SSU Extended Education

Sonoma State University’s extended education program at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) begins its second term at the “Healdsburg Campus” in January with three classes beginning the week of January 21, 2013. One of these is of particular interest to the Healdsburg Jazz community – the “Exploring Jazz” class meeting on Thursdays, from Jan. 24 – Feb. 28, at Villa Chanticleer.  See  below for more information.

Details on the three classes being offered in Healdsburg are online at the OLLI website or in this PDF download. Other OLLI locations are at the SSU campus in Rohnert Park and at Oakmont. Fees are $80 per course, or $150 for two courses., or three or more for $210. Questions and registration by phone, 707-664-2394 or online

Win This Class for Two! Become a member of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival between December 1, 2012, and January 15, 2013 and you are eligible to win two seats in the Exploring Jazz class – a $160 value! Go here to join now.

If you’d like to find out more about the Healdsburg classes, there will be an Open House on Thursday, January 10 from 2 to 4 at the Villa. All three instructors for the Winter session will be there to interact and explain what they will present in the six weeks. This is an opportunity for the students to decide what classes they want to take. Registration will be available on site. Refreshments are served.

Exploring Jazz, an American Music

Jazz is America’s greatest contribution to the musical arts. At its best, it overflows with creative and emotional energy; it thrives on individuality and freedom of expression. Whether you’re a well-versed listener or just curious about what jazz is, listening to the best jazz recordings is a thrilling and mind-expanding experience.

The story begins in the multiracial environment of New Orleans, then swings into the big band era in America’s blossoming cities, and boldly experiments in the night clubs and recording studios of the 1940s and 1950s, blossoming into many varieties of modern jazz.

Trace the development of jazz from its birth to the modern period, always listening to the best of each style and talking about what makes us respond to it.  From Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington to Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, learn to identify exactly “what makes it jazz,”  and what makes it good jazz.

In every class, there will be frequent recorded examples and the instructor will illustrate the styles and the characteristic of jazz at the keyboard. You will experience plenty of “guided listing” and you will always be encouraged to discuss and evaluate what we listen to.

Instructor: Len Lyons, Ph.D., is the author of several books about jazz, including The 101 best Jazz Albums, the Great Jazz Pianists, and Jazz Portraits. Lyons is also a jazz pianist and studied with the legendary teacher Lennie Tristano. Lyons was previously an assistant professor at the University of Santa Clara, and earned his Ph.D. at Brown University.

Classes will be held on six consecutive Thursdays, from January 24 – February 28, from 3 to 5 p.m. at Villa Chanticleer. For more information about the program, or to register online, go to