The Hilton Head Jazz Camp was formed in order to provide instrumental students in middle and high school a fun and intensive summer jazz experience.  Many times, school music programs do not have the time in the school year to expose students to the many styles of jazz, teach improvisation and work with an incredible faculty who plays their specific instrument.  Music Director James Berry founded the Hilton Head Jazz Camp in 2011 with his longtime friend and saxophonist extraordinaire, Josh Kravette, modeled after a similar camp he co-directed in New Hampshire.  The Hilton Head Jazz Camp not only provides a terrific week of summer music for our students, but has the advantage of being located in beautiful Hilton Head, SC and sponsored by the non-profit Junior Jazz Foundation.  Since our start in 2011 with only 9 students attending the camp, this past summer we hosted nearly 100 students, representing 28 schools and 11 states as far away as Alaska.

Master pianist Kevin Bales discussing deep jazz theory with piano students and fellow faculty Martin Lesch.

Students who attend the all-day Hilton Head Jazz Camp often find their love for music and playing their instrument reignited by the exciting schedule of big band and combo rehearsals, masterclasses, theory, improv and optional private lessons.  With 18 full-time faculty including our artist-in-residence program, students get to work intensively in their small and large ensembles, improv, theory, and composition classes with amazing results.   Several other fun activities are also added in during the week during lunchtime and in the evenings.  After all of our hard work, our finale concert takes place on the Saturday of camp week and is open to the public.  Last year’s finale concert attracted over 500 guests and was a huge success!

Important notice about COVID-19: “After meeting with the board of the Junior Jazz Foundation, we have unanimously decide to cancel the HH Jazz Camp along with our clinic and guitar institute for 2020. As difficult as this is for us and our students who are desperately looking forward to camp, opinions aside, we must do what is safe and cautious for everyone involved. Outside of last year’s 125 students between the three camp programs, we had at least 500+ people involved in some aspect of the camp – whether it be attending a concert or volunteering. If you have registered for the camp, you will receive a full refund on your registration fee and we will release any hotel reservations. For our college interns, if you are available for 2021, we would love to have you back again. We are not planning on a virtual camp at this time, but have some other possibilities in the works to support your jazz education directly in the upcoming year. On behalf of the faculty, we can’t express how much we’ll miss you all this July and can’t wait to GO BIG for our 10th year in 2021.

Love you all,

James Berry
Camp Director
Hilton Head Jazz Camp

What makes the Hilton Head Jazz Camp special?

  • A world-class 18 full-time faculty from all across the United States, with two professional musicians for each instrument studied at the camp
  • Our comprehensive program offering students areas of focus from big band to vocal jazz to our unique jazz strings program
  • Our elective courses including jazz history, music technology, composition, advanced theory, vocal jazz ensemble and much more! 
  • A 4:1 faculty to student ratio, giving each student an opportunity to learn from a master teacher
  • Superior overnight accommodations and cuisine to most summer camps
  • An incredibly affordable camp compared to our competitors
  • The natural beauty and surroundings of the Hilton Head region, with access to the world renowned Jazz Corner. 
  • Above all, the encouraging and welcoming atmosphere that you can expect in the Lowcountry! 

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