Please note!
This is the old website. 

Whilst most of the information and the contact form are still valid, 
the current dates, repertoire and application are no longer listed here. 

The new website, with up to date information, is now

Tonbridge Jazz Workshop...

is a regular jazz improvisation class that takes place at The Weald of Kent Grammar School in Tonbridge. It is for anyone, of any age, on any instrument, interested in developing their improvising skills and musicianship. It is a practical, performance based approach to learning in a supportive, inclusive and nurturing group. Through the playing and study of standard jazz repertoire we cover some of the essential requirements for improvising including ear training, rhythmic skills, developing your harmonic understanding and knowledge, learning transcriptions of some classic recordings and building a jazz vocabulary. 

By better understanding the process of playing jazz and your role in the group and by using a variety of different practice methods and approaches you can gain confidence in your improvising and musicianship skills. 

Also, we have fun! It is a great chance to play in a group and meet other like minded people. 

Numbers are limited, to ensure that everyone gets plenty of chance to play in every session and enrollment is by application (forms can be downloaded from the "DATES & APPLICATION" page). Whilst anyone is welcome to come and observe a session (by prior arrangement), Tonbridge Jazz Workshop is not a "turn up and blow" event like some jam sessions or workshops. Places must be booked and paid for in advance, so that we can prepare the necessary hand outs and sheet music for the various instruments. Please email for availability. 

Each workshop costs £18 per person, or a discounted price of £48 is offered when booking a whole series of 4 workshops. 

Meet The Tutor

Buster Birch brings his wealth of experience to BYMT Jazz School with a carefully planned series of workshops to help you develop your improvisation and musicianship skills. A very experienced teacher, he currently runs two other regular jazz workshops (Saturday Jazz Workshop and BYMT Jazz School).  He has been a visiting professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music for 7 years where he taught many different classes including jazz improvisation, musicianship, repertoire, analysis, jazz history and music business, as well as coaching student groups and rehearsals. He is also co-director of the UK's longest running jazz summer school ( and has tutored on many community educational projects and workshops involving diverse groups. As well as school children and adult learners these have included people with special educational needs and prison inmates. He has coached and tutored groups on many large scale projects for organisations such as The Olympics, LSO Discovery, La Folia, English Touring Opera, BSO outreach programs, Henley Festival and Children's Music Workshop. 

He has an honors degree in music from the University of London and a post-graduate diploma in jazz performance from The Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He also studied at the Drummers Collective in New York City and privately with Jim Chapin and Joe Morello (of The Dave Brubeck Quartet). He has been a freelance professional musician for over 25 years and worked in many different musical genres. He has performed at virtually every major concert hall and jazz club in London as well as major international festivals and toured in over 30 countries. 

Much in demand as a jazz drummer, he has backed many of the UKs finest jazz musicians including Bobby Wellins, John Etheridge, Alan Barnes, Stan Sulzmann, Jim Mullen and Derek Nash. He has been a member of several different acclaimed “world music” groups all of which combine original compositions with their own traditional folk styles from Russia, Cuba and the Balkans. He has worked with world class orchestras including the Royal Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, depped on west end shows and performed and recorded with commercial pop artists such as Lily Allen and Russell Watson. He appears on over 25 albums and has his own project 'Buster plays Buster' for which he has arranged and scored two jazz movie soundtracks, performing them live with his quartet to the screening of classic Buster Keaton silent films.

For more information please see

jazz lessons improvisation classes jazz workshop london jazz workshop learn to play jazz saturday jazz workshop tonbridge jazz workshop