Community Klezmer Band


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Age: Adults & Students, Ages 12+
Type: Ensemble
Term: Fall | Spring
Term Length: 15 Weeks
Schedule: Mondays at 7:30pm
Duration: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
Class Size: 10
Price: $500 | Free for Students Enrolled in Private Lessons
Prerequisite: 2 Years of Private Lessons
Instructor: Zoê Aqua

Strings, winds, brass, percussion and accordion players are invited to join our celebrated Community Klezmer Band in the Klezmer capital of the world–New York City. Explore a century’s worth of Klezmer, examining how the music grew and changed with the migration of Jews from Eastern Europe to North America. No previous background in Klezmer or reading music is required and learning by ear is encouraged and charts and written resources are available for those who would like to read notation. Students perform alongside master Klezmer musicians in events throughout the year such as the annual Klezmer Hanukkah Party.


A Klezmer Atlas: a journey through the influences of klezmer music

Join us for an epic journey around the world of klezmer music! This hands-on class will include a lot of playing– students will come away with at least 6 klezmer tunes that we will learn by ear over the course of the 15 weeks. For each piece we learn, we will listen to similar pieces in related genres. We will delve into source recordings from all around the world, exploring the following questions:

  • How did Romanian shepherd flute doinas influence klezmer doinas played on other instruments?

  • How did klezmer instrumentalists imitate the krekhtzn (cries) of cantors?

  • What’s the difference between a Romanian zhok and a klezmer zhok?

  • How is the Greek sirto rhythm related to the klezmer terkisher rhythm?

  • What influences from Greek and Turkish music can we hear in the playing of great klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein?

  • How are nigunim (wordless vocal melodies) similar to and different from klezmer tunes?

  • How can we combine Hasidic and klezmer tunes into toe-tapping dance sets?


Goals and approaches used in the class:

  • Learning by ear with charts provided for reference at home.

  • Differentiated instruction: options provided for students to be able to participate at whatever level they’re at

  • Hands-on approach: a lot of playing (Zoom necessitates that we do so individually)

  • Becoming familiar with klezmer modes: freygish, misheberach, etc through hands-on experience playing melodies and improvisation

  • Learning both melody and sekund (accompaniment parts and chords)

  • Improvisation: doinas and melodic variation

  • Well-rounded musicianship: playing, singing, moving, chanting rhythms, etc towards the goal of improving basic skills (pitch, rhythm, pulse, audiation) for all students.


BKCM offers reduced-tuition enrollment for this class to all students currently taking private lessons. For further details on this program, please speak to a registrar.


BKCM offers a wide range of ensembles for students of all ages, levels and experience. Students are motivated to practice repertoire outside of class and encouraged by their peers to take on new challenges. Taught by experts in the field, our ensembles include performance opportunities and a chance to connect with a community of other instrumentalists who are interested in developing their artistry. Students enrolled in our private lessons are eligible to join many ensembles at a highly discounted rate. Contact our registration desk for more information.

Registration Info

Do you want to register for a class? Please call 718-622-3300 to speak to one of our registrars, who will guide you through the registration process and answer any questions you might have.

For complete information on our registration process and policies please click here