Centre Opening Times

Colwell Arts Centre is now open 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.

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 to learn how to improve their jazz ensemble playing and improvisational skills in regular rehearsing and performing with musicians of similar ability as well as developing their own individual practice and playing. We expect all of our members to be proactive in developing and demonstrating good listening, 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 willingness to participate, listen attentively and 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, Tessa Frye and Maureen Currie.
* The band perform in a range of genres / styles and develop listening, reading, improvising, ensemble and individual musical skills.

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

* GYJA is involved in our planned GJL concerts, our annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year (eg. NCBF, Music for Youth regionals, Cheltenham Jazz festival, Upton Jazz festival)


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 develop their Jazz playing further and represent their county too.
* Entry to the band is through attending two trial rehearsals and an audition (please see the audition  menu). A strong commitment in rehearsal and independent practice is pivotal to gaining the most out of the GYJO experience.
* Ideal for young musicians up to the age of 21 (anyone over 21 is eligible for Jazz2Go)
* The band is directed by Peter Martin.
* GYJO learn and perform a diverse range of repertoire with an emphasis on broad variety, challenge and developing advanced listening, ensemble, improvisation and other jazz skills (eg. theoretical knowledge of chords / chord symbols and sequences / scales and modes, performing in different genres and styles).

* Since 2006 the band have had the opportunity for coaching that allows band-members arrangements and compositions to be developed, performed, recorded and fully showcased.  

* Some 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 ensembles they join. 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, Liverpool University, Oxford University, Cambridge University and Berklee College of Music [Boston, USA]). Some ex-GYJO players are now professional musicians and music educators too.
* GYJO is involved in our planned GJL concerts, our annual GYJA and GYJO end of year concert and typically performs in youth and jazz festivals each academic year (eg. NCBF, Music for Youth regionals and nationals, Cheltenham Jazz festival). In November 2016 GYJO had the privilege to perform at the MFY Proms 2016 at the Royal Albert Hall. 


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 planned GJL concerts and often chooses to perform in the National Concert Band Festival. Jazz2Go also acquire their own concerts / gigs throughout each year and usually have an informal end of year concert.

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

GJL 2021-22 Trial Rehearsals

If you wish to attend a trial rehearsal, 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 (2021) - Wednesday 22 and 29 September 2021 (for all GJL groups)

Term 3 & 4 (2022) - Wednesday 12 and 19 January 2022 (for all GJL groups)

Term 5 & 6 (2022) - Wednesday 4 and 11 May 2022 (only GYJA and GYJO)

NB. Parents are welcome to stay and listen to GYJA / GYJO trial rehearsals.

GYJO vacancies are notified and updated in our 2022-23 GYJO audition criteria (please see our separate GYJO entry and audition menu).


Group entry

Grades are only a guide to the level required.  More important is a strong commitment and positive attitude alongside a willingness to develop musicianship skills. Teachers may recommend students for a specific group however our Directors have 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 performances.  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, support 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.  

6:00pm - 7:15pm (GYJA) up to and including Weds 27 April then 6:00-7:30pm all following rehearsals.

7:30pm - 9:00pm  (GYJO and Jazz2Go) up to and including Weds 27 April then 7:00pm - 9:00pm all following rehearsals.

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 2021-22 rehearsal and performance schedule is available on our online GM calendar

* Our "GJL dates for your diaries" document which summarises our planned rehearsals and events can be downloaded 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. 


Rehearsal and performance commitments 

PLEASE NOTE we require written notification of any commitment clashes by email to our directors by the end of September 2021 for autumn members, by the end of January 2022 for new year members and by 4 May 2022 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 20 October 2021
Term 2 - Wednesday 10 November 2021
Term 3 - Wednesday 9 February 2022
Term 4 - Wednesday 23 March 2022
Term 5 - Wednesday 27 April 2022
Term 6 - Wednesday 25 May and 8 June 2022


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.

