Jilt Jansma studied trombone (classical and jazz), tenor tuba and music in education at the conservatory of Zwolle. He continued his trombone studies with George Wiegel at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague and with Michel Becquet (Paris/Lyon), Joseph Alessi (New York) and Christian Lindberg (Stockholm).
In 1984 he joined the famous Dutch radio big band The Skymasters. During these years, he accompanied many international jazz artists, such as Clark Terry, Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Monty Alexander and Georgie Fame. In 1991 he was appointed principal trombonist with the Netherlands Ballet Orchestra and since 1992 he is principal trombonist with Het Gelders Orkest. With various jazz ensembles he toured abroad.
He teaches at the conservatories of Amsterdamand Groningen. As a guest teachers he has given masterclasses at the conservatories of Riga, Lyon, Gotenburg, Dresden, Manchester, Helsinki and Copenhagen. As an educator, he has contributed to over sixty methods and he is co-author of the successful method for beginners ‘Horen, Lezen & Spelen’, which has been translated into English, French, German and Spanish.