Jazz Academy 

Omaha Performing Arts’ Jazz Academy supports and fosters quality jazz education in Omaha area middle schools. This free program connects students and teachers to a professional teaching artist who tailors lessons to the needs and interests of each school.





Jazz Academy Teacher Workshop Registration

Teacher Workshop Information

Jazz Academy Teacher Workshop via Zoom with Shawn Bell

Thursday, December 10th from 4:00pm – 5:15pm

“I taught them the Blues scale. Now what?" 

If you teach middle or high school students how to improvise, you have probably asked yourself this question. The importance of building a strong Blues foundation is widely accepted as the best path forward for young improvisors; however, knowing what concepts to focus on next can be a more difficult road to navigate.

Should I teach modes? Should I teach arpeggios? Should we transcribe? Should we learn licks? These are just a few of the common directions an educator could choose to travel as their students move from being beginning to intermediate improvisors.

In this workshop, attendees will explore some of these questions to help determine what routes are best suited for their students as they move beyond simply playing the Blues scale. While this seminar will be held exclusively in an online format, participants are strongly encouraged to have their instruments at the ready in order to work through the concepts being covered in real time. No previous Jazz/improvisation performance experience is required in order to take part in this workshop and all instruments are welcome.



Trombonist Shawn Bell studied music and has traveled the world as a jazz musician. For the last decade, he’s been working as an in-demand educator to inspire the next generation of jazz artists. Along with private training for students of all levels, he’s taught large and small ensembles at Northern Illinois University and Lansing Community College.

headshot of teaching artist Shawn Bell


Questions?  Contact Bill Grennan, Omaha Performing Arts' Education Manager at BGrennan@O-pa.org or 402-661-8447.

Sponsored by The Rebensdorf Family Foundation.