Centre Opening Times

We are delighted to be able to partially reopen Colwell Arts Centre from the 26th April 2021 on a strict appointment-only basis. To collect, return or exchange an instrument, please contact us at glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk to make an appointment.

Whilst we await the further lifting of Government restrictions due to Covid-19 why not check out our Resources and Links page for educational, fun and inspiring links to enable you to keep your music making going!

Return to face-to-face rehearsals!

We are delighted to be restarting our rehearsals for youth members from 7th June in bubbles of 15 students. See our return to music rehearsals page for more details and to sign up for rehearsals. Adult ensembles will be restarting in September!

Gloucestershire Jazz Live (GJL)


Gloucestershire Jazz Live [GJL] is an award winning jazz centre that hosts county youth and adult jazz groups (see our adult groups page) for local musicians of any jazz experience. We have two youth bands and one adult band in GJL who typically have towards 30 rehearsals and a strong variety of performances each academic year.

  • Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Academy (GYJA)  - Training youth jazz ensemble (c. Grade 4+)
  • Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra (GYJO) - Advanced youth jazz ensemble (c. Grade 6+)
  • Colwell Arts Jazz2Go - Training adult jazz band (c. Grade 4+)


Musicians are encouraged and learn how to improve their jazz ensemble playing and improvisational skills in regular rehearsing, practising and performing with musicians of similar ability as well as developing their own individual playing. We expect all of our members to be proactive in developing and demonstrating good musical awareness, reading, sight-reading, improvising and organisational skills. Continual development of our members' awareness and understanding of the jazz idiom, relevant jazz theory and practice is also important to our rehearsals and performances.


GYJA (Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Academy)

* A hugely popular group encouraging the next generation of budding jazz musicians.
* This ensemble is the ideal opportunity for any young musicians keen to explore jazz music and develop fundamental musical skills and musicianship.
* Young musicians ideally grade 4 and above are encouraged to join - no experience of jazz nor audition is necessary, however the ability to read music notation is important, as well as frequent independent practice.
* Usually ideal for students age 10 - 16.
* Led by Peter Martin, Maureen Currie and Tessa Frye.
* The band perform in a range of genres / styles and develop reading, listening, improvising, ensemble and individual musical skills.

* GYJA members typically move up to GYJO (following successful audition) when they feel ready in terms of their notation reading, improvising and jazz theory / musical awareness.

* GYJA is involved in our annual GJL concerts, the annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year.


GYJO (Gloucestershire Youth Jazz Orchestra)

* An advanced county youth jazz ensemble ideally grade 6+
* This ensemble is the highest accolade for young jazz musicians wishing to represent their county.
* Entry to the band is through attending two trial rehearsals and an audition (please see audition information in the next menu). Frequent independent practice is pivotal to sustaining membership.
* Ideal for young musicians up to the age of 21 (anyone over 21 is eligible for Jazz2Go or CAJE)
* The band is directed by Peter Martin.
* GYJO learn and perform a diverse range of repertoire with an emphasis on challenge and developing advanced listening, ensemble, improvisation and other jazz skills (eg. theoretical knowledge of chords / chord symbols / scale / modes, performing in different styles).

* GYJO members typically move onto jobs / apprenticeships and can join our Jazz2Go / CAJE group once age 22. GYJO members who go to university / college courses have kept us up-to-date on further education / community big-bands and groups they join and continue to perform. Many ex-GYJO players have gained places on Music under and post graduate degree courses (including Birmingham Conservatoire, Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, Trinity Laban Conservatoire, Leeds College of Music, Royal Northern College of Music, Royal Academy of Music and Berklee College of Music [Boston, USA]). Some ex-GYJO players are now professional musicians and music educators too.
* GYJO is involved in our annual GJL concerts, the annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year. 


Colwell Arts Jazz2Go

* A training adult jazz ensemble ideal for musicians wanting to learn about jazz, from any breadth of experience.
* Adult musicians grade 4 (ie. the ability to read notated music confidently) and above are encouraged to join.
* The band encourages and helps develop improvisation skills and ensemble playing from members.
* No audition is required - just being keen, attending every week and frequent independent practice.
* The band is directed by Tessa Frye. 
* Jazz2Go learn and perform a broad range of repertoire with an emphasis on securing key jazz skills and developing approaches to improvisation.
* Jazz2Go is involved in our annual GJL concerts and often chooses to perform in the National Concert Band Festival. Jazz2Go also acquire their own concerts / gigs throughout each year and always have an end of year concert at a local venue.

Please visit Jazz2Go's webpage for further information about the band

GJL 2019-20 Trial Rehearsals

To attend a trial rehearsal as outlined below you will need to download and complete the Member information sheet and email this to either Tessa Frye (Jazz2Go) or Peter Martin (GYJA / GYJO). Please make sure your email provides the trial musician's first and last name, how you heard about us and why you are interested in the group (this is all useful for us).

