Jazz Institute


The Wisconsin Conservatory of Music has one of the longest running jazz education programs in the United States. For over 40 years, it has been a significant presence in the world of jazz and has produced many well-known performers.  Well known jazz alumni of the Conservatory include Grammy-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, David Hazeltine, Lynne Arriale, Gerald Cannon, Dan Nimmer, and Rick Germanson, to name just a few.

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Jazz Institute faculty members are premiere jazz performers as well as dedicated and accomplished educators who have the expertise to work with jazz students of all backgrounds and experience levels. Individual instruction, classes in jazz improvisation, straight ahead jazz combos, big band and Latin jazz are all offered. An emphasis is placed on understanding the bebop idiom as well as other historically important styles. Faculty members bring jazz to young people by providing residencies in area schools. WCM Jazz Institute students frequently perform in the community. Recent performances have included Summerfest, the Jazz Estate, and Jazz in the Park. Scholarships and financial aid are available.

Master Classes by world renowned performers are regularly offered to our students. Past artists have included Slide Hampton, Charles McPherson, Peter Bernstein, Eric Alexander, Vincent Herring, Regina Carter, Harry Connick, Jr., and Brian Lynch. The Conservatory’s resident jazz sextet We Six also presents an annual concert series featuring its signature straight-ahead style.

Summer jazz camps are offered for high school and middle school students. Jazz jam sessions, open to high school and adult musicians of all experience levels, take place the second Friday of each month and are free and open to the public. Students have access to the Dorothea Music Library which includes thousands of books, scores, DVDs, and the Ron Cuzner collection of over 10,000 jazz CDs.

Private Lessons – New Student Discount

$179 for six 30-minute lessons – Satisfaction Guaranteed
Private lessons are idea for fine tuning your musical skills or beginning to play a new instrument. Start your musical journey today with an introductory six-lesson package – satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

Instruments  |  Bass · Flute · Guitar · Percussion · Piano · Saxophone · Trombone · Trumpet · Voice

Registration for Kids & Teens


Registration for Adults


Wish to speak with someone? Call Student Services at 414-276-5760. Tuition for private instruction ranges from $32-$35 per 30-minute lesson, $48-$52.50 for a 45-minute lesson, or $64-$70 for 60-minute lessons. View a full list of policies and student benefits here.

Jazz Foundations

Ages 12 – 15
Begin your jazz studies in this uniquely crafted course for grades 6-9. Build your skills in performance, improvisation, ear training, jazz history, and more. Prerequisite: Two years of instrumental study.

Mon, Jun 25 – Jul 20 · 4:00-4:55 PM
Mark Davis · 6 weeks · $129 · Audubon Court

Great Jazz Guitar Solos

Ages 16 – Adult
Experience the mastery of legendary jazz guitarists. You will get a hands-on exploration of classic jazz guitar solos, focusing on relevant theory and techniques used in each piece. Open to all guitarists with a basic knowledge of chords, and tablature or notation.

Tue, Feb 6 – Apr 24 · 7:00-7:55 PM
Paul Silbergleit · 12 weeks · $239 · McIntosh|Goodrich


Experience the finest Jazz Education in comprehensive, year-round Jazz honors ensembles and Big Band. Enhance your skills, prepare for college, or get on the fast-track to a professional career. Admittance into the program is based on audition, which take place on Saturday, May 5.  Contact Student Services (414-276-5760) to schedule an audition time.

Batterman Ensemble

Wed, Jan 3 – Mar 28 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Eric Jacobson · 15 weeks · $299 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Wed, Jun 27 – Aug 8 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Eric Jacobson · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Merit Ensemble

Wed, Jan 3 – Mar 28 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Jim Paolo · 15 weeks · $299 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Wed, Jun 27 – Aug 8 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Jim Paolo · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Jazz Ensemble

Wed, Jan 3 – Mar 28 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Aaron Gardner · 15 weeks · $299 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Wed, Jun 27 – Aug 8 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Aaron Gardner · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Tony King Ensemble

Wed, Jan 3 – Mar 28 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Eric Schoor · 15 weeks · $299 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Wed, Jun 27 – Aug 8 · 6:00-6:55 PM
Eric Schoor · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Big Band

Wed, Jan 2  – Mar 28 · 8:00-8:55 PM
Eric Schoor · 15 weeks · $299 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Wed, Jun 27 – Aug 8 · 8:00-8:55PM
Eric Schoor · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Jazz Combo: Intermediate

Join a small jazz ensemble and learn the fundamentals of improvisation, accompaniment, and jazz standards in a fun and creative environment.

