The Stax Music Academy is fortunate to have the support of many well-known musicians, singers, writers, and other music industry professionals.
From day one of classes on June 1, 2000, when famed soul singers Rufus and Carla Thomas performed workshops with our students, SMA has continued the tradition by offering private and public workshops, jam sessions, and special classes with icons such as Steve Cropper of Booker T. & the MGs, members of the Bar-Kays, GRAMMY-nominated singer Lalah Hathaway, GRAMMY-nominated singer Wendy Moten, internationally renowned opera star Kallen Esperian, jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut, GRAMMY-winning songwriter Jeffrey Steele GRAMMY-winning bassist Marcus Miller, GRAMMY-nominated gospel singer Smokie Norful, funk icon George Clinton, jazz legend Charles Lloyd, and Stax icons the Temprees, Floyd Newman, songwriter Bettye Crutcher, and Stax keyboardist and bandleader Lester Snell.
Workshops typically include lectures, Q&As, performances, critiques, and more. SMA hosts many artists for professional workshops to help students develop the craft of musical performance, songwriting and composition. Last year’s guests ranged from PJ Morton (Maroon 5 & solo artist) and Janet Jackson’s band to Michael League (Snarky Puppy), and Moutin Factory Quintet. Some acts do like The Roots and invite SMA students for special soundcheck sessions.