We still have bursaries available through Friends of Gloucestershire Young Musicians if you are facing financial hardship; please just email us on glosmusic@gloucestershire.gov.uk if you wish to apply for a bursary.


* 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 subscribe to our channel and 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 


RECENT NEWS: 2021-22

September 2021 - July 2022

We have been very fortunate to return to our in-person rehearsals (since September 2021) at Bournside School. Whilst these have been slightly reduced rehearsals to pre-March 2020, we have also performed at Pittville Pump Rooms (our Winter concert), performed at the Music for Youth festival (Stroud Subscription Rooms) in March 2022 and had a jazz workshop with NYJO guest educator Paul Edis and some NYJO student ambassadors, plus GYJO have performed an evening gig at Churchdown Community Centre in April. 

We are now looking forward to our Cheltenham Jazz Festival free stage performance on Monday 2 May (10:00 - 13:00) which will feature GYJA, Jazz2Go, GYJO Combo and GYJO. After that will be working towards our GYJA and GYJO end of year concert at Gupshill Manor (Tewkesbury) on Friday 24 June. 

For more updates visit our GYJA Facebook profile and our GYJO Facebook profile.


September 2020 - July 2021 Jazz provision 

We were very fortunate (as many other UK based music hubs) to have our rehearsals return in October 2020 in the form of five online Zoom sessions each term. This obviously included lots of muting and unmuting ourselves as Zoom does not support multiple musicians playing simultaneously! We did of course make sure we had a great range of repertoire to choose from, listen to, rehearse (with everyone muted), have plenty of musical demonstration and discussion about the Jazz learning, as well as develop our warm-up skills, improvising skills, performance skills and even have collectively muted performances at the end of each term - that was a unique experience!

Before we knew it we added "virtual sectional rehearsals" led by students (yes it did work brilliantly - our student section leaders were fantastic) and overall we worked on an impressive range of repertoire from October 2020 - July 2021. GM Junior Jazz learnt about 12 pieces in this time and GM Senior Jazz learnt about 13 pieces plus 11 songs with Izzi (our GYJO singer). Everyone was fully immersed and we managed more recordings - check out our GM 2021 Spring Concert YouTube concert with "Malibu Drive" at 2'37" and "Virtual Insanity" from 16'15".

We then celebrated these achievements on International Jazz Day 2021 with our GJL Virtual Jazz Story. Click on this link to read more about this!

Think that was it? No, we managed even more!! We were featured on Music for Youths Remix 2021 national festival video wall  - GM Junior Jazz andGM Senior Jazz. Then there's our final achievements of 2020-21 where both groups got the approvals with other GM groups for five in-person (and distanced) July 2021 rehearsals - we of course managed a recording session in this time and these YouTube performance recordings concluded our rather ambitious 2020-21 efforts in style. 

After these gargantuan efforts a huge thank you must go to the GM management, administration, our GJL team, parents / carers and of course our amazing youth Jazz members. This was of course all a new challenge, but we achieved so much together! A wholehearted thank you for all our youth members being such resilient, passionate and brilliant young musicians to work and perform with and showcase our collective efforts so well. 


March - July 2020 Jazz provision 

The music and education industries (similar to so many other industries) met significant challenges following the global circumstances of March 2020. GJL however managed to very quickly adapt our Jazz provision with practical "Jazz Challenges" for our members (developing listening, interpretative, improvising and performance skills) as well as out "100 Jazz Shares" on our GYJA and GYJO Facebook profiles and having shared Jazz Chats with several South-West based UK Jazz musicians. Do check out and like the GYJA or GYJO Facebook profiles and check out the timeline / photos. 

Do also check out our two "virtual recordings" from summer 2020: Click here


PAST NEWS: 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: 2017-18 Events

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 2017 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.

- we are now back to rehearsing in the Bournside school music department.

Membership enquiries: Gloucestershire Music 01452 427242

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






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