Mentored by the Masters

Your New Supporting Faculty

Being the band director doesn't mean that you have to be an expert at the nuances of every single instrument. With Mentored by the Masters, you bring world-class musicians into your classroom every single day to coach your students.

Each video series dives deep into the nuances of Jazz performance. Learn emboucher from Hollywood's lead trumpet player, Wayne Bergeron, or study how to use brushes on a snare drum with Jay Lawrence. Each of our instructors is now part of your supporting faculty.

A Professional Mentor for Every Section

With Mentored by the Masters, every section of your band can be stand-out amazing. 

Trumpeters learn innovative techniques from Wayne Bergeron; Drummers find their pocket with Jay Lawrence; Trombonists swing with Al Kaplan; Saxophonists study with Ray Smith; and soloists master improvisation with Kris Johnson. 


Saxophone with Ray Smith

Ray Smith is not only an outrageous musician and performer, but he is also one of the best educators alive today! He is currently the Director of Jazz Studies and Professor of Saxophone at Brigham Young University.

His jazz big band, Synthesis, has received national and international recognition by winning many jazz festival competitions such as the Pacific Coast Collegiate Jazz Festival, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, and many others. They have also performed in some of the great international jazz festivals, including The Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the North Sea Jazz Festival in Holland, the Antibes Jazz Festival in the French Riviera, The Riga Jazz Festival in Latvia, and The Pori Jazz Festival in Finland. In 2013, Synthesis was named the Top University Jazz Big Band in the Country by the Downbeat Magazine Student Music Awards, and the band performed at the Jazz Education Network Conference in Dallas.


Jazz Drumming with Jay Lawrence

As lead drummer on the A-ccompany Jazz Library, Jay brings an insane amount of chops and all-around coolness to the tracks. In his Mentored by the Masters series, Jay teaches the language of Jazz Drumming in a very informative and fresh way. This series is packed with technique, style, history, jargon, and more.

Jay Lawrence is a celebrated musician who has enjoyed a diverse career as a performing and recording artist. Jay is a distinguished drummer, ethnic and orchestral percussionist, composer and arranger, educator, clinician, adjudicator, bandleader, contractor, and author.

Jay has performed with an impressive list of artists: Paul Anka, Natalie Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Gladys Knight, Frank Jr. and Nancy Sinatra, Randy Brecker, Eddie Daniels, Brandon Fields, Carl Fontana, Wycliffe Gordon, Don Menza, James Moody, New York Voices, John Pizzarelli, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Bobby Shew, Diane Schuur, and Byron Stripling to name just a few.


Mastering Improvisation with Kris Johnson

Mastering Improvisation, with Kris Johnson, is a 21-part video series where students learn the sometimes intimidating principle of improvisation. Kris approaches improv like learning a language: first, you listen and fall in love with the language. Next, transcribe, learn, and recite what you hear from great recordings. Lastly, use your musical vocabulary to come up with your own improvised “sentences.” 

The series covers a wide range of skills, from navigating various scales to transcribing to understanding chord function. While Kris leads the instruction with trumpet demonstrations, he applies the principles to the entire band.

Kris Johnson is an award-winning trumpeter, composer, and educator. He has been featured as a soloist and writer/arranger on an impressive list of albums including five Grammy-nominated releases. He is perhaps most well known for his work with The Count Basie Orchestra.