Tue, Feb 6 – Apr 24 · 5:30-6:25 PM
Eric Schoor · 12 weeks · $239 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Tue, Jun 12 – Jul 24 · 5:30-6:25 PM
Eric Schoor · 6 weeks · $129 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Blue Note Ensemble

Build musical bonds with friends, new and old, in this ensemble for amateur jazz musicians as you learn, rehearse, and perform tunes from the classic Blue Note albums of the ‘50s and ‘60s.

Wed, Jan 31 – Apr 18 · 8:00-8:55 PM
Eric Jacobson · 12 weeks · $239 · McIntosh|Goodrich

Jazz Institute Faculty

The teaching artists for jazz are gifted performers and skilled in nurturing students’ musical talents.

Mark Davis

Chair — Jazz Institute, Piano

Chair — Jazz Institute, Piano

WCM faculty member since 1992. B.S., with honors, Skidmore College. Mr. Davis is Jazz Institute Chair and a member of the Conservatory’s We Six. His WCM instructors included Adelaide Banaszynski and David Hazeltine. He later studied with jazz legend Barry Harris. He has performed with many jazz luminaries, including Jimmy Heath, Charles McPherson, Slide Hampton, Brian Lynch, Vincent Herring, Peter Bernstein, and Frank Morgan. He is also on the faculty of Wisconsin Lutheran College, Cardinal Stritch University, and Alverno College. He has done work for the Hal Leonard Corporation including transcriptions for Miles Davis: Kind of Blue for their Transcribed Score Series and numerous recordings for their Real Book Play-Along Series. Mr. Davis can be heard on the We Six CD Bird Say.

David Bayles

Percussion, Jazz Institute

Percussion, Jazz Institute

Dave Bayles has performed with many well-known artists including Peter Bernstein, Slide Hampton, Barry Harris, David Hazeltine, Vincent Herring, Carolyn Leonhart, Brian Lynch, Joe Magnerelli, Kevin Mahogny, Jack McDuff, Bob Mintzer, Frank Morgan, James Moody, Kim Richmond, Jim Pugh, Steve March-Torme, Melvin Rhyne, Charles McPherson, Terell Stafford, Ernie Watts, Steve Wiest and Phil Woods.

Dave has appeared in numerous festivals and concert series, including Chicago Jazz Festival, Fox Jazz Fest, Third Ward Jazz Festival, Isthmus Jazz Festival, Trout Art Museum, Jazz in the Park and Jazz at Five (Madison). He performs regularly at jazz venues around the Midwest, including The Jazz Estate, Blu, Mason Street Grill, Pete Miller's, Andy's Jazz Club, The Green Mill and The Jazz Showcase.

In addition to keeping an active performance schedule, Dave is an accomplished educator and clinician, and is currently on the faculty at UW-Parkside, UW-Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Dave works with band directors throughout the Midwest organizing summer camps and clinics, and giving master classes on jazz, percussion and drum set.

Students taking private lessons with Dave are exceptionally prepared to study percussion at the undergraduate and graduate level, and many of his private students have become accomplished musicians and educators in their own right.

Dave earned a bachelor of arts in music education from UW-Milwaukee.

Marcya Daneille

Voice, General Music, Jazz Institute

Voice, General Music, Jazz Institute

Classically trained, jazz influenced and soul inspired, Marcya Daneille is a graduate of Roosevelt University where she received her vocal training at the prestigious Chicago Musical College, (currently known as the Chicago College of Performing Arts), after which she continued graduate level vocal training at the University of Iowa. Marcya has taught private voice to students of all levels for thirty years, which includes more than a decade in New York. As a classical singer, Marcya began her career as a soprano and has sung with Lincoln Opera Chicago, the Lyric Theater of Illinois and the Bel Canto Chorus of Milwaukee. Gradually Marcya transitioned from singing classical music exclusively to performing an eclectic repertoire of music. Marcya has performed alongside a diverse group of critically acclaimed artists such as Simon Estes, Wycliffe Gordon, BeBe Winans, Vanessa Williams, Laurel Masse and Gerald Levert.

