Melbourne Music Teachers

Julien Wilson

Julien Wilson

88 Liberty Parade, Ivanhoe VIC, Australia 22 Cross St, Brunswick East VIC 3057, Australia

Jazz Improvisation Lessons | Clarinet Lessons, Saxophone Lessons | Artist development, Aural Lessons, Ensemble Coaching, Song Writing Workshops, Theory Lessons, Composition Lessons, Skype Lessons

  • Qualifications: Graduate Diploma in Jazz Studies (New England Conservatory, Boston), Bachelor of Music Performance (University of Melbourne/Victorian College of the Arts).
  • Pricing: $100 per hr - Concession rates available on request
  • Styles: All styles of Jazz & Improvisation / Reading music / Sight Singing / Instrument specific technique (woodwinds) / Rhythmic devices / Functional jazz harmony / Working with restrictions to expand your vocabulary for improvisation
  • Suitability: Any age. I love teaching beginners and retirees and everywhere in between. I'm happy teaching any style although my speciality is improvisational concepts


Julien began music at an early age singing at church and in the school choirs and musicals. He started playing clarinet at 10 and switched to tenor saxophone at 14. From around this age he started busking in Melbourne, learning tunes by the likes of Luiz Bonfá, Carlos Jobim and Jimmy Hendrix by ear from older musicians on the street.

He graduated from the VCA in 1994, the same year that he won the National Jazz Award. He spent much of the late 90s touring in Australia and Europe, then moved to Boston in ’99 to pursue graduate studies at NEC under scholarship with Jerry Bergonzi. While at NEC Julien studied privately with Paul Bley, George Garzone & Bob Moses, took classes and played in the big band of composer/theorist George Russell, and toured with The Artie Shaw Orchestra. After graduating from NEC he lived in New York during 2001 performing and studying privately with some of the great players there.

An improvisation specialist, renowned for his big sound and bold approach, Julien has played all kinds of improvised music from New Orleans Jazz to the avant-garde and performed in blues, soul, reggae, latin and experimental settings with groups including Los Cabrones, Rumberos, Virus and 12ToneDiamonds. He has featured at most of Australia’s big music festivals with the likes of the Black Arm Band, The Australian Art Orchestra and with his own trio and quartet, and has played on award winning albums by Vanessa Perica, Sam Anning, Andrea Keller, Stu Hunter, Jonathan Zwartz, Barney McAll, Kristin Berardi, Ben Salter, Sarah McKenzie and Augie March.

Julien has been featured as a soloist with Kurt Elling (US) and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Charlie Haden (US), Gavin Bryars (UK) and Aventa Ensemble (CA), Paul Grabowsky, Mike Nock & Vince Jones and has recorded and shared the stage with Bernie McGann, Nigel Kennedy (UK), Hugh Masekala (SA), Hermeto Pascoal (BR), Brian Wilson (US), Mavis Staples (US), Kate Ceberano, James Morrison, Joe Camilerri, Dady Cool and Thirsty Merc.

A teaching associate at Monash and Melbourne Universities since 2002, he is the recipient of three Australian Jazz “Bell” Awards for his album This Is Always, a Bell for Jazz Artist of the Year (2008), an APRA/AMCOS Art Music Award for Excellence in Jazz (2015) and the 2006 Freedman Fellowship for Jazz.

In 2013 he formed the label, Lionsharecords and his saxophone and clarinet playing and composing is featured on over 80 albums and film soundtracks. Julien has a passion for jazz education and loves teaching aspiring musicians of any age.

Julien is a D’Addario, YAMAHA & Theo Wanne artist

Teaching Info

I cater my teaching to the individual through listening and observation. A first lesson will involve playing together to gauge the students level, strengths and areas that require attention. I’m happy to be guided by the students areas of interest and questions but early lessons usually focus on tone production, posture, dynamic control, instrumental technique, and improvisational tools and concepts. I also spend time on technical work (written and aural / traditional and contemporary) that helps to develop and refine instrumental control and the art of listening.

Improvisational tools and concepts can include melodic phrases, harmonic structure, rhythmic devices, learning songs (how to learn new tunes and how to memorise and internalise them), using restrictions to focus your improvisation, transcription of other player’s solos ( including the important steps of analysis and manipulation) and improvising within various structures and styles.

My main focus is on assisting and encouraging students to “re-engage their brain” when practicing so that all practice is cognitively and physically balanced and intellectually and spiritually rewarding. I teach students “how” to listen and the musical landmarks to look out for. We work on using numerical systems to internalise and memorise not just melodies and chord progressions, but melodic and harmonic function and relationships. My own current personal studies are focussed on traditional and non-traditional rhythmic devices and relationships including the use of claves, diamonds, interlocking parts and rhythmic counterpoint. I am still a student myself and love sharing my most recent inspirations.

I am also happy to discuss business aspects of the music industry for more advanced students such as compositional devices, recording techniques, managing concurrent multiple projects, concert preparation and how to release, distribute and promote your own recordings and bands. I have been running my own bands and booking tours for 25 years and running a record label for the last 10.

Contact Julien Wilson