Laney College



Welcome to Jazz at Laney College

Since it’s founding, our department has offered students the opportunity to work with mentors who are both seasoned performers and highly trained educators. We are proud to announce a new Jazz AA and Jazz Certificate of Achievement, which can be earned along side either the AA or AA-T in Music, without duplicating coursework. Some students may also want to take advantage of courses in our Music Industry Program, including: Electronic Music and MIDI, Songwriting, Music Business, and Live Sound. Our Jazz offerings include:

Jazz Combos

Award winning director Charlie Gurke directs small ensembles playing modern Jazz standards. Occasional offsite gigs and collaboration with the Jazz Orchestra. (Successful audition required)

Jazz Orchestra

Director Charlie Gurke leads a large Jazz Ensemble in exciting repertoire including old standards, Latin Jazz, and new arrangements. (Successful audition required)

Jazz Piano




In the Jazz Piano Class at Laney College, students learn the fundamentals of how modern Jazz pianists play chords and improvise melodies. The class is aimed at beginning and intermediate piano students. Beginning students must have at least a rudimentary understanding of the piano keyboard (one semester of Beginning Piano, Music 130, is recommended). Jazz Theory is discussed along the way- including: chord symbols, Jazz voicings, ii-v-I chord progressions, and Jazz scales. Instructor John Gove, is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and an award winning arranger.

Pop Music Ensemble

Director Victor Siu leads a mixed group of instruments and singers. The group covers rhythm and blues, rock, and popular music from the 1950’s to the present. This class is open to students who like popular music or interested in learning popular music (successful audition required).