Berklee at Umbria Jazz Clinics

July 8-20, 2014

Application is closed for the 2014 program. Please check back for updates about the 2015 program.

The Berklee at Umbria Jazz Clinics program at the Umbria Jazz Festival is an opportunity to spend two weeks improving your performance and writing skills while learning from Berklee College of Music faculty. With 12 days of intensive classes and performances, this program provides aspiring musicians with hands-on educational experiences to foster musical growth and development. All classes and ensembles are taught in the world-famous Berklee tradition, which emphasizes the use of jazz and contemporary music as the focal point for musical understanding.

The 2014 Berklee at Umbria Jazz Clinics program represents the 29th year of the collaboration between Berklee and the Umbria Jazz Festival, which has presented this remarkable educational opportunity to nearly 5,000 students from all over the world over those years. Located in the beautiful city of Perugia, in the center of the Italian province of Umbria, the program brings together more than 200 students to form a community of musical dedication and enthusiasm that permits a shared learning experience unlike any other in Europe.

Set in a school in a historic section of Perugia, this program’s campus environment emulates the Berklee learning environment: performance classrooms are equipped with rhythm section instruments; large lectures are supported by audio, visual, and computerized presentations; a dedicated outdoor stage features daily concerts and jam sessions; and practice rooms and supportive staff assist students with individual needs. All students receive free passes to the main stage at Umbria Jazz Festival concerts, which are ongoing throughout the program. The Berklee at Umbria Jazz Clinics program, in conjunction with the Umbria Jazz Festival, affords a unique opportunity to learn by day and to listen by night – a rare educational and entertainment experience.

How do I apply?

  • Please note, we will start issuing decisions in January.
  • Please allow us three weeks to process your application. Once your application has been processed, we will notify you of your enrollment status by email. Please make sure the email address you register with is one that you check regularly.
  • Important: you must submit the online application to be considered for this program, even if you have participated in the program before.

What’s the program like?


  • Group Lessons: These daily lessons will address topics normally included in traditional private lessons. As a student, you will receive instruction in instrumental technique (tone, articulation, intonation, expression, etc.), practice habits, and other related topics.
  • Vocal Program: This year’s new vocal program will feature three elite voice teachers focusing on style, technique, theory, and performance skills. As a voice student, you will have the option to study the style of your choice. In addition, you will have the unique opportunity to perform with a variety of ensemble combinations, including the gospel choir.
  • Ensembles: As a student in the program, you will have the opportunity to play in group settings with students of similar playing abilities. While the emphasis is on jazz, other styles (pop, rock, Latin, etc.) will be offered within the program. Ensembles will meet each day of the program, and you will perform in a concert during the final days of the event. All ensembles will perform on-stage within the Umbria Jazz Festival circuit at the conclusion of the program.
  • Theory and Improvisation: As a student in this program, you will be taught music theory and how to apply it to improvisation, performance, and composition. This daily class will provide you with a basic understanding of chord/scale relationships in direct correlation with the improvement of your aural skills.

Contemporary Writing (Special Lectures)

This program focuses on the writing, performance, and production aspects of contemporary music. The course of study will be presented in special lectures on a daily basis and is open to all students in the program. Topics include:

  • The Art and Craft of Writing Music: This series will cover the process of composing and arranging music, beginning from the initial idea and ending with the finished work.
  • Rehearsal Techniques for Writers: For composers and arrangers, this lecture/demonstration focuses on how to conduct and rehearse new music.
  • Critique Sessions: As a student, you are encouraged to bring in audio recordings of your work to share with the instructor and the other students. Instructors will discuss aspects of production, composition, arranging, and performance.
  • Song Arranging Workshops: Open to all students, these workshops deal with specific techniques for contemporary song arranging, including: setting the style, tempo, and feel; making a basic chord chart; creating grooves in the rhythm section; and working with the form of the song.
  •  Brazilian Song Styles: In this hands-on writer’s workshop, study how harmony interacts with melody, lyrics, rhythm, and style in Brazilian popular song. Students will use these ideas to write, arrange, and adapt their own songs to styles common in Musica Popular Brasiliera (MPB).


  • Master Classes: Guest artists and teachers will present lectures and demonstrations on various aspects of performing, improvisation, composition, songwriting, and personal experience. There will be a wide variety of topics, and at times there may be group participation. Questions and group discussion will encompass part of the class, providing students with an opportunity to explore artists’ opinions and strategies for success.
  • Jam Sessions: As a student, you can join in on daily, informal “after-hours” jam sessions on the Berklee stage.
  • Scholarships and Awards: A representative from Berklee’s Office of Admissions will be available to advise those students who wish to continue their musical education at Berklee College of Music in Boston. For participants who indicate an intention to attend Berklee College of Music, a special scholarship fund exists. At the graduation ceremony on the final day of the program, select students will be presented with incentive scholarships to attend Berklee based upon outstanding vocal, instrumental, and/or songwriting ability; positive attitude; work ethic; and demonstrated suitability for Berklee.
  • Graduation Ceremonies and Concerts: The final three days of the program feature a series of concerts in which all students and all ensembles participate. Concerts will be held on the Berklee stage and also on an Umbria Jazz Festival stage. As a student in the program, your family is invited to attend these concerts.

Who are the instructors?

All instructors are Berklee faculty members, including:

How much does it cost?

Tuition is 490 euros.

Where will I stay?

Students are required to make their own housing arrangements. For information regarding hotels and apartments at special student rates, email Participants are encouraged to make housing arrangements early.

Payment for Accepted Students

Once accepted into the program, please visit the Umbria Jazz Clinics program website at for tuition payment instructions and all other information you might need. Your participation is not confirmed until your tuition payment is received.

Contact Information

Perugia, Italy:
Clara De Ferrari, 
c/o Segreteria
Associazione Umbria Jazz Clinics
Piazza Danti, 28
06122 Perugia, Italy
tel. +39 075 5724838
fax. +39 075 5722656
Hours: Monday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (UTC)

Boston, Massachusetts, USA:

Berklee College of Music
1140 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02215
Office of Global Initiatives
+1 617 747-2700
Hours: Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST)