Transform Your Jazz

This is the third of a 3-part blog series on beginning improvisation.  Click here to read part 1 (beginning improvisors) and part 2 (how to jazz).

 

I spend most of my professional life performing and teaching drums, but I play piano and sing for fun and as a way to communicate with non-drummers. I learn songs and improvise in a different way on the drum set than I would on piano or with my voice. As a beginning musician, I played classical piano through junior high before entrenching myself as a percussionist (and really, a drum set specialist).  I transferred to a great high school music program in 10th grade and was fortunate to surrounded by other students who LOVED jazz, funk, and classic/progressive rock.  Students got together before school, during lunch, and after school to listen to music and jam so I was constantly inundated with the sounds of Charlie Parker, James Brown, and Genesis as well as original tunes that my peers would write (who can forget the classic funk opus, “Octopus Repellant,” written by my friend Mike Frederick, age 16) My ears were a bit behind the rest of the crew when it came to learning songs and improvising so I had some major roadblocks preparing for my first jazz gig. The gig was playing vibraphone in a 14-piece band for a banquet for the local semi-pro hockey team, of course. I could read the melodies to the blues, rhythm changes, and modal tunes that we were preparing but I had no way to approach taking a solo over chord changes on the lead sheets.  I sweated practicing the scales and arpeggios that books said would work on these chords, but everything moved by too fast in real-time and I didn’t sound AT ALL like my more seasoned friends.  Fortunately, the acoustic vibraphone was practically inaudible in the context of 13 other high school musicians in a concrete conference room where we performed, so I was spared the agony of hearing myself. I’ll tell you, though, I played those scales as fast as I could without stopping--high five to 15-year-old me! After that, I didn’t play another improvised solo on a non-dum instrument for almost 15 years.  I appreciated when others improvised and dove into becoming a professional drum set performer and teacher.

    An important reason that the other musicians could play these jazz songs in a natural and convincing way was because they’d already spent years learning songs off the radio, teaching each other tunes by ear, and copying solos together--something I’d missed out on while focusing exclusively on drums. After getting my masters degree in jazz drum set performance in 2009, I wanted to fill in the gaps in my experience as a melodic improviser by learning songs and improvising by ear the way my friends had when we were teenagers, and I also wanted to develop a system to teach these skills to others. Performing jazz on the drums with high-level musicians is great, but I knew there were students like me (and 15-year-old me) who could use help connecting the dots after beginning their journey as an improviser.  I sought out teachers and players who shared these same goals, and the IfCM tested what we learned with our students in workshops, camps, and private lessons over the last 5 years.  The Institute for Creative Music was formed in 2011 with a large part of our mission to demystify jazz and improvisation and make it approachable for as many different students and teachers as we could. The course that we launch this week, Creative Jazz Fundamentals, gives me a lot of hope about the future of how to learn and teach jazz.  We can all learn “mystical” and “impossible” jazz songs, style, and improvisation in a way that is fun, flexible, and empowering. This course consists of the  material I’d give my 15-year-old self (and 30-year-old self) to learn to understand and play jazz, and I think you’ll find it to be transformative for you and your students.  Please join Chris Ziemba, Nick Finzer, and I as we all learn how to jazz.

Chris Teal, Institute for Creative Music Co-Director and Teaching Artist


The full 6-module course launches 12/26/16 and covers a variety of repertoire, style, and improvisational techniques through 1- and 2-chord songs, blues, ii-Vs, and modal material. Try the first module of this 6-module course now for free by clicking here.  We make this material approachable by providing aural examples and explanations every step of the way, allowing students to get the material in their ears and out of their horns. 

How to Jazz

The IfCM Collective learning tunes and improvising.  Where are the music stands???

The IfCM Collective learning tunes and improvising.  Where are the music stands???

This is the second of a 3-part blog series on beginning improvisation.  Click here to read part 1.

How to Jazz

If you’ve researched playing jazz as a beginner it’s likely that you have encountered a variety of written material, YouTube videos, or jazz improvisation classes that take one of the following approaches to teaching:

  • Read this melody over the form of this 32-bar song.  Don’t forget to play the correct accidentals as they are printed on the page! It will be jazz.

