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Hosts: Dj Que 11 and Lady L

GI Jam: Thursday, September 20, 2018 6:00pm-8:00pm


Register for Fall 2018

Check Out Our Fall Classes

We have some exciting new classes this fall. Click here for a complete list.

Bucket Buddies (Ages 5-8)

An introduction to rhythm, notation, and basic percussion techniques. This fun and interactive session is perfect for the future drummer.



Expand your range and increase lip flexibility while building that great brass tone. This session guarantees success for all students.

Woodwind Workout


Increase endurance, articulation, tone quality, and finger technique in a session that is sure to place you at the front of your section.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events.

GI JAM: Alysha Monique

GI Jam: Thursday, August 30, 2018

Alysha Monique. Vocalist. Songwriter. Vocal Coach. Lover of the universe. Creating beautiful music with friends that love the craft.

Alysha Monique started performing from a very young age in her hometown's church youth choir. That was the beginning of her newfound love: music. She joined band in 5th grade playing clarinet and that became her sole passion. She eventually learned to play tenor and baritone saxophone in jazz bands through her junior high years. Alysha had a tremendous awakening in high school and began to broaden her musical palette. She finally auditioned and made her school's top chamber choir which made her LOVE to sing again. She began to transition as an instrumentalist to a vocalist full-time.

Alysha started performing professionally in her last years of high school and developed those skills before attending her current undergraduate education at Elmhurst College. In two and a half short years, she quickly built her professional and educational network. 

She's received favorable recognition for her solo & group work from jazz masters including the New York Voices, Janis Siegel, the Vertical Voices, Dee Alexander, Sean Jones and Andy Martin. Throughout her education, Alysha received mentorship from Jennifer Mather, Gayle Bisesi, Susan Moninger, Frank Portolese, Frank Caruso, Doug Beach, and Mike Pinto.

Alysha has experience performing in Pit Orchestras, Neo-Soul & R&B Ensembles, Jazz Combos, Church Choirs, Big Bands, Madrigals, and Acapella Groups. Alysha acts as a strong background vocalist and session artist for several projects. Alysha is proficient on all clarinets, piano and all styles of voice. With several years of music teaching, she loves teaching all levels of musicians from beginner to advanced.

Alysha is currently working on her first full-length studio recorded album which is to be released in early 2017.

GI JAM: Nils Higdon


GI Jam: Thursday, August 23, 2018

Nils Higdon is one of Chicago’s most prominent young percussionists, having performed at Orchestra Hall, The Green Mill, The Chicago Cultural Center, The Jazz Showcase, and four appearances at the Chicago Jazz Festival. As a drum set artist, Nils has beat time for premier musicians such as Eric Schneider, Joe Rendon. and Dr. Rosephanye Powell. While specializing in drum set and improvised music, he routinely spends evenings and weekends traveling not only between various performances but also between a wide range of musical styles and percussion instruments. It is very common for Nils to spend his evenings playing second line music with the Four Star Brass Band or the music of Spain with Kantuz, and then play timpani and mallet percussion at Grace Church the next morning. 

A strong advocate for original music, Nils was a featured instrumentalist with the Chicago Composers Orchestra for the premier performance of De Rerum, a work by Princeton-based composer, Elliot Cole. Also in the world of modern classical music, he was the featured soloist in Drum Factory, a concerto for drum set with full orchestra, written by Justin Leo Kennedy. Nils also played for the Chicago premier of The Gospel Trinity, a suite of gospel music written by Dr. Rosephanye Powell that utilizes rhythm section and choir. And recently, he performed with the Chicago Youth Symphony on the first ever recording of Grand Slam Jam, a Duke Ellington Composition for orchestra and jazz ensemble. 

As an instructor, Nils teaches applied percussion lessons at Riverside-Brookfield high school and independently as well. He has also been a teaching artist for the Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project and a percussion judge for IMEA District 1. Former students of his have been accepted to Elmhurst College, 

North Central College, Concordia University, and Northwestern University. 

Nils is from Chicago, Illinois where he attended the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. He studied primarily with Rubén Álvarez, Ed Harrison, and Scott Mason. Nils attended the University on both musical and academic scholarships and is the third person in the history of Roosevelt University to complete both the Music School and Scholars Program. In 2008 he earned his Bachelors of Music. 

Nils Higdon is also the survivor of a serious injury to both of his hands, and a severe disorder of the nervous system. His favorite expressions are “Let’s give today a round of applause because we’re here” and, “You get to live on Earth- WHAT A LOCATION!” 

GI Jam: Daron Nelson

September, 2018 6pm-8pm

Daron Nelson comes from a musical family. He took up playing drums after hearing his father play drums at apostolic church of God on Sunday mornings in the late 70s and early 80s. After joining the jr high school jazz band, under Walt Skocz, Daron developed a love for jazz. In high school, he played all 4 years in the band under the late Bob Cross. Under the direction of Cross, Daron was selected to play in the state of Illinois Alll State Honors Jazz Combo. After a successful high school career, Daron attended Eastern Illinois University to study with rorld renowed pianist, Henry Butler. Since becoming a fulltime musician, he has traveled world playing music with some of the greatest names in jazz. He has had the opportunity to share the stage with Ronald Westray, Ben Patterson, Ryan Cohan, Orbert Davis, Bobby Broom, Frank Catalano, Willie Pickens, Jodie Christian and many more.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Jazz Academy

 Jazz Academy - Saturdays

Designed for players of varying levels, grades 5-12, the Saturday Jazz Academy focuses on the development of the CJP Youth Ensemble, mirroring the symphonic colors of the professional orchestra and performing CJP's signature 'third stream' repertoire. Strings, woodwinds, brass, and rhythm section players welcome!

28-weeks of Jam Sessions, Jazz Orchestra and Master Classes
Date: September 22, 2018 – May 11, 2019
Time: 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Location: Chicago State University (9501 S. King Drive)

Questions? Contact

Sarah Pietlicki, Program Manager

Tel. (603) 275.2905 text or call


GI Jams

Every Thursday 6pm-8pm (Food Provided)

The GI Jams are designed to give students a practical and educational platform to harness and develop their individual skills while learning professionalism and performance etiquette while sharing the stage with some of the greatest musicians and educators in the Midwest.

Each week a different professional musician will host the GI Jams. The set-lists are made available one week prior to the GI Jam.  Students may sign up for no more than 2 selections and may add their name as a "Stand BY" on as many selections as they desire.

If you are a professional musician who would like to volunteer at the Griffin Institute by hosting a Jam Session, please contact us at (708) 973-4354 or educate@thegriffininstitute.org

GI JAM: Daron Nelson

Thursday, Sept, 2018

Jam List
Tenor Madness
Recorda me joe
All Blues
Cantaloupe Island
Blue Bossa
C Jam Blues

GI Spotlight

Our CEO/President is named a Semi-Finalist for the 2017 Grammy Award for Music Educator. Congratulations Dr. Griffin

GI Student, Jamal Cole, inducted into the National Honor Society


On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, Jamal received a great honor by being inducted into the National Honor Society. Jamal is a Junior at Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, IL. under the musical direction of Valeaka Freeman. We are extremely proud of this phenomenal young man.

Contact Us

The Griffin Institute of Performing Arts

14200 Chicago Rd Unit 117, Dolton, Illinois 60419, United States

(708) 973-4354

Drop us a line!