Chris Bruya

Chris Bruya

Director of Jazz Studies
Central Washington University


Chris Bruya has been involved in jazz education for over 30 years, teaching high school, community college, and university. As Director of Jazz Activities at Central Washington University, he has pioneered a hybrid improvisation sequence, his small and large groups have been invited to appear at JEN conferences and numerous WMEA and NAfME conferences. In March 2015 the band placed first at the Next Generation Festival, Collegiate Division, which included a performance at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival. The big band appears on the Origin Records CD Show Me! with jazz organist Barney McClure, garnering a 5-star review on There are over 120 live-recorded youtube videos of the band which have been cited by many as some of the most well-recorded and performed examples of the big band literature. Bruya has served on the Oregon and Washington state music educator boards, was an IAJE president of both Washington State and Oregon, and has organized state and Northwest jazz ensembles numerous times. In 2016 WMEA honored him with the Collegiate Educator of the Year award.


Central Park North—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1

Transit—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1

Wide Open Spaces—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1

Hey, That’s My Bike—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1

Rhythm-a-Ning—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1 at the 2015 Monterey Jazz Festival

Nutville—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1 at the 2015 Next Generation Jazz Festival

Channel One Suite—Central Washington University Jazz Band 1

  Session Titles

Building Rhythm Section Concepts in your Jazz Band


The most-often overlooked details in a jazz band often are found in the rhythm section. Strategies for building skills such as piano voicing and comping techniques, walking bass lines, drum set setups, punches and styles will be explored, the result being a much more authentic jazz band.

Effective Jazz Style in the Big Band


Jazz style starts with effective articulation and nuance. Strategies that can develop these skills in your players will be explored and demonstrated, the result being a much more unified and authentic jazz performance.

Jazz Big Band Rehearsal Techniques


"The jazz big band is a different animal than the concert band…or is it? They are more similar than you may think, yet there are some distinct differences. In front of a student ensemble, Chris Bruya (CWU) will demonstrate big band rehearsal techniques meant to develop core jazz concepts and musicality in your students, including tone, balance, articulation, time feel and placement, dynamics, rhythm section concepts, and solo coaching. "

Practical Approaches to Teaching Improvisation in the Jazz Big Band


Methods and materials to get students (and the director) engaged in the process of learning jazz improv in the jazz band rehearsal

Time Feel in the Jazz Ensemble


Every musician feels the pulse and placement of rhythm within that pulse in a unique way. This session will bring awareness of this lesser known musical concept through musical exercises meant to identify time feel tendencies, manipulation of time placement, and the effects that can be achieved musically. While the vehicle will be jazz, these concepts can be used in all genres of music. A student ensemble will provide demonstrations.