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


Jazz Camp for Girls was inspired by ‘JazzCamp for Piger’ a successful initiative developed by Jazz Danmark and the Copenhagen Jazz Festival to introduce young female musicians to improvisation. It provides the opportunity for young female identifying musicians to experience Jazz music and explore improvisation in a supportive environment. The project connects tutors from across the North, encouraging them to network and share examples of good practice. It also helps to signpost girls to regular jazz sessions in their region and ultimately aims to create a progressive pathway from music hub to NYMO to conservatoire level.

The camps are designed for female identifying musicians aged between 9-15 with no or little experience of improvising. They aim to inspire them through a range of activities celebrating the work of women in the Jazz industry. Each camp may have a slightly different entrance criteria so check the specific flyer for your area. All instruments and vocalists are welcome!

That would be wonderful! Unfortunately, not yet. Our camps take the form of a one day or two day workshop depending on your venue.

There are camps across the North of England and further afield with new partners joining the project each year. For 2023 Camps are proposed in Hull, Leeds, Doncaster, Trafford, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle and North East Lincolnshire. If you would like to host a camp please get in touch!

Please apply to the camp in your area as each partner organisation has a slightly different funding situation. You will not have to pay more than £20 to attend a one day Jazz Camp for Girls event.

The camps generally run from 10am-4pm with breaks. Your child will need to bring a packed lunch with them.

To begin with all the girls will be together for fun, icebreakers and warm up activities. After that they will be put into ability bands and work with their Jazz camp tutor on a range of activities. The provision at each camp may be slightly different as we encourage our tutors to work to their particular strengths and musical interests. All of our camp tutors are experienced jazz educators and performers.

At the end of the day there may be an informal sharing session so that you can see what the groups have been working on. However, Jazz Camp for Girls is not focussed on the final performance, it is focussed on the process rather than the product and your child will leave with new musical concepts that they can apply to their future practice. Your child will also leave with a fantastic Jazz Camp for Girls handbook packed with practise tips and interviews with inspirational female jazz musicians.

Regular information will be available on the Jazz North website www.jazznorth.org and socials including our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/jazzcampforgirls/

From January 2023 each camp will start their individual promotion.

To register your interest in attending Jazz Camp for Girls please email helena@jazznorth.org

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