  • Memorize the accents and slurs in the notation to give it a sense of jazz style.  Play with a “swing feel.” Drummers, piano/guitar players, bassists, keep time over the form and interact with the soloist.

  • Soloists: read these scales.  Any time you see this chord symbol you can play this scale and it will be jazz.

  • Soloists: memorize these written patterns in all 12-keys.  This will also be jazz.

Ok, ok, I’m being a little snarky, but I’m willing to believe that a lot of us have experienced trying to learn or teach jazz like this. I'm willing to bet that far fewer of us felt genuinely successful learning or teaching in these and only these ways, though. Many jazz players who talk about how they learned to improvise don't spend a lot of time gushing about their favorite method book--they talk about their favorite artists and recordings, the music that inspired them. When we talk about ourselves or our students having a knack for improvising early on, what are we really talking about?

Here’s a question that I think will lead us in the right direction: When you first learned your native spoken language (English, Spanish, Farsi, Klingon…) did you learn it by reading?  Likely, you went through this process:

  1. You babbled: “Goo-goo, ga-ga!”

  2. You imitated as you developed some control of your body: “Ma-ma, da-da, piz-za!”

  3. You started to understand and make use of proper context: “Me food! Me now food!”

  4. You started to understand and use proper syntax: “I want pizza.  I have three hamsters.”

  5. You responded in contextual conversation: “Yes, I would like pizza for dinner.  Would you mind getting me some vegetarian pizza for my three hamsters?”

  6. You learned how to use written language to symbolize spoken language. “P is for pizza.  You draw a “P” by making a line down, going back to the top, and drawing around to the middle. This is what the word “Pizza” looks like.”

At this point in your language development you are beginning to read and write material that you already know from hearing it over and over.  Back to music: Music must be experienced aurally before the visual can make sense.  Notation symbolizes the aural experience. Reading music can help us better understand it, but it works best when we're looking at something we already grasp with our our ears. Theory (“you can play the G mixolydian scale over a G7”) helps you understand notation and music in your head if you already know what it sounds like, and that intellectual understanding can be reinforced by making the sound yourself vocally and on your instrument. For the first half of the 20th century, much of jazz was learned and taught by ear exclusively. A great sequence for learning music in general (and jazz in particular) is: sound before sight before theory.

How can we learn jazz as beginners?  Learn songs, style, and improvisation by ear first. Stay tuned next week for a follow-up blog on how I transformed my ability to learn jazz (and you can too by shifting your attention from looking at chord changes to really learning to hear them. )

Chris Teal, Institute for Creative Music Co-Director and Teaching Artist

 

Coming soon from the IfCM:

Creative Jazz Foundations: A Course for Beginning Improvisers

 

Try the first module of this 6-module course now for free by clicking here. The full 6-module course launches 12/26/16 and covers a variety of repertoire, style, and improvisational techniques through 1- and 2-chord songs, blues, ii-Vs, and modal material. We make this material approachable by providing aural examples and explanations every step of the way, allowing students to get the material in their ears and out of their horns.

Beginning Improvisers

Everyone can learn jazz songs, style, and improvisation.  It’s a matter of re-thinking the materials we use and the method we start learning with.  A lot of people (myself included) have been discouraged by the material and learning methods that are available to learn jazz as a “beginning improviser.” Before we get into the discussion of materials that are already available and why we see a need for a new method of learning improvisation, let’s address the question, “who is a beginning improviser?”  Some examples may include:

  • Someone who likes listening to jazz without playing or singing who would like a better understanding of how improvisation works.

  • Someone who plays an instrument or sings but has never played or listened to jazz

  • Someone who is just starting off playing or singing in a school or community jazz group who has experience playing and singing.

  • Someone who has played/sung in a jazz group but only by reading notation

  • Someone who plays or sings professionally in a style or setting that relies mostly on composed music with little to no improvisation (classical, pop, choral, ect.)

