Mike Lee's

Jazz To College Comprehensive

A step-by-step course for jazz school applicants

Your child has decided to apply to a college or conservatory to study jazz.
You may be asking yourself:

  • Where do I begin?
  • Which schools should we apply to?
  • How am I supposed to manage all the different applications and deadlines?
  • Where and how do we record pre-screening videos?
  • What do we need to do to get a scholarship?

Now you can get guidance from someone who’s been there. I have been helping students successfully audition for major conservatories for over ten years. My experience as a teacher-mentor, parent, AND college professor recruiting, assessing, and advocating for incoming students make me uniquely qualified to help you on this journey.

Jazz to College Comprehensive

Enroll Today

Save 20% when you order by September 12th

Tuition $497
Now only $397
Use discount code "EARLY" until September 12th​

Included with your membership:

  • Eight live webinars recorded for repeated viewing
  • Live Q&A
  • Access to our resource library.
  • Detailed tutorials for each aspect of the process
  • How to prepare musically (starting now!)
  • How to choose the right school(s)
  • What you need to know about scholarships
  • Recording your pre-screening 
  • Preparing for the live audition/interview
  • Choosing your school
  • Understanding tuition/scholarship offers
  • Appealing for more aid
  • Worksheets & questionnaires to help guide you
  • Pre-filled spreadsheets  to track your progress
  • Strategies on managing dozens of deadlines and due dates
  • Email support for your unique questions
  • Detailed information about leading programs 
  • Recorded interviews with jazz directors
  • Community of parents and students
  • Expert guidance August to May

We offer 8 specific Webinar Coaching Sessions
over a 10 month period

Calendar of Events:

Sunday September 13th 6 pm EST - Webinar One

Preparing repertoire for your college auditions. How to put in the work now that will manifest in your October recording date. Learn what professors are listening for.
Q and A

Sunday September 20th 6 pm EST Webinar Two

Choosing Your School. What Major. Education Major, Double Major, Jazz Performance. Music Therapy. Graduate Degrees.

Sunday October 4th 6 pm EST Webinar Three

College application steps. Setting up the calendar. Recommendation requests, Fafsa requirements, test scores, common app, scholarship search. Essays. Differences in application procedure between schools.

Sunday October 18th 6 pm EST Webinar Four

Prescreening audition recording. Professional accompaniment, Studio or home recording? Narrowing down the repertoire. Video versus audio recording. Q and A.

Sunday November 1st - 6 pm EST Webinar Five

Check in and check up. Setting reminders. Double checking requirements and due dates. Final recording set-list, tune structure, role of the session producer. Q and A

Sunday December 6th - 6 pm EST Webinar Six

Planning live auditions. Responding to Prescreening results. Going over last submission checklists. Are college visits possible this year?  Q and A

Sunday January 31 - 6 pm EST - Webinar Seven

Understanding invitations/ rules of recruitment. What questions to ask. Taking a sample lesson, preparing for the live audition. Preparation checklist. What to wear, etc. Q and A.

Sunday March 7 - 6 pm EST Webinar Eight (part I)

Deciphering your acceptance/award letters. Choosing the best fit. Negotiating for more scholarship. How to advocate with integrity. Q and A

Saturday April 3rd - 1 pm Webinar Eight (part II)

Deciphering your acceptance/award letters. Choosing the best fit. Negotiating for more scholarship. How to advocate with integrity. Q and A
Seven years ago my oldest son, Julian, applied to college to study jazz. Like any parent I wanted to assist him. I thought it would be a straightforward process, but what I found instead shocked me.

The application process wasn’t a single linear process. There were no clear instructions or an easily defined set of tasks. It hit me like random onslaught of due dates, requirements, essays, transcripts, and sometimes multiple applications for one institution. Further considerations included recommendations from private music teachers, high school teachers, resumes describing student and professional experiences, scholarship and financial aid forms. All of these challenges were already stirring up my anxiety before we even thought about the prescreening and audition recordings or live auditions.

Every single one of these requirements often had different deadlines, sometimes up to five different due dates for one college. Considering the number of colleges we were applying to, we realized we had quite an array of dates to keep track of and deadlines to meet.

When we moved on to the prescreening and audition videos, a new set of questions arose. How many tunes did we need to record? What were the different requirements from each school? Which tunes to record? how many choruses? do we shoot video or record audio only? do we record at home or in a professional studio?

I was shocked and frustrated. Surely there must be someone to help me. But as we started our fact-finding and information gathering, I quickly realized that most of the information available online and from high school counselors wasn’t relevant to a music student. The advice centered around things like “portfolio diversity,” grade point average, and test scores. None of the advice focused at all on the single most important factor in acceptance to music school – the audition. And advice on that process was very scarce.

If anyone should have felt comfortable and confident about this process, it should have been me. As a professional jazz saxophonist in New York City for many years, I already had working relationships with faculty members at almost every major music school and conservatory on the East Coast, and as a clinician and guest artist I had presented hundreds of masterclasses at universities throughout the United States. I had produced successful audition recordings for several of my students who were already attending major conservatories.

But none of that experience prepared me for what my own child would face or how to manage the dizzying number of dates, deadlines and considerations.

After going through this gauntlet the first time, I started giving seminars for our students at Jazz House Kids on navigating this process. I started to actively guide students and parents, helping them as best as I could to manage the multiple tasks that would confront them. I started providing individual assessments and guidance in addition to the group seminars.

