Northwest Arkansas Adult Jazz Workshops

Program director Chris Teal brings his holistic teaching and learning philosophy to this new opportunity for adults to learn jazz songs, style, and improvisation with a focus on playing by ear. Students learn the songs from the “Creative Jazz Fundamentals” interactive video curriculum designed by Teal and the teaching artists at the Institute for Creative Music 

Included in the workshops:  

  • 12 hours of instruction and rehearsal 
  • exclusive access to online resources and materials 
  • optional Saturday morning jam sessions  

In class, students are coached on 

  • individual roles and roles within the jazz combo 
  • accuracy of pitch and rhythm 
  • time feel and phrasing  
  • balance and dynamics 
  • group listening and interaction 

Also included in the intro and experienced level groups:  

  • jazz transcription  
  • practice techniques  
  • music theory  
  • basic audio recording  

The Beginning Improvisation and Learning by Ear: 

  • Designed as an entry point to learning jazz songs, style, and improvisation.  
  • Taught entirely by ear through listening, watching, and doing. 
  • No background in jazz or music theory is necessary. 
  • All musicians with a functional understanding of your instrument (the ability to play all chromatic pitches over the range of at least an octave) are welcome.    
  • Songs taught begin with a harmonically simple one-chord tune and progress to playing a basic three-chord tune.

The Adult Jazz Workshop

  • Designed for musicians with at least one semester of Beginning Improvisation and Learning by Ear or previous experience learning and playing jazz by ear. 
  • Covers songs from the jazz repertoire including blues, the American Songbook, and jazz standards from the swing, bebop, and post-bop eras plus more contemporary vocabulary.  
  • If you are interested in this level but have not participated in Beginning Improvisation and Learning by Ear email Chris Teal at with a letter of interest that includes past experience with jazz.

Register by January 15 to guarantee we have adequate space and equipment.  The songs each group will cover is posted with recommended listening links to 



All instrumental and vocal musicians, ages 18 and over (see above for additional eligibility information).


Tuesdays, Feb 4 – April 28, 2020


5:00 – 6:00 pm Beginning Improvisation and Learning by Ear

6:10 – 7:10 pm Adult Jazz Workshop


Room 201 of U of A Suzuki School Building (859 W Clinton Drive)

Click here for map and directions.

Free parking is available at the school.


$165 includes registration for Tuesday evening rehearsals, optional Saturday morning jam sessions, and access to all course materials.

Event Registration

Register and pay online. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express cards accepted.

Cancellation Policy

Refunds are not available for this program.

Meet the Instructor

Chris Teal

In addition to his active career as a performer, Teal strives to build new opportunities for students to experience the arts by teaching improvisation, aural learning, and student leadership through the Institute for Creative Music.


A graduate of the Eastman School of Music (MM ’09) and Whitworth University (BA ‘05), drummer CHRIS TEAL is the co-Director of the Institute for Creative Music and a recent transplant to Fayetteville, Arkansas from Rochester, New York. As one of the most in-demand drummers in the upstate, NY, Chris performed with the IfCM Collective, Dave Rivello Ensemble, the Mighty High and Dry, John Nyerges Trio, and Silver Arrow Band. Chris released his first self-titled album as the Chris Teal Trio, “Analog Dreams” in 2019, three albums with the band Quintopus on ears&eyes Records (Voyage to Ornoc, April Showers, and Prehistoric Beach), and three albums with the Institute for Creative Music Collective on Outside in Music Records (“Volume 1”, “A Tribute to Prince,” and “A Tribute to Björk.”)  Chris currently performs in Northwest Arkansas as a member of the Jake Hertzog Trio, the Matt Smith Group, and the Chris Teal Trio.

In addition to his active career as a performer, Teal strives to build new opportunities for students to experience the arts by teaching improvisation, aural learning, and student leadership through the Institute for Creative Music.  The IfCM also runs “Creative Jazz Fundamentals,” an on-line school for learning jazz.

Along with other Teaching Artists from the Institute for Creative Music, Teal has presented workshops and performances at schools throughout the United States, and has presented workshops at the 2017 NYU Impact Conference and 2015 TEDxFlourCity conference. Raised in Spokane, WA, Chris teaches drum set at the Arkansas Arts Academy, as well as drum set, popular music, and jazz combo at the University of Arkansas and the Jazz Workshops for the U of A Community Music School in Fayetteville.

For More Information About Registration      David Owens, Operations Coordinator – 479-575-4702 –

For More Information About Curriculum      Chris Teal, Instructor –