UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar


Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar teachers in class

(This page has been updated as of February 4, 2022)

  Registration is NOW OPEN at https://app.getacceptd.com/untmusicworkshops

The 5th (Almost-except-for-COVID!) Annual UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar will be held on the UNT’s campus in Denton, Texas from Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2022. 

The seminar will be led by UNT Director of Vocal Jazz, Jennifer Barnes, and co-taught with Jeff Horenstein (Groove for Thought, Meadowdale High School in Lynwood, Washington). The seminar will be packed full of content relevant to high school and college-level teachers who either are already working with students on vocal jazz or are considering starting vocal jazz with their students, with topics to include:

Learning about sound reinforcement

  • Working with rhythm sections (with special attention given to drum set and bass)
  • Choosing repertoire
  • Sound reinforcement
  • Rehearsal techniques unique to vocal jazz
  • Audition methods
  • Warm-ups and exercises to improve your ensemble's musicianship

Every attendee will come away with materials to take home and apply to their teaching immediately. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are offered, if desired, for a nominal fee (sometimes used to fulfill Professional Development requirements).

Enrollment will be limited to 20 educators on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to current or future educators (college students welcome) over age 18.

Attendees have the option of staying to attend the UNT Vocal Jazz Summer Workshop immediately following the seminar (for a reduced combined tuition) for a week of full immersion into all things Vocal Jazz!  Many educators who have done this in the past have encouraged some of their students to join them in attending the workshop to help give a "boost" for the following year, as well as having the fun of learning and participating alongside their students! For more information on the workshop, click here.  

The schedule for the seminar will be as follows (subject to change):

7:30 p.m. End for the evening
12:30 p.m. LUNCH BREAK
5:30 p.m. DINNER BREAK
12:30 p.m. LUNCH BREAK


  • Tuition: $300 (for Seminar ONLY)
  • "Early Bird" Tuition if registered and paid by March 1: $250
  • Combined tuition for educators who wish to stay to attend the Vocal Jazz Summer Workshop (click for more information)$695
  • Housing (optional):  $50 per night ($100 total for Thursday and Friday nights, checking out on Saturday), single occupancy in campus residence hall with private bath.  If you prefer or need to stay overnight on Saturday night, you will check the "Extra night" option on your registration for an additional $50.
  • Meals:  We do not offer a meal plan during this brief seminar, but there are many walkable options for dining both on and near campus. (We do offer a meal plan during the Workshop portion of the full week.)
  • Parking permit for commuters: $15
  • Continuing Education Units Certificate: $15

Full refunds less a 2.9% + $0.30 credit card processing fee and initial Acceptd application fee of $20 will be honored until May 26 when registration closes. After that date, no refunds will be made. ​

Learning to play acoustic bass!


Educator Seminar participants at Fuzzy's Tacos


Learning to play jazz drums with a rhythm section!














"Hey Vocal Jazz Educators! Just letting you know that the UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar was fantastic! Nice two-day workshop, low stress, high interest sessions, great people to learn from and with! TONS of helpful information, methods, and thought-provoking ideas and philosophies. I highly recommend it for next year when you are wondering if you want to do a workshop. This one is IT! You WANT to do it! Thanks Jennifer Barnes and Curtis Gaesser. Fantastic weekend learning from the best."

Marcy Spencer, Director of Choirs, Gilbert H.S. (Gilbert, AZ)

"The UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar was well worth the effort.  I learned a great deal in the planning, organization, and delivery of a successful vocal jazz program.  All educators with vocal jazz as part of their schedule should consider this seminar".

Kent Ellingson, Director of Vocal Jazz, Booker T. Washington HSPVA, Dallas

"Whether you're beginning a vocal jazz ensemble or have years of experience directing one, this workshop will have details that will improve your teaching. The demonstrations with sound gear, rhythm section (especially working with a drummer), and vocal jazz ensemble rehearsal techniques really made the experience worthwhile. The instructors were open to answer any question and shared many of their personal teaching experiences with seminar members, which was really appreciated. I would highly recommend this workshop to any colleague!"

John Stafford, Assistant Director of Music and Director of Choral Activities, Kansas City Kansas Community College

"The UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar was a power-packed two days, literally covering every aspect of vocal jazz directing and teaching. From seminar directors Jennifer Barnes and Curtis Gaesser I learned techniques and gained insight that I'll use with my students at my school. If you are looking for a way to take your jazz choir to the next level, look no further...highly recommended!"

Dr. Michael Pagán, Director, Bravo! Jazz Singers, Ottawa University

"The UNT Vocal Jazz Educator Seminar is an incredible opportunity for ensemble directors at the high school and collegiate levels to get an in-depth breakdown on the full spectrum of details which go into establishing a program of high caliber musicianship in your ensemble. Facilitators Jennifer Barnes and Curtis Gaesser are at the very top of their field, and their willingness to share their talents as educators and "insider knowledge" was a gift beyond measure. This seminar is a must-do event for anyone serious about creating and maintaining a successful vocal jazz ensemble program, which fosters students to not only excel as performers, but grow as finely-tuned, musical members of their community as well."

Kate Duncan, Professor of Popular & Commercial Music, Loyola University New Orleans

Jeff Horenstein Bio

Jeff Horenstein

Jeff Horenstein believes in the power of music to foster empathy and bring people together. After studying with some of the Northwest’s most recognized names in choral music and vocal jazz, Jeff earned his Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from Central Washington University. In 2002, he began teaching choral music at Fort Vancouver High School in Vancouver, Washington. In 2006 after a two-year graduate assistantship, Jeff completed his Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting from Central Washington University.

Jeff is currently the director of choirs as well as music department chair at Meadowdale High School in Lynnwood, Washington. At Meadowdale, Jeff’s students have placed first at both the regional and state Solo/Ensemble contest as well as the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival at the University of Idaho, Vocal Summit in Powell River, BC, Jazz Unlimited Festival at Columbia Basin College, Pacific Vocal Jazz Festival at Bellevue College and Northwest Vocal Jazz Festival at Mount Hood Community College. Jeff’s choirs were also selected to perform at the 2008 and 2012 WMEA State Conferences in Yakima, Washington and the 2009 and 2020 MENC Northwest Division Conference in Spokane, Washington, and the 2012 ACDA Northwest Division Conference in Seattle, Washington. Under Jeff’s direction, Meadowdale’s Impressions jazz choir were selected as Outstanding Performers in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2019, and winners of a 2020 Downbeat Magazine Student Music Award.

An avid arranger of vocal jazz and choral music, Jeff is published through Sound Music Publications. Jeff also served as the staff coordinator of the annual Soundsation Jazz Camp in Lynnwood, Washington. Jeff works as a clinician and adjudicator at choral and jazz festivals throughout the region and is a founder of the contemporary vocal ensemble, Groove For Thought, winners of the 2005 National Harmony Sweepstakes Competition and the 2006 Contemporary Acappella Recording Award for Best Jazz Song, and presenters at the 2007 American Choral Directors Association National Convention, 2008 Polyfolia World Choral Symposium in France, and the 2009 EuropaCantat in the Netherlands. In 2010, Jeff and Groove For Thought appeared on NBC’s The Sing Off. In 2019, Jeff was acknowledged as a Country Music Association Music Teacher of Excellence, and he hosts the annual Vocal Jazz Forum, an educational festival for high school ensembles.  Jeff currently lives in Mukilteo, Washington with his wife Maren, son Henry, and daughter Ingrid.