John Foshager

Piano, Jazz Institute

Piano, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 1987. B.M. Wisconsin Conservatory of Music. Mr. Foshager has studied with Tony King and David Hazeltine as well as jazz legend Barry Harris. He has performed with a host of local jazz artists such as Hattush Alexander, Berkeley Fudge and Manty Ellis. He has also performed with internationally known artists Spike Robinson, Scott Hamilton, George Braith, Frank Morgan and Richie Cole. A WAMI award winner for his work with the Juli Wood Quartet, Mr. Foshager has performed at the Playboy Club in Chicago and venues throughout the Midwest. His recordings include a CD with his John Foshager Trio/Quartet, featuring Dennis Irwin and George Fludas; work for the Hal Leonard Company; and an appearance on the WYMS Jazz Sampler.

Aaron Gardner

Saxophone, Flute, Jazz Institute

Saxophone, Flute, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 2005. Aaron Gardner is a graduate of Berklee College of Music. After 10 years living in New York touring and recording with the band ulu, Aaron moved back to his roots in Milwaukee. Since then he has played and recorded with many bands and artists including De La Buena, Choir Fight, Jamie Breiwick, Steve Peplin, The Static Chicken, Tristan Royalty Squad, The Extra Crispy Brass Band, The Soul Trio, The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and Eric Bennet.

Jeff Hamann

Bass, Jazz Institute

Bass, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 1998. A member of the Conservatory’s We Six jazz sextet, Mr. Hamann attended the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, winning first place in the Jazz Studies Scholarship competition four years in a row. He has worked as a clinician and jazz festival judge in the Milwaukee, Kenosha and Waukesha public schools as well as at UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison and UW-Green Bay. Performing with such well-known artists as Frank Morgan, Marlena Shaw, Steve Allen, and Eric Alexander, he has toured throughout the Midwest and has appeared at Jazz Yantra in Bombay, India. Jeff is also the bassist on Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know show, airing Saturdays on Wisconsin Public Radio and broadcast nationally on NPR stations. He can be heard on the 2005 We Six CD Bird Say.

Eric Jacobson

Trumpet, Jazz Institute, General Music

Trumpet, Jazz Institute, General Music

WCM faculty member since 2008.

As a performer, teacher and clinician Eric Jacobson is in high demand. Eric has performed with Grammy© Award Winners Phil Woods, Benny Golson, Brian Lynch, Tito Puente Jr. and Eric Benet. Eric has had the privilege to perform and study with well known jazz artists such as: David Hazeltine, Jim Rotondi, Tim Hagans,Willie Thomas, Slide Hampton, Maynard Ferguson, Doc Severinsen.

As a Music Major he studied Trumpet at UW-Whitewater from 1993-1997 with Dr. Frank Hanson, and Jazz Director Steve Wiest. Eric continues to work on his craft and has had the privilege to Study with;  Brian Lynch, Alex Norris, Ryan Kisor, and Wynton Marsalis.

Eric toured the world in 2010-2013 with Milwaukee’s local soul band "Kings Go Forth" but now stays a bit closer to home and is a top call trumpeter for high profile gigs in Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago and frequently plays with the popular Milwaukee-based Latin band De la Buena.

Since 2010, he has been the trumpeter with the Conservatory's resident jazz sextet We Six, providing fiery solos and contributing arrangements and original compositions to the band's repertoire.The Jazz Institute of the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music has been gaining a national reputation in recent years due in large part to the tireless efforts of trumpeter Eric Jacobson.Served for several years as the Chair of Woodwinds, Brass, and Percussion. teaches Materials of Jazz as part of the Honors Program curriculum, and directs our award-winning Batterman Ensemble who recently won Best Small group in DownBeat Magazine.Eric has also been busy in the recording studio. He recently recorded for Johannes Wallmann "The Sweet Minute Big Band" and  Willy Porter’s CD Human Kindness. Watch for Eric's latest CD as a leader, Discover, to be released under Brian Lynch's jazz label Holistic MusicWorks.