Great news--with the right material and learning method all of these jazz beginners have the ability to become fluent in jazz songs, style, and improvisation. But how do they find the right material and method to grow as a jazz musician? If this sounds like you or your students, the IfCM is launching a new online course to provide engaging level-appropriate activities designed for beginning improvisers and the people who teach them. If you’d like to preview the first module of “Creative Jazz Fundamentals: A Course for Beginning Improvisers,” click below to get started.

The full 6-module course launches 12/26/16 and covers a variety of songs, style, and improvisational techniques through 1- and 2-chord songs, blues, ii-Vs, and modal material. We make this material approachable by providing aural examples and explanations every step of the way, allowing students to get the material in their ears and out of their horns. Stay tuned next week for a follow-up blog on why we need a new method of approaching improvisation.

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IfCM 2016 Fall Tour

   

 

 

Performing music written and inspired by Prince.

10/22: 930PM - Nick Finzer, Alexa Tarantino, Chris Ziemba, Dave Baron, and Chris Teal @ The Cell Theatre (NYC)

10/24: Meadow Hill Middle School bands, Big Sky High School orchestra, All-city jazz/creative music workshops at Big Sky HS, Music of Prince recording session @ Radius Gallery (Missoula, MT)

10/25: University of Montana, All-city jazz/creative music workshops at BSHS

10/26: Hellgate High School bands, University of Montana, C.S. Porter Middle School bands, performance at University of Montana

10/27: Big Sky High School bands

10/28-10/29: Flathead Creative Music Festival with Whitefish High School, Big Fork High School, and Columbia Falls High School (Whitefish and Columbia Falls, MT)

10/29: 3pm concert at Columbia Falls High School

10/31-11/1: Mount Spokane High School (Spokane, WA)

A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

The IfCM Collective is at it again!  Here's a cover of a great Andrew Bird song, "A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left." Danny Ziemann arranged the tune for the band and busts out the bow for some arco stylings.  This style of recording audio and video is a bit of an experiment for us--everyone layered their parts one at a time from the comfort of home.  

We are excited to get some of the band together next week in NYC for a performance at the Cell playing all new music by (and inspired by) Prince.  Hope to see you there!

Concert Series

 

BLANK TAPE SERIES

The “Blank Tape Series” was inspired by a piece, “Blank Tape - a work for performing musicians and audience” (premiered at The Bunker in 2012) composed by Matthew Golombisky in which he uses the audience as an active part of the performance and presentation. The series took further shape when he began writing several pieces specifically for musicians, artists, and audience members as performed in Rochester NY; this concept also features a new extension of his Tomorrow Music Orchestra, allpresented by the Institute for Creative Music.

It is a collaboration of new sounds, including your own. Instrumentalists, vocalists, audience participants, are encouraged to workshop performances of experimental new works and words by Golombisky at the performance;  collectively learn and play original compositions to create a new incarnation of the Tomorrow Music Orchestra, combining elements of jazz, classical, experimental music, poetry, noise, and more...

Visit www.blanktapeseries.com for more info and media.


BUNKER BREW

Rochester’s jazz house concert experience. Four concerts per year with new musicians, new beer, and new locations that make for a great evening out in an intimate listening environment.

Dancing About Architecture

Reserve your spot! Purchase a ticket below:

Number of Tickets

Dancing About Architecture:

A Musical Take on Visual Art

Thursday, July 30th 8:00-9:30pm

St. Joseph’s Park

Corner of Pleasant St and North Clinton Ave (free on-street parking)

Contact: Chris Teal, IfCM co-Director (509) 230-0688

Come join the Institute for Creative Music and special guests for a unique fusion of musical improvisation, movement, and storytelling. Dancing About Architecture presents new musical compositions, text, and dance written for works of visual art including M.C. Escher’s “Ascending and Descending” as well as the renovated church that hosts the event (now St. Joseph’s Park). The pieces will be tied together with short stories and musical improvisations that encourage the audience and performers to interact with the environment as they move to new areas of the park for different vantage points. Featured performers from the Institute for Creative Music include Nick Finzer (trombone and electronics), Chris Ziemba (keyboards and melodica), Matthew Golombisky (bass, electronics), Chris Teal (drums and percussion), and Tyler Cassidy-Heacock (voice and spoken word).  The IfCM performers will be joined and choreographed by dancer Jay O’Leary, recently featured at the 2015 TedxFlourCity conference along with the IfCM and other Rochester innovators.

