Klezmer Workshops & Jams​

Klezmer is the traditional celebratory music of the Eastern European Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jewish diaspora. From roots in at least the 16th century, klezmer incorporates Ottoman musical modes and gestures with cantorial melodies and old and new folk tunes from Jewish and other surrounding cultures. Traditionally used mostly for Jewish wedding ceremonies and other simkhehs (celebrations), today klezmer music can also be heard as entertainment in concerts, often mixed with music from various cultures of the contemporary world.

Open to those who are intermediate and above on their instruments. Registration is $25/sliding scale (whatever you can pay) in cash or check, at-the-door only, for participants. Listeners and dancers are welcome too; a donation requested. Light snacks are provided.

To help our planning, please RSVP to workshops@klezcalifornia.org and include date/location of session, your name, county where you live, your instrument, and any questions.

If you subscribe to our mailing list for those interested in workshops and jams, we will send you earlier and more detailed information about upcoming workshops.

Bring a recording device or a music stand if you want. Brass players should bring a mute.

For general information, please read About (below).

For information about playing klezmer music in general and specific instruments, see Klezmer Style »

While we recommend learning and playing by ear, session leaders may make sheet music and/or recordings available in our Tune Archive. This Archive also includes popular klezmer tunes at full speed and at half-speed, to make learning by ear as convenient as possible.

Watch some of our leaders perform »

Open to those who are intermediate and above on their instruments. Registration is $25/sliding scale (whatever you can pay) in cash or check, at-the-door only, for participants. Listeners and dancers are welcome too; a donation requested. Light snacks are provided.

To help our planning, please RSVP to workshops@klezcalifornia.org and include date/location of session, your name, county where you live, your instrument, and any questions.

If you subscribe to our mailing list for those interested in workshops and jams, we will send you earlier and more detailed information about upcoming workshops.

Bring a recording device or a music stand if you want. Brass players should bring a mute.

For general information, please read About (below).

For information about playing klezmer music in general and specific instruments, see Klezmer Style »

While we recommend learning and playing by ear, session leaders may make sheet music and/or recordings available in our Tune Archive. This Archive also includes popular klezmer tunes at full speed and at half-speed, to make learning by ear as convenient as possible.

Watch some of our leaders perform »

Upcoming Sessions

27
October
12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Palo Alto

Klezmer Workshop

Teacher: Rob Reich TELLING A STORY: BRINGING KLEZMER TO LIFE ...

10
November
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
East Bay

Klezmer Workshop

Teacher: Dan Cantrell MUSIC OF THE CROSSROADS: The intersection of village ...

No event found!

Past Sessions

22
September
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Berkeley

Klezmer Workshop

Teacher Jeanette Lewicki CHASING THE CHANGES: Want to be welcome at ...

8
September
12:30 pm - 3:30 pm
San Francisco

Klezmer Workshop

Teacher: Cookie Segelstein THE COLLECTIONS: This tune workshop will be ...

No event found!

About KlezCalifornia's Klezmer Workshops

We invite on any instrument to participate in our three-hour workshops — klezmer background not required — as well as people who want to dance or simply listen and enjoy. Participants of all ages are welcome! You should be at least intermediate level on any acoustic instrument. No klezmer experience needed, but it doesn’t hurt! Participants may come for all or just part of each workshop. Audio recording devices encouraged!

  • The first two hours are a Klezmer Instrumental Workshop, with a skilled leader. This might include learning tunes by ear at a slow pace, learning with charts (at the instructor’s discretion), and getting familiar with klezmer techniques. Workshop leaders include Dmitri Gaskin, Joshua Horowitz, Jeanette Lewicki, Dave Rosenfeld, and Cookie Segelstein.
  • The final hour might have a special theme chosen by the teacher (announced in advance in the KlezCalifornia newsletter and emails to those on the workshops & jams list), such as the art of klezmer accompaniment, klezmer theory, group nigunim singing, klezmer improv for dummies, speed learning, how to practice, or a kIezmer jam session.

A musical jam is a gathering of musicians to learn tunes while they are played and to experience playing with other musicians. We provide a leader to guide the choice of tunes and tempos, keep the musicians together, and move on to another tune when ready. Once the session is moving along, other players can suggest tunes that they would like to play. Players of developing ability generally play along quietly until they gain more confidence. Ideally a jam session is a “safe,” comfortable, and fun way to exchange music, broaden the repertoire and stylistic skills of all participants, and meet fellow musicians. Jam participants might also suggest or present songs with Yiddish lyrics, adding singing and Yiddish language to the experience. Some participants might dance, reflecting the original context of klezmer music as Jewish wedding music.