Neil has led numerous workshops over the last twenty years and greatly enjoys running them. The workshops tend focus on jazz and improvisation but not always. At the moment Neil runs a sax group, clarinet group and soprano sax group for his pupils. Neil is also Musical Director of the South Devon Big Band and is also a regular tutor on the East Prawle Jazz Weekend. In the recent past Neil has run eight weekly intermediate jazz courses (one evening a week) in the autumn and spring terms as well as occasional jazz workshop weekends and has occasionally run workshops for other organisations. Neil is also happy to be booked for workshops run by other organisations. Neil is currently based in Ashburton, Devon.

The South Devon Big Band

The South Devon Big Band (a classic big band  generally set up for good amateur adult musicians).

The band rehearses on one Saturday morning per month and also give performances. To find out more visit the South Devon Big Band website;

Sax and Clarinet Groups

Neil runs groups for some of his pupils.

The clarinet group was set up in 2014 and rehearses twice a month on Wednesday mornings. Currently made up from his more advanced adult pupils this group rehearses clarinet quartets and quintets from both the classical and jazzy repertoire. Generally ideal for clarinettists between gr 5 and 8 standard.

Neil also runs both a sax group (all saxes) and a soprano sax group once a month. The standard tends to be from about gr 3-6. These groups usually work on a tune by ear and written arrangements and some warm up musical exercises. Generally, an air of light heartedness and fun is in order. Please contact Neil for more details.

Extreme Jazz theory

This group was set up at the beginning of 2015. It is a group dedicated to explaining the mysteries of jazz theory for those jazz musicians who really want to get involved in the subject. Neil uses Mark Levine’s excellent book The Jazz Theory Book as a basis for moving forward with this intriguing subject. Nowadays we also cover topics outside of the Jazz Theory Book.

Schools workshops with The Neil Maya Quartet

This project works both in primary and secondary schools and the format can vary depending on requirements. Briefly in primary schools the band often gives hour long interactive concerts for the children and also an hour long session introducing improvisation to beginner instrumentalists. In secondary schools, members of the quartet can give workshops to develop instrumentalist’s improvisational skills as well as workshops with the whole band. For both primary and secondary schools The Neil Maya Quartet can give an evening concert for both the school and local community. For more information on this exciting project do get in touch.

Past Groups and Workshops

Neil has conducted (and rehearsed the band) for a number of shows at Ivybridge Community College including Les Miserables, Annie, Joseph, High School Musical and Summer Holiday. Neil also ran the Ivybridge Community College Big Band for 12 years until 2013 along with two jazz groups and a soul funk band at the college until 2014. Neil gave improvisation workshops for Teignmouth Jazz for about eight years until 2012 and has also delivered improvisation workshops for Ivybridge Community College, Plymouth Music Service, Torbay Academy of Performing Arts, The Meeting House Arts Centre in Ilminster and Sheffield Jazz.

Contact Me

For more information about any aspect of this please contact Neil on 01364 653782, 07951 335078 or email:

What did you most like about the course?…

  • Neil’s clear, structured advice & constructive criticism
  • The instruction and the chance to play it with other musicians. Meeting other musicians.The social aspects. Broadening my experience of jazz.Numbers old and new.
  • The breaking down of songs to understand better how to improvise over the chord changes. Playing within a group, and also the varied collection of songs.Everyone having a go at improvisation.
  • I simply enjoy having something challenging to work on, and learning a lot in the process.
  • Time spent on analysing tunes, and the fact that there was a wide range of experience amongst participants meant the explanation started at a basic level and yet I sensed everyone gained something from it no matter how advanced their playing. Having a large group meant there was plenty of time to think through what I would play, it meant it wasn’t too rushed, and there were lots of ideas from others to pick up on. I also enjoyed the solo recording and feedback, I haven’t done that before and found it really useful.
  • 1) the pieces, 2) learning jazz harmony, and 3) interesting approach.
  • Fabulous choice of beautiful music. I selfishly really enjoyed every chance to sing and to scat.
  • The chance to improvise. Also liked the chord (II, V, I explanations) which are finally starting to make sense to me.

Any other comments?…

  • Thanks for another great course – looking forward to the next one!
  • A great experience as usual. Thank you.
  • Really good course, got a lot out of enjoyment out of it, thanks very much Neil!
  • Thanks Neil for a thoroughly enjoyable course. I’m already missing having the next session to
  • look forward to. I really liked your Ugborough Beacon tune as well.
  • I enjoyed this as much as any workshop I’ve done, there seemed to be just the right mix of 
  • Everything and it all seemed really well planned out.
  • Thanks for a good course. I learnt a lot
  • Challenging but never made me feel unsafe, always encouraging. Thankyou so much Neil
  • Challenging at times but thoroughly enjoyed it as usual. Well done!

As an organisation we really value Neil's contribution to our education programme and are delighted to have him as a tutor. We would have no hesitation in using Neil in the future or in recommending him to any other organisation. Personally, as a workshop student, I have found his teaching technique to cater for all abilities, his technical skills excellent and his enthusiasm boundless!

Ian PennicottSecretary, Friends of Teignmouth Jazz Festival 2010

Neil Maya has worked with Ivybridge College musicians for 7 years, running jazz improvisation workshops for students of all ages. His workshops combine in-depth information, hands-on learning of skills and inspirational demonstrations. He is superb at tailoring workshops to age groups, exam requirements and concert performance.

J. WrightFormer Head of Music, Ivybridge Community College. 2009

Having attended several of Neil's jazz workshops and played in his Big Band I highly recommend his approach as a music educator.With great musical skills he has a real ability in communicating to individuals and groups with humour and encouragement. His teaching is well prepared and challenging yet always supportive. Feedback is welcomed which leads to innovations in teaching methods and styles over time. It's great to see the effect of his enthusiasm as players grow in confidence and are eager to keep learning.

Charlie LoweSouth Devon Big Band committee member and Neil's jazz courses administrator (and participant) 2014