The event is $10 at the door.

Presented by the Institute for Creative Music with thanks to the Landmark Society of Western New York.

For additional information about Dancing About Architecture, call Chris Teal (509) 230-0688 and visit http://www.ifcmusic.org/

2015 Creative Music Camp

The IfCM Creative Music Camp invites students to play music in new ways. Everyone can learn to improvise, compose music, use recording technology, and play different styles together (regardless of instrument or genre). This camp focuses on cultivating holistic musicianship and a deeper understanding of playing an instrument or singing both individually and in a group. Teachers and students play and work together to create great music, culminating in a final concert that they won’t soon forget! This camp is great for instrumental and vocal students with at least one year of experience who will be entering grades 7-12.

When: July 27-July 31, 10am-4pm

Where: The Harley School, 1981 Clover St, Rochester, NY 14618

Who’s it for: Students age 12-18 with at least 1 year of instrumental or vocal experience.  All and any instruments and voice types.

Who’s teaching: Chris Teal, Nick Finzer, Chris Ziemba, Matthew Golombisky, plus special guests!

What will the students do? Learn to improvise, write music, listen to music, basic audio recording, participate in faculty performance workshops.

How much: $10 application fee; $290 registration* (including lunch)

*Need-based scholarships available.  


Name of Student *
Name of Student

Note - After Submitting the above form, please return to this page and complete the registration payment below. Your registration will not be confirmed until you have received a receipt from Paypal for the 2015 IfCM Creative Music Camp.

IfCM Creative Music Summer Camp 2015

Spontaneous Duos: A 2015 International Jazz Day Celebration!

Spontaneous Duos:

A Free 2015 International Jazz Day Celebration

 

Thursday, April 30th 7:00-8:30pm

Messinger Hall One, Eastman Community Music School

10 Gibbs Street

Contact: Chris Teal, IfCM co-Director (509) 230-0688

April 30th is International Jazz Day—come join the Rochester celebration!

For the second year running, fifteen improvising musicians will take part in 90 minutes of overlapping collaborations highlighting diverse instruments and playing styles. The performance will grow from a five-minute solo improvisation by a single musician to a series of spontaneous duos, as musicians continuously enter and leave until everyone has played 10 minutes of original music. In the spirit of true creative spontaneity, participating musicians will not see their playing order until 30 minutes before the performance.

The Institute for Creative Music and Eastman Community Music School will host the free event in Messinger Hall One at the Eastman Community Music School, in celebration of Rochester improvisors and their place in the international jazz scene. This event is open to the public, with a free reception to follow.

Featured performers include:

  • John Nyerges - piano

  • Vince Ercolamento - saxophone

  • Andy Calabrese - piano

  • Matt Bevan-Perkins - drums

  • Sharada Shashidhar - vocals

  • Colin Gordon - saxophone

  • Brandon Choi - trumpet

  • Tim Forster - flute

  • Max Kanowitz - percussion

  • Ben Proctor - banjo

  • Audrey Snyder - cello

  • Lochlan Boebel - bass

  • Danny Ziemann - bass

  • Julian Tanaka - saxophone

  • Sara Rogers - vocals

Sponsored by the Eastman Community Music School and the Institute for Creative Music.

For more information about International Jazz Day, visit www.jazzday.com. For additional information about Spontaneous Duos, call Chris Teal (509) 230-0688 and visit  http://www.ifcmusic.org/.

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April 4th IfCM/Bop Shop Symposium: Detailed Performer Information

Below you will find all of the detailed information about our performers for "Jazz is Ugly... Jazz is Beautiful" on April 4th!

2:00-2:45PM - Laura Dubin and Antonio Guerrero

 ...Seriously focused upon composing and arranging since 2008, Laura has created more than 40 pieces for solo piano as well as small and large ensembles, citing Horace Silver, Dave Brubeck, Fred Hersch and Claude Debussy among her deepest influences. As a player, she names Peterson, Hersch, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, Red Garland, Vince Guaraldi and Wynton Kelly among her models.

