Klezmer Workshops & Jams


Thanks to support from the Alliance for California Traditional Arts (ACTA), we are holding monthly klezmer workshops and jams in 2017!

Each workshop includes learning tunes with authentic klezmer style, and ends with a traditional jam without sheet music.

Bring a recording device or a music stand if you want.

Brass players should bring a mute.

While playing by ear is favored, leaders may provide sheet music and/or recordings. See our Tune Archive or DropBox.

For general information about our Klezmer Workshops & Jams, please read About (below).

For information about playing klezmer music in general and on specific instruments, see Klezmer Style page.


Sunday, December 3, 2-5pm
Led by Jeanette Lewicki
Congregation B'nai Emunah,
3595 Taraval St (at 46th Ave.) 

Sunday, December 10, 2-5pm
Led by Cookie Segelstein
Urban Adamah
1151 Sixth St. (at Dartmouth, one block N of Gilman)



Cost is $25/sliding scale (pay what you can) for participants. Snacks are included. Listeners are welcome too!

Please RSVP with which date and location, your name, your instrument, and any questions to jams@klezcalifornia.org

We will add attendees to our workshops-jams mailing list for relevant notices. If you cannot attend but want to join this special mailing list, write to jams@klezcalifornia.org


We invite musicians of any level with any instrument to participate — klezmer background not required — as well as people who want to dance or just listen and enjoy. 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.

  • The first part of the session is a 60-minute Klezmer Instrumental Workshop, with a skilled leader, intended for musicians who may have little or no klezmer experience, but who are at least intermediate level on their instruments. The workshop period may include playing tunes with charts (at the instructor’s discretion), getting familiar with klezmer techniques, and learning tunes by ear at a slow pace.
  • The second part is 45-minutes of Klezmer Guided Performance. It involves playing through songs, with sheet music provided as necessary, and includes coaching on klezmer style by the leader.
  • The last part is a 45-minute KIezmer Jam Session. After the leader begins the session with a warm-up tune or two, musicians take turns calling a tune, with everyone learning new tunes by ear, or enjoying playing or improvising on familiar ones. The leader provides guidance for pace, transitions, and ensures an overall smoothly run and fun session!
Participants may come for any or all of the periods. Jam leaders or participants might also suggest or present songs with Yiddish lyrics, adding singing and Yiddish language to the jam experience. Some participants might dance, reflecting the original context of klezmer music as Jewish wedding music.