In the past ten years I have helped over thirty students through the process to successful placements in major conservatories. We now have students enrolled at New England Conservatory, Berklee School of Music, Montclair State University, The Juilliard School, Oberlin Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music, The New School, William Paterson University, Rutgers University, SUNY Purchase, Eastman School of Music, Northwestern University, New Jersey City University, Temple, and Miami University.

Nothing can make this easy, but no one else has the diversity of experience that I do to guide you through this exciting, sometimes treacherous and very rewarding journey.
Originally from Cleveland, Ohio, saxophonist Mike Lee has established himself in the New York City/Northern New Jersey area for many years. He balances a thriving performing career with a distinguished teaching resume. He performs regularly in New York City as a member of a wide array of jazz ensembles. His recent associations include The Jimmy Heath Orchestra, The Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, Wallace Roney’s Universe Orchestra, The Oliver Lake Big Band, The Loston Harris Trio, The Nat Adderley Jr. Quartet, Josh Evans Big Band, Dave Stryker, Frank Lacy, TS Monk, and The Roy Hargrove Big Band. He performs regularly at venues such as The Bluenote, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, Smalls, The Jazz Gallery, Fat Cat, and Bemelman’s Bar at the Carlyle Hotel. Recent tours have taken him up and down the East Coast, to Italy, France, California and Beijing, China.

Mike Lee is Professor of Jazz Saxophone at The John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University. In 2009, Lee helped found and develop Jazz House Kid’s in-house jazz education program. As the instructor of the first class (2009) at the Jazz House and Director of the JHK Summer Workshop (2010-2012) he oversaw the growth of the program from one class to a thriving jazz school. Mike’s private students have also excelled, winning national awards from the Grammy Band, Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Downbeat Magazine, and Young Arts. He has had several students go on to attend The Juilliard School, Berklee College of Music, Manhattan School of Music, William Paterson, Rutgers, Miami University, and Northwestern University. Lee has presented clinics and workshops throughout the country. Mr. Lee is endorsed by Conn-Selmer saxophones and Vandoren mouthpieces/reeds.

Lee’s musical accomplishments are shared and enjoyed by his musical family. Along with his wife, violinist Rebecca Harris-Lee, they are raising three active young musicians. Their oldest son, saxophonist Julian, a graduate of The Juilliard School, has a thriving career in and around New York City having performed with ensembles including the Mingus Big Band, Wynton Marsalis Quintet, and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Mike Lee’s three children are all establishing themselves as important voices of the next generation.

Julian Lee is one of the most promising young saxophonists in New York City. In addition to a recent stint with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in Rose Theater, he is also a regular at Dizzy’s, where he has led Late Night Sessions, performed as a member of the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and worked as a sideman with some of the city’s top young bandleaders.

Matthew Lee, 18, has been playing gigs in and around New Jersey and New York from a very young age. He has performed in impromptu jam sessions with artists like Roy Hargrove, Joe Lovano, Don Braden, Dave Stryker, and many others. He has been mentored by Shawn Baltazor, Alvester Garnett, Billy Hart and Lenny White. He will be a freshman this year at the Juilliard School.

Jacquie Lee, 14, is a brilliant young jazz and classical violinist who has performed in many important venues with her father and brothers and has received training from some of the greatest living jazz musicians. She cites Regina Carter, Stuff Smith, and Sonny Stitt as her primary influences.

Mike’s wife of 29 years, Rebecca Harris-Lee, is a professional violinist and marathon runner. She performs with the Madison String Quartet and several area orchestras.

Need more information?
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Frequently Asked Questions:​

What if my student is auditioning as a classical music major, is this still for them?

- The course will still have value; much of the material overlaps with classical music applicants, but there will be topics that will apply to jazz applicants only. Please contact us for details. 

Does this course work for graduate or transfer applicants?

- Yes. Absolutely. There are a few minor differences for graduate applicants but they will discussed in the course.

Do you offer private lessons to course members?

- You can access a one time coaching/evaluation session for an additional fee. Occasionally spots open for a new ongoing student in my private teaching studio. Use the contact form below to request further information. 

Who gets access to this course, the college applicant or her/his parent?

- Each membership includes one login for the applicant and one login for the parents. Access for your private teacher can be arranged by request.

Does this course cover everything I need to know about applying for college?

- In a word - no! Every family's experience with this is unique. There will likely be new challenges that arise around your particular situation. But we will be here discovering the answers together. And, if your experience is like mine, you'll learn about your child (or parent) in a wonderful way. 

If I can’t watch the live-streamed webinars when they're aired, will I be able to watch them later?

- Yes. All webinars will be recorded for your convenience

Do you offer individual evaluation/consulting services?

- Yes. Ninety-minute evaluation/consultation services are offered. Course participants get 20% off standard fees

I  have a private teacher; why do I need this course?

- This course works in conjunction with your private teacher to maximize your audition outcome. This course provides a clearinghouse for all your application related resources.

This feels like a lot of money. Can’t I just look this stuff up?

- In weeks of searching, I found very little helpful information specific to music or jazz program applicants online. Because I, as a music industry professional, struggled through this process with my own child, my students and their parents now have the opportunity to reduce stress, save time, and present more effective applications, auditions and scholarship asks.

Music education is a significant investment. Most of my students have received significant scholarships and many are attending conservatories on a full ride. While everyone’s results are different, if your family were to receive even an additional $1,000 annual scholarship, that would save you $4,000 over four years and this course will have more than paid for itself.

Using our methods, you will save yourself a great deal of time and have access to perspectives from inside top music programs. The less time you spend figuring out the systems at play, the more time you and your child can focus on tailoring this process to their unique talent ….Choosing the right-fit schools and putting forward a powerful audition demonstrating their strengths.
More questions?
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