jazz academy is:

  • A unique, comprehensive learning experience

  • Weekly private lessons with an expert mentor

  • Weekly open studio group playing opportunities

  • Monthly jam sessions with faculty members

  • Student concerts twice a year

  • Public performance opportunities (a.k.a. gigs if you want ‘em!)

  • A community of supportive, engaged, musical people

instruments Taught:

  • Brass (Trumpet, Trombone, French Horn, Euphonium, Tuba)

  • Woodwinds (Saxophones, Clarinet, & Flute)

  • Voice

  • Piano

  • Guitar

  • Bass (Acoustic/Upright & Electric)

  • Percussion (Latin & African)

  • Drums

  • Composition & Songwriting

  • Other instruments (Improvisation Only)


  • Ages 6-8; Beginning Improvisation only or choose an instrument

  • Ages 9-adult; Any instrument, improvisation included.

Our goal is to foster confidence and creativity in students of all ages through exceptional musical learning. With our dedicated world-class faculty and innovative programs, we hope to transform lives and more deeply connect our community through the joy of music.

Jazz Academy is a place to expand your creativity, build your confidence, and connect with others.

Students are encouraged to meet, practice together, collaborate, and grow the role of music in their lives. Jazz Academy is access to practice/rehearsal space and incredible faculty mentors. You will receive all the hands-on, real-time learning that jazz requires. Students may be total beginners on their instruments, or total beginners in jazz up through advanced.

Jazz Academy tuition includes either a weekly 30-minute or 60-minute private lesson (46 lessons/year) with a jazz expert on your instrument, 6 jam sessions just for Academy students where you play alongside our amazing faculty band and build friendships, two optional performance opportunities that allow you to show off solo skills or improvise with the band, and special clinics throughout the year.

For your convenience, lessons are month-to-month: no long-term contract. Tuition is billed at a flat monthly rate. The months when students have 3 lessons, their 4th lesson will be made up during the 5 week months.


The Most Highly Qualified Jazz Faculty in Southwest Michigan. From decorated performing artists to award-winning composers, our faculty is dedicated to learning about your musical goals and helping you achieve them. They have instrument specific degrees from renowned jazz programs at Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Temple University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and our own Western Michigan University. Our faculty are chosen for their teaching ability, their expertise as jazz musicians on their instrument, their passion for artistry, and their personal integrity. Learn more about our amazing faculty

The Only Comprehensive Jazz Education in Southwest Michigan. Jazz can be practiced by an individual, but it is only learned in a community setting through mentorship and group interaction. At the Jazz and Creative Institute, individual instruction, artistic mentorship, and group experience come together for students to truly grow and develop into an improvising musician. Additionally, Jazz Academy students can audition for our 18-piece large ensemble, the Kalamazoo Youth Jazz Orchestra, or the Lab Band for students wanting more group experience.

Musician Family Owned and Operated. Husband and wife team Benje and Ashley Daneman have been collaborating on successful projects since they met at Manhattan School of Music in New York City in 2008 - including raising three children. Both critically acclaimed performing artists and composers, the Danemans bring their belief in the value of music education to the forefront of the Jazz and Creative Institute. As co-directors and owners, they've assembled a team of professional musicians who share their passion and enthusiasm for quality music education. Learn more about our directors.

Integrative Performance Experiences. Students interact with peers by participating in performances, coached jam sessions, and clinics with faculty and other visiting artists. All included in the flat monthly tuition fee, these valuable experiences display and elaborate each student's achievements in their instrument of choice. Our directors seek out unique performance opportunities for our students as they arise in the greater Kalamazoo area in addition to regular recitals.

Online Student Portal for Easy Information Access. View our calendar, track attendance, make-ups, practice times, and repertoire. Contact teachers and keep track of your account.

Convenient Location, Practical for Families. Centrally located in downtown Kalamazoo, the Jazz and Creative Institute has tons of seating and a children's play area for younger siblings. If you want to drop a child off for lessons, head two doors down the street to Civil House Coffee for some focused work time. Learn more about our location.

Open 7 Days a Week for Today's Busy People. We offer lessons seven days a week to accommodate your busy schedule. Music lessons are billed monthly with no semester commitment. Monday - Friday 9am - 8pm; Saturday and Sunday 9am - 5pm.

Kalamazoo jazz academy 30 minute lessons
Kalamazoo Jazz Academy 60 minute lessons