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WIJO Mentors is a program designed to connect and enrich the community of women and non-binary people in Jazz. The program provides strong role models to up-and-coming jazz musicians and composers in a safe and supportive environment, and offers a way for established jazz musicians and composers on the scene to actively participate in and help shape the future of their art form. Selected Mentee participants will work with professionals from around the world in a one-on-one setting to receive guidance on musical, career, and interpersonal skills, as well as having a once in a lifetime experience to build a new relationship with an established musician or composer. WIJO Mentors is looking for mentees who show strong artistic vision, a commitment to furthering their musical and professional growth in the area of jazz, and potential to contribute to the community of women and non-binary people in jazz. WIJO Mentors 2023-2024 will run January 2, 2024 through August 1, 2024 and is a no-cost program for all selected participants.
WIJO Mentors will accept up to 20 mentee participants this year.
Please note the following important program dates to consider when applying for the WIJO Mentors Program. Dates and event topics are subject to change.
September 18, 2023: WIJO Mentors application opens
November 17, 2023: WIJO Mentors application closes
December 20-23, 2023: ‘23-’24 WIJO Mentee class announced via email correspondence
January 4, 2024; In-Person WIJO Mentors Meet-Up @ JEN Conference, New Orleans
January 8, 2024: WIJO Mentors Orientation, NYC (Zoom link also provided)
January 28, 2024: Music Business Event
February 20, 2024: Artistic Cultivation Event
March 21, 2024: Musicianship Growth Event
April 7, 2024: WIJO Mentors Jam Session Take Over
May 13, 2024: WIJO Mentors Benefit Concert
June 27, 2024; WIJO Mentors Jam Session, NYC
July 31, 2024: WIJO Mentors Culminating Event, NYC
August 1, 2024: End of Season, Deadline for Fulfilling Program Requirements
*Additional dates will be added throughout the season for supplemental events, including online zoom listening sessions, guest clinician sessions, wellness events, and more.
Please note that while attendance is not mandatory for the listed program events, your attendance and prioritization of event participation in events as a WIJO Mentee is strongly encouraged.
WIJO Mentors program requirements consist of:
- 2 private lessons, each at least 1 hour long
- 4 additional meetings or discussions, each at least 30 minutes long
Mentees will also receive the following:
- Work with their mentors on need-assessment and goal-setting
- Feedback from mentors on all their application materials
- Access to all WIJO Mentors online and in-person events, including “meet & greet” sessions, workshops, master classes, and jam sessions
- Access to additional WIJO resources
- Contact information and connection with the current class of selected Mentees
Applicants can choose to apply as either a vocal performer applicant, instrumental performer applicant, or composer applicant. If selected to participate, the applicant will be paired with a mentor in the category they apply for. Applicants can only apply in one category per season.
All performer applicants (both vocal and instrumental categories) are required to submit one video recording of their playing in order to be considered for acceptance to WIJO Mentors. All composer applicants are required to submit both a score of an original composition and an accompanying audio or video recording of their composition.
DIVERSITY, INCLUSION, AND EQUITY STATEMENT
WIJO is seeking and encouraging individuals of all backgrounds to apply for WIJO Mentors 2023-2024. We are committed to representing and cultivating diversity in all areas of this program. This commitment is present in all decision making, including the selection of mentees and mentors. Diversity, inclusion, and equity will be a primary consideration in the review process of determining which mentee applicants are chosen to participate.
In order to qualify to be selected as a mentee for WIJO Mentors, the applicant must:
- Be between the ages of 18 and 24 years old (as of January 2, 2024)
- Identify as a young woman or non-binary/gender-neutral individual
- Provide evidence of a commitment to pursue jazz professionally either through current participation in a music degree program and/or through proof of artistic practice
(Currently and actively studying jazz formally, or show a strong desire to pursue jazz in the future and show a high capacity for understanding and working to improve in areas specific to jazz. Applicants do not need to be enrolled in a music degree program to apply.)
REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS
- Submit a WIJO Mentors online application form (through Acceptd)
- Include all supporting materials in application:
- Cover Letter
- Current Bio
- Current Resume
- Letter of Recommendation
- Audio/Video Submission
- Score (Composers only)
- Application Fee
Applicants should create a brief cover letter expressing their interest to participate in WIJO Mentors. Applicants should inlcude why they believe WIJO Mentors would be a beneficial program to them and why the applicant is a good candidate for the program. Returning Mentees should also discuss how their previous participation in the program benefited them and what they would hope to gain from an additional season of participation.