In 2013, Laura recorded her first CD Introducing the Laura Dubin Trio featuring Antonio and bassist Sam Weber, performing 10 of her original compositions. The CD was released in November of 2013, and celebrated with a performance in her hometown of Rochester, where Laura and Antonio are currently based. Preparations for a new album are underway, this time featuring music from the Great American Songbook. The album will be recorded in early 2015 and is expected to be released by the spring.

Deeply focused, highly motivated and inspired by some of the most powerful spirits in the jazz legacy, Laura Dubin is ready to take her place as an important contributor to that profound tradition.... for more visit: http://www.lauradubin.com/

2:55-3:40pm - Bill Tiberio Band

Musical selections that straddle the divide between straight-ahead and pop-oriented jazz. For more info visit: http://www.billtiberioband.com

3:50-4:20pm - SOTA Combo

Directed by Doug Stone


4:30-5:15pm - Doug Stone & Friends

Original music by saxophonist Doug Stone. Doug Stone’s career has involved work as a touring musician, primarily with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and his band, the Big Bop Nouveau, as well as with the “world-jazz” group Panoramic, and with a number of ensembles from Chicago, Illinois. His time on the road has taken him to virtually every corner of the United States as well as Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada. As a member of groups at Northern Illinois University Stone had the opportunity to perform with Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Frank Wes, Jimmy Heath, Rufus Reid, Larry Ridley, and Carl Allen. As a member of the Birch Creek Academy Band he has performed with jazz luminaries Dennis Mackrel, Harold Jones, Derrick Gardener, Tonya Darby, Clay Jenkins, and Reggie Thomas. He spent six years working full-time as a freelance saxophonist and woodwind player, teacher, composer, and arranger in the rich musical environment of Chicago... for more visit www.dougstonejazz.com

5:25-6:10pm - IfCM Collective

The showcase ensemble of Institute for Creative Music, this sextet features original music on the cutting edge--combining strong grooves and composition with avant garde improvisation

6:15-7:00pm - Symposium

Bop Arts, Inc. will facilitate a panel discussion including Tom Kohn from Bop Shop Records and special guests Angie Sanchez and Omar Tamez, giving insight into creating and performing jazz in the 21st century.

7:10-7:40pm - Fairport HS Combo

Directed by Bill Tiberio

7:50-8:35pm - Aaron Staebell

“Energized and eclectic, a weirdo you won’t want to miss.” —Toronto Star"

“Aaron Staebell has been delivering new projects to his audiences with regularity since 2005. Todays performance features yet another new venture, guaranteeing that whether you like it or not, you will rarely, if ever, hear the same thing twice from Staebell.”

8:45-9:15pm - Harley School Combo

Directed by Mike Kaupa

9:30pm - Nick Finzer's Ten Year Suite

Composer/trombonist Nick Finzer was commissioned by the Institute for Creative Music to create this work for a 10-piece Jazz ensemble. “A Ten Years Suite” is an intimate musical reflection of Jazz composer and trombonist Nick Finzer’s most personal relationships, and how they have evolved. Musical reflections of a decade in the life of a young artist evolve around common themes of the human comedy which will touch you as they have touched him. More on Nick at www.nickfinzermusic.com

Save the date! "Jazz is Ugly... Jazz is Beautiful" Showcase and Panel Discussion

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A benefit festival supporting the Institute for Creative Music

Saturday, April 4th 2:00pm–10:00pm

Bop Shop Records

1460 Monroe Avenue

Bop Shop Records, Bop Arts, Inc., and the Institute for Creative Music (IfCM) present a day-long music festival and symposium on Saturday, April 4th. This benefit event celebrates the Institute for Creative Music’s mission of promoting improvisation in music education through performances, a participatory workshop, and a panel discussion.  

Featured ensembles will showcase prominent local and regional professionals playing original and improvised music.  Student groups of up-and-coming jazz talents from the Rochester area will also play at the event. 