Term 1 & 2 (2019) - Wednesday 18 and 25 September 2019 (for all GJL groups)

Term 3 & 4 (2020) - Wednesday 8 and 15 January 2020 (for all GJL groups)

Term 5 & 6 (2020) - Wednesday 13 and 20 May 2020 (only GYJA and GYJO)

NB. Parents are welcome to stay and listen to GYJA / GYJO trial rehearsals. GYJO vacancies will also be notified and updated in our 2019-20 GYJO audition criteria (see last paragraphs below) and our audition criteria which will be available from September 2019.


Group entry

Grades are only a guide to the level required.  More important is a strong commitment and positive attitude alongside good sight reading and general musicianship skills. Teachers may recommend students for a specific group but the Director has the final decision to whether a member is ready for entry into an ensemble.  Once you have gained a place in one of the groups, you will be required to maintain a high percentage of attendance at rehearsals and concerts.  A place within an ensemble maybe withdrawn if commitment is deemed unsatisfactory.

Useful theory and specific musical skills are put into practice in our rehearsals, so do not worry if scales, chords or improvising need to be more familiar - we are here to encourage, guide and help you. Please ask us questions in rehearsals that will aid your playing, musical awareness and theoretical knowledge. 

Please click on the links below for an outline of our GJL expectations and suggestions for development for each musical role within our bands:

Woodwind Trumpet Trombone Piano Guitar Bass Drum Kit Singer Violin Cello 


GYJA and Jazz2Go welcome committed musicians from Grade 4 and above with no audition necessary. The ability to read notated music is important as well as being willing to give improvising a go when members feel ready. 

GYJO welcome youth musicians who are ideally grade 6 standard.  Attending ideally two trial rehearsals and an audition are important to gaining a place in GYJO. These allow students to experience our typical rehearsals (sight-reading, rehearsing and responding to the Director's instructions) and demonstrate their independent musical skills in the audition.  


GYJO 2019-20 auditions

Our audition dates are scheduled as follows:

September to December 2019 (for GYJO term 1 membership) - Wednesday 25 September and 2 October 2019

January to April 2020 (for GYJO term 3 membership) - Wednesday 15 and 22 January 2020

April to July 2020 (for GYJO September 2020 membership) - Wednesday 20 May and 3 June 2020 [there will also be opportunity to audition in September 2020 then later in January 2021]


NB 1. For our September 2019 to July 2020 year GYJO currently has availability for woodwind players, trombonists, trumpeters, one drummer, one additional bassist and guitarist. Singers can only audition in May / June 2020 for our 2020-21 academic year.

NB 2. As a reminder GYJO now welcomes any young musicians up to age 21.


The GYJO audition requires students to demonstrate their organisation skills, plus a prepared piece which we provide, one improvisation over provided chord sequences, sight reading and a brief interview with our panel.

Places are offered on a basis of good organisation, a positive contribution to our trial rehearsals, as well as students demonstrating a well prepared audition performance. Being prepared to show your improvising skills and explain your approaches is important. Sight-reading does need to have a fair level of strength to be able to handle the amount of repertoire GYJO typically learn which has a broad range of challenge and technical demand.

Our GYJO 2019-20 audition criteria is available for download here.


6:00pm - 7:30pm  (GYJA)
7:00pm - 9:00pm  (GYJO and Jazz2Go)

Rehearsals are during term time only and our performances are always spread out over the academic year. Please see the "contact and locate us" menu below for our rehearsal address and location. 


Our 2019-20 rehearsal and performance schedule is available on our online GM calendar 

To download the schedule, click here


Performance logistics and details are emailed to members directly from Gloucestershire Music for our GYJA and GYJO members plus any GJL events that also include all three groups. Please visit our got a gig webpage for any further details.



PLEASE NOTE we require written notification of any commitment clashes by email to our directors by the end of September 2019 for autumn members, by the end of January 2020 for new year members and by 6 May 2020 for any summer exams / events.

We do not want our members disappointed with clashes that happen due to short notice from school / college or employed work events.

Jazz2Go members MUST email Tessa Frye

GYJA and GYJO members MUST email Peter Martin.


Sectional rehearsals

Our GYJA and GYJO schedule is provided below.  Band members' attendance is absolutely crucial on these dates - thank you.

Term 1 - Wednesday 9 October 2019
Term 2 - Wednesday 20 November 2019
Term 3 - Wednesday 29 January 2020
Term 4 - Wednesday 26 February 2020
Term 5 - Wednesday 22 April 2020
Term 6 - Wednesday 10 June 2020


GYJA sectionals will be led by band leaders and will involve GYJO members who want to assist for coaching experience. GYJO sectionals will be led by Section Leaders with support from the Assistant Section Leader (both as invited by the GYJO Director).

NB. Additional sectionals may be scheduled, however band members will be informed and reminded about these in prior rehearsals.