Eric has been fortunate enough to perform and study with well-known artists such as Maynard Ferguson, Slide Hampton, Brian Lynch, Jim Rotondi, Tim Hagans, Tito Puente, Joan Rivers, Eric Benet, Mayer Hawthorne, Robert Randolph, and Wynton Marsalis. Eric has toured throughout the world with Kings Go Forth who was featured in Time Magazine as being "2011's Best Soul Band".


In 2001, Eric released his debut jazz CD entitled Inspiration which features some of Milwaukee's best jazz musicians as well as New York trumpet sensation and Grammy Award winner Brian Lynch.  Eric released his second album in 2011 entitled "Two A.M.” and his 2012 release Combinations – Live at the Jazz Estate features Brian Lynch and piano legend Barry Velleman. Eric was recently recognized in Jazzscope Magazine by David Hoffman as "having a gorgeous round sound on both the trumpet and flugelhorn" and being "on his way to being a jazz giant."

Jim Paolo

Bass, Jazz Institute

Bass, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 1981. Bachelor of Music Degree in Jazz Performance. Regional Freelance performer and teacher as well as leader of his own small ensembles. Has performed with top jazz artists in the United States, including Buddy Montgomery, Melvin Rhyne, Frank Morgan, Berkeley Fudge, David Hazeltine, Brian Lynch, Manty Ellis, Wille Pickens, Ali Ryerson, Greg Abate, Von Freeman, and Henry Johnson. Mr. Paolo can be heard on the CD On the Edge with The Luis Diaz Quintet, WYMS radio sampler CD with Berkeley Fudge on "On a Misty Night" and Jeanne Woodall’s It’s Never too Late. He is currently on faculty teaching Jazz Bass, Theory and Performance at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, private teaching, clinician for the Jazz Experience for Milwaukee Public Schools, and at various colleges.

Robin Pluer



WCM faculty member since 2004. Ms. Pluer is a perennial WAMI Award winner as well as the Shepherd Express’ Best Female Vocalist. She has composed and performed music with Paul Cebar and John Sieger. With Juli Wood, Connie Grauer and Kim Zick (Mrs. Fun) she created The Rhythm Club to perform an eclectic array of jazz, pop, R&B and French songs. Robin collaborated with Peter Buffett, recording a song for his album, Songs from an East Side Attic. Robin combines vintage French chansons from the 20s, 30s and 40s with contemporary songs, which she performs each year at Bastille Days in Milwaukee. Robin studied with Martha Artis (at WCM), Jessie Hauck, and Sylvie Frere. She has also studied at L’Alliance Francaise of Manhattan and at UWM.

Molly Pufall

Voice, Choir, Jazz Institute

Voice, Choir, Jazz Institute

Ms. Pufall-Brown is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, and the Millikin University School of Music. She is equally versed in teaching and performing vocal jazz and classical repertoire. From 2008 to 2015 she was Assistant Professor of Music at Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she directed the Alverno College Choir, Alverno Chamber Vocal Ensemble, Jazz/Pop Ensemble and taught private voice lessons, Vocal Techniques, Voice Lab, various music seminar courses, and served as the Audition and Performance Coordinator.

Ms. Pufall-Brown currently is the Director of Adult Choirs at Unity Lutheran Church (Cross of Life campus) in Brookfield, Wisconsin. She also maintains a performance calendar with recitals and appearing regularly with The Marion Consort, a Chicagobased professional Early Music vocal ensemble, of which she is a founding member.

In her spare time, Ms. Pufall-Brown likes to play ultimate frisbee, spend time at the lakefront with her husband and two young daughters and their golden retriever, Hazel, ride her bike as much as possible, and practice Pilates.

