Jazz at The Music Settlement (J@MS), our nationally acclaimed Jazz program, is a weekly half-day immersion program for students ages 12-18.

Students in the J@MS program concentrate on developing their skills, knowledge, and experience to achieve musical goals. The program encompasses History of African-American Music, Theory and Improvisation, Small Combo, and Large Ensemble (Big Band).

The J@MS big bands explore a range of advanced and challenging material written for large ensembles under the direction of our professional faculty. These ensembles are often selected to perform in adjudicated events, workshops, concerts, and events throughout the year, gaining valuable performing experience in a high-level context. The upper echelon of the J@MS program comprise The Dameron Institute, named after Cleveland native Tadd Dameron, a notable 20th century American composer.

Our Jazz program is proud to be a partner of The Berklee City Music Network. Throughout the duration of this widely acclaimed program, the Berklee City Music Network has generously given more than $110,000 in scholarship funds for students at The Music Settlement to attend the 5-week summer program. Our partnership with the Berklee City Music Network and the Berklee College of Music has yielded approximately $1,378,800 in scholarship funds for students of The Music Settlement to attend the summer program and the college.


Brian Plautz, The Music Settlement alum:
I am a recent graduate from Berklee College of Music with a major in Performance and minor in Psychology (yes, you can do that at Berklee). I attended J@MS in high school and was fortunate to be sent to Berklee's 5 Week Summer Performance Program. As a young saxophonist, I needed these programs to fine-tune my playing and open my eyes to lessons I would have otherwise missed. I studied extensively with Ken LeeGrand, the current J@MS director and can credit him for my attention to tone, melody and emotional clarity in my music. Eric Gould, the former J@MS director, recently came to Berklee as the head of the Jazz Composition Department. He has given students (especially Cleveland students) great opportunities with guest artists at Berklee. Not only has J@MS and its ties with Berklee left with me with musical knowledge but, more importantly, a network of contacts to help with my future growth.

Jackson Laskey, The Music Settlement alum and former TMS faculty member:
For me, the Berklee 5 week program was a unique and invaluable experience. Beyond the opportunity to study with Berklee faculty and experience the Berklee curriculum first hand, being in an environment with the most talented young musicians from around the world is musically, socially, and culturally engaging. Playing music and hanging out with young musician from around the country and around the world was a daily occurrence. I would not trade that experience for anything.

Nikki Charise Grimes, The Music Settlement student:
The Music Settlement is truly the home for aspiring musicians. Children of all ages walk the halls with instruments and talent bigger than themselves. A Mansion with every room filled with melodies from Herbie Hancock to Mozart, The Beatles to Coldplay. There are no limits to the lessons you can and will learn every minute of the day. I have the pleasure and honor to start my day with the talented and gifted Glenn Holmes. I've only been with the settlement for a few months but I have learned some of the most valuable lessons. Lessons I will never forget. Although jazz has been in my life since before I was born, being able to perform and compose not only jazz but all genres is a necessity in my life. Especially to expand my mind. Mr. Holmes and Mr. Alfredo has pushed me farther and farther every Saturday in understanding and performing classical music correctly. I love being in the ensembles with Mr. Reynolds because it teaches me discipline and creativity at the same time. How to make an impact within a few notes. How to tell a story, my story. Every instructor that I have encountered at The Settlement has opened my ears and eyes to new adventures in music. The overall lesson I have learned is how to identify simplicity within complexity. My experience at The Music Settlement has paved the way for my journey to musical greatness and I thank you.                          

Kymeron Carter, The Music Settlement alum and current scholarship student at Berklee:
After my first year at Berklee College of Music I have really seen a change in the way I play my violin.  I never would have had this opportunity to go if it wasn’t for Mr. Leegrand telling me to fill out the Berklee City Music Summer Scholarship form.  After attending the Berklee 5-week program I did not receive a scholarship, but Dr. Banfield and Curtis Warner Jr. told me to meet with them the following day.  They told me that they wanted to help me out financially and to keep meeting with them throughout the school year regarding scholarship opportunities.  While I was in school I also meet with Mr. Eric Gould who also advocated for me and was keeping in contact with Dr. Banfield and Curtis Warner.  Mr. Gould told me that I had to keep my grades up and to consider C’s as F’s.  I worked hard for my first semester of college and I received all A’s and B’s for my first semester putting my GPA at a 3.2.  The following semester I still kept meeting with Dr. Banfield whenever I could.  At the end of the semester I received three A’s Three B’s and one C.   After I saw the C I thought it was all over and I just tried to focus on the positive.  I was emailing Dr. Banfield when I arrived back in Cleveland and she as asking me if I was all registered for classes and I told her that I was.  That following day I got a call from Dr. Banfield and Curtis Warner Jr. telling me that I have been granted the equivalent of a Full tuition Scholarship.  I felt relieved knowing that all my hard work has paid off.  Which is why I cannot say thank you enough to the staff at the Cleveland Music School Settlement for believing in me and encouraging me to do what I really love to do.  I am really grateful for all the things that everyone has done to make a difference in my life.