Applicants should submit an up-to-date version of their “bio” (biography). This is a written and descriptive document that should briefly discuss the applicant as an artist and human. This includes but is not limited to any relevant biographical information (i.e where the applicant is from), the applicant’s personal background, educational background, and any professional history about the applicant that they believe is relevant to their artistic path and/or career. In addition to this brief summary of their history, applicants should include a summation of their current practices, activities, and pursuits. Applicants are encouraged to include highlights from their musical journey including performance opportunities and awards received.
Applicants should submit an up-to-date version of their “resume” or CV. The resume is a document that should list the applicant’s educational and professional history. Please include any educational institutions attended, any degrees received, awards/commissions/grants received, discography, venues performed at, bands performed with, list of compositional works, articles/books/charts published, job positions, etc.
Letter of Recommendation:
Applicants should submit a letter of recommendation from an educator, teacher, administrator, mentor, or employer (i.e club owners/managers, established bandleaders, or other industry professionals). The letter will serve as proof of the applicant's eligibility (i.e enrollment in an institution or current artistic practice).
Applicants should submit 2 professional-style headshots (including their instrument, where applicable). The headshot does not need to be professionally taken, although if the applicant has a hi-res image available, that is preferred. If taking photos on a camera or cell phone, please take in portrait mode and in front of a plain-colored background (when possible).
- Please submit a recording of the following: 1 chorus of melody and 2 choruses of an improvised solo on a blues “Sandu” by Clifford Brown, in the key of Eb Concert, at a medium-up tempo, swing feel.
Performer-Vocalist Applicants: Please submit only one song, not both songs.
- Vocalists have the option to choose to submit one of the following:
- Recording of "Sandu" by Clifford Brown: 1 chorus of melody and 2 choruses of improvised solo in the key of your choice, at a medium-up tempo, swing feel.
- "Freddy Freeloader": 2 choruses of melody and 2 choruses of an improvised solo, using two choruses of lyrics by Jon Hendricks.
Composer Applicants: Are NOT required to submit their own instrumental/vocal performance.
- Submit one score (or lead sheet) of an original composition, using any instrumentation.
- Submit one accompanying audio OR video recording of the piece.
Recordings must be in either video or mp3 format, but can be either of a live performance using real instruments or a midi representation of instruments extracted from music notation software. Live recordings are preferred, when possible, and if there is a video recording available of the piece being performed live, that is even more strongly encouraged.
- Submission recordings are NOT required to be of a professional or studio-level quality.
- Audio should be clear and properly synced up with video (where applicable).
- Audio from all performance applicants should demonstrate the applicant’s best tone and sound.
- Performance applicants are encouraged (but not required) to play along with a live rhythm section or pre-recorded accompanist(s), or a play-along recording. You can use tools such as Jamey Aebersold backing tracks or iReal Pro app. You also have the option to “comp” for yourself on another instrument, such as piano or guitar.
- Performance applicants should be fully visible throughout their videos.
- Please do NOT include anything beyond the required material. (Do not submit an entire concert video or the whole performance of a live version from a gig, etc.)
- Editing down an existing recording to meet this format IS acceptable. (You may edit a pre-existing recording from a live gig to include only the choruses mentioned in the requirements above.)
- Applicants should submit a current and up-to-date audio/video recording (and score if applicable) to best represent their playing/composing at this time. Returning mentees must submit new recorded materials.
- The selection of Mentee participants will be made based on various factors, including the information provided through application forms, cover letters, letters of recommendation, musical skill and potential demonstrated by score/audio/video submission, biographical information and past experience listed in the resume. Major consideration will be made for applicants with strong artistic vision, potential for growth, and the ability to contribute to the community of women and non-binary people in jazz.
- Mentee and Mentor matches will be selected based on instrumentation, location, areas of strengths/weaknesses, personalities, areas of focus/interest expressed in application forms, and experience and skill level in the areas of music, business, and interpersonal relationships. We will not pair a mentee and mentor together more than once, but matches are encouraged to continue their established relationships stemming from the mentorship program far beyond the WIJO Mentors program dates.
- Returning Mentee applicants are encouraged to apply for and participate in as many semesters as they are eligible. In addition to the above specifications, the selection of returning mentee participants will also include a review of participation in past seasons and demonstrated growth. Previous participation in the WIJO Mentors Program does not guarantee selection for the current season.
The 2023-2024 Season will run January 2, 2024 through August 1, 2024.
WIJO will provide suggested time frames for each mentorship pair to schedule their lessons and meetings, to help space out the sessions throughout the 2023-2024 season calendar, but each pair will ultimately choose their lessons and meeting times based on individual availability.