - adult. Students will explore the classic repertoire of the Blue Note jazz Label. Known as one of the most identifiable and important periods in shaping the modern jazz sound, the Blue Note recordings include songs from the pen of Herbie Hancock, Lou Donaldson, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Horace Silver and many more.

Jazz Standards Ensemble

Ages 18 - adult. This ensemble explores the art and techniques of performing repertoire in the different genres of jazz.


Latin Jazz Ensemble

Ages 13 - adult. Explore the Afro-Cuban and Brazilian claves and rhythms of Latin jazz such as son, rhumba and montuno.  


Blues Ensemble

Ages 13 - adult. Learn to play a variety of music influenced by traditional blues, straight blues, jazz and rock.


NMS Ragtime Stompers

Ages 13 - adult. The Stompers perform classic jazz, traditional blues and ragtime styles, mostly from the first half of the 20th century, using written arrangements. Improvisation is welcome and encouraged but not required. The group performs in the NMS Jazz Program recitals and occasional outside engagements.


Rhythm Kings

Ages 12 - 18. The NMS Rhythm Kings focus on hot classic jazz styles from the first half of the 20th century. The group is mainly for students in grades 7-12 who can read music and play in tune. All instruments are welcome; improvisation is encouraged but not required.


Percussion & World Music Ensembles

Percussion Ensemble

Ages 9 - 13, 14 - adult. Instruments include (but are not limited to) drum set, snare drum, timpani, keyboard percussion and auxiliary percussion. Students will learn the basics of percussion ensemble playing while exploring the vast growing modern repertoire. Minimum of one year of instrumental study is required.

Steel Bands

From Bach to calypso, from rap to reggae, enjoy the magic of steel pans, the musical phenomenon from the Caribbean! At least one semester of individual lessons with instructor is recommended. Please contact Debby Teason for placement information. The class will learn a song of their choice on steel pans to perform on the NMS steel band recital at the end of the semester.


We also offer a West African Drum Circle class for adults.


In addition to the ensembles listed, we'll work to create individualized instrumental combos for students whose needs do not fit into these pre-organized groups.

For more information, please contact:
Jesse Hameen II, chair, Jazz and Rock Studies

203-624-5189 x52 or jhameen@neighborhoodmusicschool.org

Ensemble Discount:

Students taking both individual lessons and one or more ensembles receive a discount on each ensemble registration. This is a percentage-based discount. (See details here.)