Ari Smith, The Music Settlement alum and current full-scholarship student at Oberlin College:
Being at J@MS has been one of the most important and helpful experiences in my career as a musician. As a young musician, many situations can be intimidating, but the music settlement has offered a supportive, non-competitive environment where my friends and I can help each other in our learning. At J@MS, I was able to immerse myself completely in an environment completely focused on jazz, with many supportive teachers and friends helping me in reaching my full potential. My experience at Berklee has taken this idea even further, allowing me to immerse myself in jazz 24/7 for 5 weeks, surrounded by some of the world's best musicians and teachers. Without my experiences at the music settlement and at Berklee, I would not be the same musician that I am today.

J@MS students and scholarships

J@MS students work hard on their music and their academic studies. Hard work pays off: students in the J@MS program have received more than $1.5 million dollars in scholarships for college and summer performance programs over the past 8 years.

  • Ten J@MS students have received four-year, full tuition scholarships to attend Berklee College of Music from City Music to date (including the most recent awards for 2015).  This scholarship is approximately $150,000 per student.
  • Thirty-three J@MS students have received City Music scholarships to attend the 5-Week Summer Program to date (including the most recent awards for 2015).  This scholarship is approximately $5,000 per student.
  • Jim Bates was awarded a $20,000.00 scholarship to Berklee College of Music. ($80,000.00 over 4 years)
  • In addition, two students received a Presidential Scholarship to Berklee College. This scholarship includes tuition, room and board, and all incidentals. (this could potentially include health insurance). As much as $253,040.00 over four years.

The following alumni of the J@MS program have gone on the following colleges and conservatories. Nearly all have received substantial scholarship support.

(*** denotes students who have completed the Berklee 5-Week Summer Program)

Caleb Smith: Full-tuition scholarship to Oberlin College
Ari Smith: Full-tuition scholarship to Oberlin College
Frank Walton, Trumpet: Youngstown State University, Dana School of Music
Faheem Najieb, Saxophone: The Ohio State University
Tyler Cratcha, Guitar: Berklee College of Music (graduated)   *** (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Jonathan Thomas, Piano: The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music
Jovaughn Johnson, Trombone: The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music
Jevaughn Bogart, Saxophone: Oberlin Conservatory of Music ***
Langston Maxwell, Drums: Berklee College of Music *** (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Caleb Boquist, Saxophone: Mt. Vernon Nazarine University
Brian Benton, Bass: Berklee College of Music *** (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Jabrel Barnes, Trumpet: Berklee College of Music *** (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Christina Phelps, Piano: Wellesley College
Samirah Harris, Baritone Saxophone: Hampton University
Devin Starks, Bass: The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music & the Juilliard School
Brian Plautz, Saxophone: Berklee College of Music (graduated)***  (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Marina Oney, Guitarist/Vocalist: University of the Arts
VanDarrel Woods, Trumpet: Berklee College of Music *** (Attended on a full scholarship from Berklee)
Cyril Creque-Sarbinowska, Piano: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Chris Gemerchak, Saxophone: Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, Berklee College of Music
Darren Benton, Drums: Cincinnati Conservatory of Music
Kyle Braun, Trumpet: Interlochen High School ***
Elivabeth Veres, Tenor Saxophone: Belmont University
Steve Meisler, Vibraphone: University of Pennsylvania
Josh Schultheiss, Drums: University of Illinois
Lamar Logan, Trombone: Cleveland State University
Jack Laskey, Piano: Oberlin Conservatory of Music***
Simon Mastri, Bass: The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music ***
Kymeron Carter, Violin: Berklee College of Music *** (Attends on a full scholarship from Berklee) Note: Kymeron was a classical violin student who participated in the J@MS program and BCMN 5 week camp for her senior year.
Praxton Smith, Violin: Berklee College of Music *** Recipient of the esteemed Berklee Presidential Scholarship, which covers tuition as well as housing, for a total of $218,800. Note: Praxton is not specifically a J@MS alumni. She was a student of our early childhood and Suzuki programs.

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