Jazz Camp
for Girls

An unforgettable first experience of jazz and improvisation for girls aged between 9 and 15 years.

Picture of parliamentary jazz education award certificate

National Jazz Education Award

Jazz Camp for Girls and Helena Summerfield were awarded the Jazz Educator of the Year award at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2022.
Helena Summerfield says:

‘Winning the award means the world to me and I am delighted that Jazz Camp for Girls has been recognised in this way. I believe that Jazz Camp for Girls will have a positive influence on readdressing gender balance within the jazz industry, not just by creating future performers but also educators, promoters and audiences.’

Girls are given the opportunity to flourish under the mentorship of female role models, discover improvisation, what it feels like to play in a band, and to develop confidence.

The camps first began in February 2019 with four one-day camps in Rotherham, Greater Manchester, Lancaster and Huddersfield.

They were so successful that we made the camps bigger for 2020 and took them to more places across the north of England including Sage Gateshead and Penrith. The last camps in March 2020, were also due to take place in Blackpool and The Northern Jazz Centre in Doncaster. Due to Covid-19, they were delivered online by incredible musicians Lara Jones and Megan Roe – read how they pulled out all the stops to create a great day of inspiration here.

In 2021 we took the camps online and with five partners we created a virtual music school building complete with assembly hall and music rooms. As well as playing music our friends at Women in Jazz Media ran photography, podcasting and writing sessions and Conductive Music ran sessions for girls to build their own interactive music computer game. Fiona Ross of Women in Jazz Media talks about the weekend here.

In 2022 we ran camps with partners in Hull, Leeds and Manchester.

Doncaster Youth Jazz Association – camp tutors include house music superstar Cat on Sax plus Mark Ellis, Sonia Mellor and Helena Summerfield.

Hull Music Service and Leeds Conservatoire including tutors Tori Freestone, Ella Hohnen-Ford, Fini Bearman and Caroline Boaden. Trafford Music Service camp tutors – Helen Pillinger, Simone Manunza and Helena Summerfield – all work at the music service and also play together in the Ain’t Misbehavin’ jazz band. We also had some fantastic jazz ambassadors from the NYJO.

Addressing the gender imbalance in jazz, this initiative was inspired by the success of a similar project created and led by JazzDanmark, and was initially funded by Ronnie Scott’s Charitable Foundation, Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation and Golsoncott Foundation.

Download the Jazz Camp for Girls 2020 Evaluation Report

Join us as a partner in 2023

Jazz Camp for Girls events will next take place over the weekend 4 & 5 March 2023.

New partners are welcome to join the project.

All partners receive a comprehensive resource pack and support from Jazz North.

To find out how your organisation can be involved get in touch with project leader Helena Summerfield helena@jazznorth.org.

Find out more about Jazz Camp for Girls

Short film from one of our 2022 camps
Helena explains the history of the project
Eva Frost of Jazz Danmark talking about the project at jazzahead in 2018