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The Art of the Duo

A workshop for jazz vocalists and pianists


Key Information

June 25 - July 1, 2017

Applications Due: Due May 1, 2017

Open to vocalists and pianists of all levels.


Ellen Rowe, Professor and Chair of Jazz & Contemporary Improvisation, University of Michigan

Sunny Wilkinson, Artist in Residence, University of Michigan


Acclaimed jazz performers and teachers Ellen Rowe and Sunny Wilkinson will initiate a Jazz Duo component to the University of Michigan’s Summer Adult Professional Development Workshops, exploring the intimate musical relationship between jazz pianist and jazz vocalist.  Students will receive one-on-one instruction as well as duo coachings and the opportunity to perform with their duo partner, explore improvisation, theory and arranging. Vocalists who accompany themselves are also welcome to apply. Vocalists and pianists of all levels are encouraged to attend and immerse themselves in this jazz experience.

Jazz students will enjoy:

  • The individual attention of private lessons
  • Master classes
  • Jam sessions
  • Faculty and studentperformances

Masterclass topics will include:


                                 Rubato phrasing and ensemble concerns

                                 Jazz phrasing in various styles

                                 Communication with the rhythm section

                                 Body Work for singers and pianists


                                 Rubato phrasing; how to follow a singer

                                 Voicing choices for accompaniment

                                 Solo piano techniques

                                 Arrangements for duo, trio and quartet


Special Topic Seminars:

            Intros and Endings

            Establishing dialogue

            Freeing up phrasing

            How to express varieties of time feels

            Creation of lead sheets

2017 Schedule

Daily schedules will consist of coachings, practice time, masterclasses and optional theory, arranging or improvisation classes.

9:00 – 9:45 AM Group listening session
9:45 - 10:00 AM Body work session
10:15 AM -12:00 PM Masterclass
12:00 -1:00 PM Lunch (on own)
1:00 - 3:00 PM Duo Coachings
3:15 - 4:30 PM Special Topics
4:30 - 5:45 PM Individual Practice Time/Private lessons
6:00 PM Dinner (on own)

Evening Recitals TBA


Four to five songs from the American Songbook, of varied styles, with lead sheets in your keys.

Bring your own microphone, if you own one.

Fake books

Application Procedure

Applications Due: Due May 1, 2017

All applicants: (All files to be uploaded to an external link upon completion of the online application.)

  1. Submit an online application and application fee
  2. Upload files at the link provided in your application confirmation:
    • A short statement as to why you would like to attend the workshop.
    • Resume / description of current jazz related activities.
    • If applying as a PERFORMER: An audition recording or a recent performance, of two contrasting works.
    • If applying as a OBSERVER: photo/headshot (this does not need to be a professional photo)



If applying as a PERFORMER: An audition recording or a recent performance, of two contrasting works will need to be submitted. More information will be made available in the online application.

Tuition / Fees

  • Non-refundable Application Fee: $30
  • Workshop Fee: No refunds after May 12, 2017
    Performers: $600
    Observer: $450
  • Non-refundable deposit of $100 is due by May 12, 2017. Tuition is due in full by June 1, 2017.

Admission Notification

All applicants will be notified of admission via email. Performer applicants will be notified of admission no later than May 1, 2017. No limit to the number of observers.


For more information about this workshop or any of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Summer Workshops, please contact the office of Youth & Adult Community Programs:


Phone: (734) 936-2660






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Photography Credits:

U-M Photo Services

Joe Welsh

Peter Smith

David Smith

Glen Behring

Tom Bower