Eric Schoor

Saxophone, Jazz Institute

Saxophone, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 2012. B.F.A. summa cum laude in Jazz Studies and Multiple Woodwinds from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Eric performs and teaches extensively throughout the Midwest, giving clinics and lessons, as well as playing clubs and festivals. He has had the good fortune of performing and recording with nationally recognized jazz artists such as Brian Lynch, Dan Trudell, Francois Moutin, Tom Garling, Mark Johnson, John Fedchock, David Hazeltine, and Manty Ellis. Eric is also a member of the Conservatory's jazz sextet We Six. His debut CD, Combinations-Live at the Jazz Estate, was released in 2013 on the Hollistic MusicWorks record label. www.ericschoor.com

Mitchell Shiner

Faculty — Percussion, Jazz Institute

Faculty — Percussion, Jazz Institute

Mitch Shiner began playing drums at age eight and has been studying percussion since age nine. For Mitch, music has as always been about connecting with an audience. Whether on stage or on a recording, his vibrant, high-energy style permeates every performance.

Shiner, drummer and vibraphonist, graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Studies. In addition, he received a prestigious Performer’s Certificate for completion of an outstanding senior recital. Mitch studied under Professors Steve Houghton and Michael Spiro.

Currently based in Milwaukee, Mitch is an in-demand performer, active educator, and composer. He performs with groups of all genres and styles, including Mix and Match, CNJ Latin Jazz, Mark Davis Quartet, Foreign Goods, Milwaukee Jazz Orchestra and Present Music.

In 2014, Mitch released his debut CD, FLY! to critical acclaim. The album features The BloomingTones Big Band, made up of his colleagues and mentors from Indiana University. FLY! invites listeners on a musical journey with five original compositions and five out-of-the-box arrangements. Mitch is a recording artist for Patois Records, a label fronted by Grammy-nominated trombonist Wayne Wallace.

Mitch gains as much inspiration from playing and composing music as he does from teaching others about music. Recently he has conducted masterclasses at UW-Parkside, University of Indianapolis, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Park Tudor School, and Nicolet High School. He was one of the featured clinicians for the 2015 Summerfest Big Band Camp, along with Curt Hanrahan and Mike Steinel. He currently is the Director of Percussion Studies at Cedarburg High School. He teaches percussion at several Milwaukee public schools through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music’s Conservatory Connections program.

Mitch is a proud endorsing artist for Mike Balter Mallets. Balter’s wide range of percussion products allow percussionists of all levels to give perform at their highest musical potential.

Paul Silbergleit

Guitar, Jazz Institute

Guitar, Jazz Institute

WCM faculty member since 1996 and a member of the Conservatory’s We Six jazz sextet. B.A., Oberlin College. An accomplished jazz composer as well as performer, Mr. Silbergleit has played clubs, concert halls, and festivals throughout the area as both a leader and a sideman. He has appeared with Jack McDuff, Jon Faddis, Richie Cole, Tierney Sutton, Melvin Rhyne, Brian Lynch, David Hazeltine, and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, among others. Both his 1996 debut CD Silberglicity (on which other Conservatory faculty members are featured) and his 2003 release, My New Attitude, have made it onto the jazz charts with nationwide airplay, and he can also be heard on the 2005 We Six CD Bird Say. Mr. Silbergleit has also taught at Cardinal Stritch University, and has authored numerous instructional materials for Hal Leonard, including the recently published 25 Great Jazz Guitar Solos, a major book of transcriptions, bios, and lessons.


We Six, the Conservatory’s jazz ensemble-in-residence, offers residencies for public, private, choice, and charter schools, providing an engaging and dynamic educational program for each school’s jazz ensemble. We Six includes six well established and highly effective teaching artists: Dave Bayles, Mark Davis, Jeff Hamann, Eric Jacobson, Eric Schoor, and Paul Silbergleit.

Each member of the group has advanced knowledge and experience in different instruments: piano, saxophone, trumpet, drums, guitar, and bass, which expands the breadth of impact of this program. This unique, education-based side by side program gives students the opportunity to work with some of the finest jazz musicians in the area.

We Six residencies provide students in a school jazz ensemble the opportunity to learn from, work with, and perform alongside a professional jazz ensemble. Members of the ensemble work closely with the school jazz program director as assistants and mentors in the teaching process. They will mentor and teach students in the ensembles as a whole as well as work with individual or small groups of students. We Six will sit in with the ensemble, giving students the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians.

In 2016-17, with the support of Milwaukee Arts Board and the Theodore W. Batterman Family Foundation, We Six Residencies took place at four MPS Schools: Milwaukee High School of the Arts, Reagan High School, Riverside High School, and Rufus King High School.


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