Nashville Jazz Workshop

The organization was founded in 1998 as the Nashville Jazz Institute by Lori Mechem and Roger Spencer, and opened with a handful of students. The program was based on a workshop model developed by Mechem and Spencer growing out of their dissatisfaction with traditional academic jazz education. The workshop model is based on a journeyman/apprentice approach. Students have the chance to play with faculty and perform in different settings. The school attracted a loyal and growing following of students. It also became clear that besides helping the students and instructors, the workshop format was a unique approach to jazz education that could benefit the entire community. 

We incorporated as a nonprofit in 2000, changed the name to the Nashville Jazz Workshop, and moved to the Neuhoff Complex in East Germantown. We started new projects: visual art exhibits, student/faculty performances, a twice-monthly performance series – Snap on 2 and 4, and many other educational and performance events for the community. Along with income from tuition and events, we receive individual and corporate contributions, and public and private grant support. 

The Jazz Workshop has come to serve as a gathering place for musicians, students, and jazz fans, and is part of the “glue” for what used to be a fragmented jazz scene: 

Top professionals teach at the Workshop and play together in a superior performance venue. 
Artists have developed at the Jazz Workshop, recorded CD’s, and have become favorites on the local jazz scene. 
Student groups have emerged from the Workshop and found performance venues, adding to the availability and diversity of jazz in the community. 

We work together with local and regional jazz organizations, radio stations, schools, festivals, and other arts groups. The NJW has become, in the words of one student, Nashville’s “community center for jazz.” The Nashville Jazz Workshop is currently located at 1012 Buchanan Street, Nashville, TN.

Lori is currently is Director of Education and Founder.


Private Lessons

Private Lessons

With jazz, we are never done! There is always something new and exciting to learn! This is why I love helping others become balanced, well-rounded musicians. 

Therefore, I am accepting intermediate and advanced level students for private lessons in the following areas of study: 

Jazz Piano 
Improvisation – any instrument or voice 
Composition – any instrument or voice 
Arranging for voice or instrument 
Intros and Endings 
Chart preparation 
Music Theory 
Ear Training 
Private coaching of your professional ensemble (trio or larger) 

If you live in the Nashville area, I will be teaching lessons my home. If you live outside of Nashville, I offer lessons online via Zoom.

RATES (for any of the above, in person, or online) 

1 hour session – $100 
1.5 hour session – $150 
2 hour session – $175 

For lessons in person, I accept check, cash and credit cards via PayPal. For online lessons I accept payment via PayPal or Venmo only. All lessons are to be paid IN FULL before scheduled lesson times. 

To schedule your lesson, or if you have questions about lessons, contact me via email at