For detailed information on all of our performers, visit the detail page.

Full Event Schedule:

2pm-2:45pm - Laura Dubin and Antonio Guerrero

Piano and Drums Duet

2:55-3:40pm - Bill Tiberio Band

Musical selections that straddle the divide between straight-ahead and pop-oriented jazz

3:50-4:20pm - SOTA Combo

Directed by Doug Stone

4:30-5:15pm - Doug Stone & Friends

Original music by saxophonist Doug Stone

5:25-6:10pm - IfCM Collective

A showcase sextet of Teaching Artists from the Institute for Creative Music

6:15-7:00pm - Symposium

Bop Arts, Inc. will facilitate a panel discussion including Tom Kohn from Bop Shop Records and special guests Angie Sanchez and Omar Tamez, giving insight into creating and performing jazz in the 21st century.

7:10-7:40pm - Fairport HS Combo

Directed by Bill Tiberio

7:50-8:35pm - Aaron Staebell

“Energized and eclectic, a weirdo you won’t want to miss.” —Toronto Star"

8:45-9:15pm - Harley School Combo

Directed by Mike Kaupa

9:30pm - Nick Finzer's Ten Year Suite

A new dectet work by trombonist and composer Nick Finzer commissioned by the IfCM

 

"JAZZ is UGLY...JAZZ is BEAUTIFUL" will also provide an opportunity to sample an improvisation workshop like those that the Institute for Creative Music provides for students around the Rochester area and beyond through drop-in workshops and multi-day residencies.

A minimum donation of $10 is requested, with all proceeds going directly to the Institute for Creative Music in order to provide school and community groups with opportunities to participate in creative music-making.  For more information, call Chris Teal (509-230-0688) and visit http://www.ifcmusic.org/

Contact: Chris Teal, IfCM co-Director (509) 230-0688

Tom Kohn, Bop Shop Records and Bop Arts, Inc (585) 271-3354

Camps!

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The return of the school year is an exciting time for teachers, students, and parents…sometimes the start of the school year is also a good time to think back on summer experiences as well. The past few months brought an interesting collection of workshops to the IfCM table--strings, jazz, improv, songwriting, recording, lots that we're excited to share!

IfCM co-Director and Teaching Artist Chris Teal was asked by Dr. John Fetter to be a guest for the Hochstein School of Music's "String Jam: Alternative Styles for Strings".  Dr. Fetter has been presenting this camp for over a decade to give bowed string players (for students grade 6+) the experience of working with new music and improvisation in styles varying from jazz, rock, fiddling, klezmer, Indian music, and other World styles.  It was a great joy to work with Dr. Fetter and the students on music by Bjork (Innocence), Radiohead (Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box), and Miles Davis/Red Garland (Blues By Five).  Dr. Fetter would present the material to students by wrote first to get everyone listening to each other as a group and mimicking the sharp rock and jazz articulation that is favored with this material.  The ensemble also worked with Teal and the rest of the band Quintopus (including Mike Kaupa, Mike Frederick, and Danny Ziemann) on improvising together as a group on these pieces and several students took great solos in rehearsal and on the concert.  The students had a big role in deciding on the final arrangements of the songs as well! Here's a video of the students and Quintopus performing a version of Innocence (including some group singing--a great idea for the arrangement!):

Kyle Vock (bassist for the Mighty High and Dry/Nazareth College) and IfCM co-Director Chris Teal coached a week-long (5 hours a day!) collaboration for the Little America Rock Camp, July 21-25th 2014. Little America runs cultural exchange programs between Europe and the US that focus on providing people to immerse themselves in a different language and culture.  What could be more fun for 5 Italian kids and one American to get to know each other than through forming a rock band! Kyle has the scoop:

We started the sessions with a conversation about what they liked to listen to, and jumping right into the familiar 'Twist and Shout' as performed by the Beatles as a nice first-day ice breaker to engage with them musically. The simplicity of the chords allowed everyone to concentrate more on playing with one another. Singing came in the form of a four-part seventh chord in the song, with emphasis placed on listening to each other and adjusting if necessary.