A description of the GYJO Section and Assistant Section Leader roles is available for download here.

You can enquire about joining our groups at any time (see contact information below).  Subscription is amazing value at just £150 a year. The fee also entitles you to join as many groups as you like and covers the year from September - August. If you join part way through the year we will reduce your fee accordingly. We may however ask you to wait a few weeks before joining a group if they have an immediate performance that they are working towards.


* Details of costs and becoming a member:please click here

* Hire an instrument: please click here

* Audio / Video weblinks for our Gloucestershire Music YouTube channel Click to visit our GJL Youtube channel.  

* Audio / Video weblinks on our Gloucestershire Jazz Live YouTube channel:  Click to visit our GJL Youtube channel  (Please check separate playlists for each group)

* Developing your jazz skills and theory: Any NEW members can email Peter Martin to request the latest version of our supporting Jazz booklet (promotes useful and recommended resources for all our members).

* GYJA on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile

* GYJO on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile

* Gloucestershire Music on Facebook: click to visit and like our profile. 

* Gloucestershire Music on Twitter: click to visit and follow our profile 

2019-20 Events

GYJA, GYJO and GYJO Combo perform at Music for Youth festival 

March 2020

Fitting with Gloucestershire Music's "Super hero and villian" theme, our 3 youth jazz groups performed energetic and lively arrangements associated to Austin Powers, The Pink Panther, James Bond, Mission Impossible, The Avengers, The Incredibles, Spiderman, Batman and the Ghostbusters. Plenty of commendable and impressive feedback was received from our MFY music mentor and we now await news of whether this was solely a memorable and unique one-off event at Cheltenham Town Hall, or whether we are to be invited to the Music for Youth national festival in Birmingham in July 2020. 


Jazz Improvisation workshop - February and June 2020

Two of our jazz tutors (Peter Martin and Tessa Frye) are leading one-day workshops for any youth or adult musicians keen to develop their jazz improvisation skills. Hosted at Sir Thomas Rich's school on Sunday 9 February and Sunday 7 June 2020, these promise to be a valuable and enjoyable days for everyone involved. 

Further information is available from the webpage below and both youth and adult musicians from no / a little improvising experience to those wanting to advance their playing are all welcome to sign up:

Click here for information about our 2020 improvisation workshops


PAST NEWS: 2018-19

GYJA perform at the National Concert Band Festival 2018 

GYJA have performed at this regional festival every year since 2015 and have maintained a consistent record of silver awards. Sunday 25 November 2018 kept this fourth tally (at All Saints College in Cheltenham) and the band delivered another strong programme with great variety.

The band members and directors were particularly pleased with the acknowledgement of "a really good effort""excellent improvising skills" and "good balance". Our rhythm section got a mention for "a good solid foundation" and our saxophonists were complimented for "good confidence". Our current three vocalists were also commended with "Vocals do really well and especially to remember the words" and how "The ensemble support the vocals in a sympathetic manner."  A well done and thank you to all band members involved.


GJL perform at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival 2018 

A highlight of every year is performing at the Free Stage at Cheltenham Jazz Festival and the May bank holiday Monday is always a prime slot for our bands. So GYJA, Jazz2Go and GYJO all showcased their most favourite repertoire and entertained a huge, warm (yes it was beautifully sunny throughout the whole weekend) and receptive audience for the whole of the bank holiday morning. Another successful and thoroughly enjoyable gig at a local and international jazz festival.



GJL gain a third consecutive national education award

Following a submission about our 2016-17 educational provision to the Will Michael awards panel, we were informed in October 2017 that we had been awarded another "Diploma of outstanding commitment to Jazz education." This national recognition is the only of it's kind in the UK and acknowledges the many strengths of education hubs / providers across the country.

Our GJL Director (Peter Martin) attended the awards presentation evening in London in November 2017 and more information can be found on the Gloucestershire Music article linked here.

Leslie East (Musician's Company) and Peter Martin (GJL Director)


GYJA awarded at the NCBF Regional Festival

On Sunday 26 November GYJA performed at the NCBF regional festival in Cheltenham and received a Silver award for their efforts. Particular highlights from our adjudicators included gaining all silver and gold ticks in the award criteria as well as them identifying strengths in our rhythm, style and interpretation skills. The band definitely gave a very good performance, which was quoted as having "a good feeling of style," "good ensemble playing" and where "a lot of good, solid, basic music fundamentals have been established." They also enjoyed our GYJA vocalist who was described as "delightful, very well done." A massive thank you to everyone for a fun and rewarding performance.


Gloucestershire Jazz Live is held at:

Cheltenham Bournside School, Warden Hill Road, Cheltenham.


Membership enquiries: Gloucestershire Music 01452 427242

GJL enquiries: Peter Martin (GJL Director) 07730 343299 or cheltjazzlivemusiccentre@gmail.com








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