The second day stepped up a notch: choosing, learning and performing music after only a few rehearsals. Improvisation and laughter ensued from engaging in simply rhythm exercises and clapping games - using a metronome showed that the discipline of adhering to a beat or replicating a pattern could be easy for some but challenging for others, but the session made everyone feel comfortable playing and improvising around each other, developing patterns as they wanted in interesting ways.

Day three was more about sound: using the two guitarists, I showed the two the difference in sound you can get by either using bar chords or more open chord voicings, tailoring the demonstration to their relative ability.

We used the majority of the penultimate session to rehearse our four songs for the concert, stopping during run-throughs to ask if they could hear certain features in the music, like the drummer turning the beat around or the guitars rushing ahead. We also talked about microphone do's and don'ts - vital for performance. 

Finally, for the last session, I brought in the upright bass so I could play and talk about the history of the instrument as well as its various roles in different musical settings. None of them had seen or heard a bass up close so this was a new experience! I spent the rest of the session discussing jazz music and the fundamental roles of the piano/guitar bass and drum set, identifying twelve bar blues form and also demonstrating the difference between traditional blues changes and jazz blues chord changes. Additionally, we spent time talking about the concept of swing and compared it to straight 8th note feel. showing them visually what swing looks like on the staff.

I had a great time working with the Italian students. They were extremely receptive, and had both great questions and enough musical background to allow more breakthrough than overwhelm. 

Alan Murphy writes about 'Come Join the Band: Creative Music Making for Everyone', a University of Rochester Pre-College Program, July 14-25 that he instructed with Chris Teal:

This year I was happy that we could help meet the students’ requests for instruction in songwriting.  I used some examples and created some exercises around “writing from the title” and students all took a stab at writing.  We were able to record about a half dozen new songs/ideas, and I hope that students continue to develop that they started.  I also enjoyed watching beginners and more advanced instrumentalists really go head-on into practicing and expanding their skills at their instrument(s) of choice. 

Rational Chaos: Entropy Re-imagined

Last year was the first time that the IfCM had a student ensemble, bringing together promising young musicians for sessions and concerts. We loved working with them and are proud of everything they achieved. However, this year, the ensemble is changing tack: Entropy will be the IfCM’s young professional training ensemble, working closely with the Teaching Artists in order to synthesize their own sound and develop their own identity.

Entropy is designed to empower the students to explore any combination of musical avenues in a safe environment - they will be encouraged to play new, creative music. Creative music for Entropy can be what the members decide – jazz, classical, pop/rock, experimental, vocal music – with music being written both for and by the band it will ultimately be up to the students to decide what creative music will mean to them. The chaos of experimentation will be eventually be channeled into new, exciting listening experiences designed by the ensemble.

The new vision for Entropy allows a greater personal development and growth of leadership skills for each member in the ensemble. With the main purpose of Entropy centred on the process of ‘becoming a band’, students will benefit from learning about effective gig preparation as well as rehearsal and practice technique. The training will culminate in a number of gigs both in Rochester and in New York City.

The group will be encouraged to break traditional genre barriers, incorporating new combinations of instruments and fusions of styles. Concepts that will be covered include practice and rehearsal techniques, improvisation, musicianship, songwriting and arrangement, promotion, publicity, recording, and student leadership. The Teaching Artists will aid the students’ individual and combined efforts to forge their own aesthetic, so that Entropy becomes be a fully artist-led ensemble.

If you are a Rochester-based young musician between the ages of 13-18 interested in auditioning for this fantastic opportunity, visit the Entropy page on our website at http://www.ifcmusic.org/entropy/ for more information.

 

-IfCM

New website, new blog!

We really hope you enjoy using our new website. Another difference between this new interface and the old one is that the blog is accessible from the website itself instead of opening on a new platform on a separate page.

So, in the interests of starting afresh, here is the new blog: we hope to continue to write in the same vein, informing you of what we've been up to, our upcoming events and other thoughts for the day. 

Our old blog posts can still be seen in the original URL: http://ifcmnews.blogspot.com .

Happy reading!

-IfCM