Fayetteville Jazz Camps 2019

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Youth Jazz Camp

Register Here

By attending Youth Jazz Camp, you will experience a fun group dynamic where you can feel free to express yourself through improvisation and composition. The instructors teach you how to learn songs, assimilate styles, and improvise so that you have tools to improve your musicianship after the camp is done. Working in large and small groups throughout the week, you experience democratic music-making and work on interpersonal skills in a professional environment.  Learning about the history of jazz and creative music gives you a greater context to appreciate this American-born global art form. Students from ages 11 – 18 will play together in a large ensemble as well as in small groups organized by age and ability.

You will learn:

  • to play a variety of songs by ear, improvise, and compose your own songs as a group

  • improve your sense of time and meter

  • improve your listening skills by singing all parts of the songs (bass line, melody, harmony, improvisation) and connecting the singing to your instruments

  • how to transcribe classic jazz melodies and solos by ear

  • basic audio recording techniques and how to listen to recordings to improve playing

  • strategies for practicing performance, learning songs, style, improvisation, transcription, and composition

The 2019 camp has expanded its faculty to include internationally acclaimed professional jazz musician/educators in addition to camp director/drummer Chris Teal. Read more about them below.

Eligibility:Open to any music students entering grades 7-12 with at least 1 year of instruction on their instrument/voice.

No audition or previous jazz experience required.

Dates: June 9 – 14, 2019

Times:See sample schedule below

Location:Music Building, U of A Campus    Click here for maps and directions.

Fees:$370 by May 1 / $400 after May 1: instruction, materials, daily lunches and dinners

$235: lodging package (for those staying overnight at dorm): 5  nights lodging, breakfasts

Registration: Register Here

Cancellation/Refund Policy: By May 15: refund less $100 administrative fee

May 15 – May 31: refund less $150 administrative fee

After May 31: no refunds available

For More Information

Registration: David Owens, Operations Coordinator – 479-575-4702 – cms@uark.edu

Curriculum: Chris Teal, Camp Director – uofacmsjazz@gmail.com


The mission of the Community Music School is to provide enriching programs to all. In collaboration with the Institute for Creative Music (www.ifcmusic.org), a limited number of need-based scholarships are available for the 2019 Youth Jazz Camp. To apply for a scholarship email Chris Teal at chris@ifcmusic.org with a statement of financial need.  If you are interested in sponsoring a scholarship or making a tax-exempt donation to the program please email Chris Teal at chris@ifcmusic.org. The Institute for Creative Music is an IRS recognized 501(c)3 organization.

Scholarship inquiries must be submitted by midnight on April  19, 2019. Applications will be reviewed and notifications sent to applicants the week of April 22.


Adult Jazz Camp

Register Here

We are excited to offer the second annual CMS Adult Jazz Camp for both beginner and advanced musicians! Camp director and drummer Chris Teal brings this opportunity for adults to learn jazz songs, style, and improvisation by ear and from written notation. The core faculty also includes internationally touring jazz musician/educators. Students will have the opportunity to play in large and small ensembles organized by ability and interest. Students are coached both on their individual roles and roles within ensembles. Jazz transcription, composition, practice techniques, and basic audio recording are included in both levels. The camp meets during the day for workshops and rehearsals and in the evenings for performances by the faculty and student groups.

Beginning Adult Jazz Track: This is open to any adult with at least one year of experience on an instrument or voice, but limited experience with jazz. No audition is required – just enroll using the link shown below.

Advanced Adult Jazz Track: This is designed for experienced jazz musicians who want to play and perform with others of a similar background. Those interested in this camp track can enroll using the link below and should submit a letter of interest that includes past experience with jazz to Chris Teal at uofacmsjazz@gmail.com.

Eligibility: Open to music students age 19 (age lowered from 21) and older with at least one year of experience on their instrument/voice.

Beginning Track: No audition or previous jazz experience required.

Advanced Track: Submit a letter of interest that includes past experience with jazz to Chris Teal at uofacmsjazz@gmail.com.

Dates: June 13 – 16, 2019

Times: See sample schedule below

Location:Music Building, U of A Campus. Click here for maps and directions.

Fees:$462 by May 1   /   $497 after May 1

Fee includes instruction, materials and daily lunches.

Lodging/Meal Package (for those staying overnight at dorm): $175

Registration: Register Here

Cancellation/Refund Policy:By May 15: refund less $100 administrative fee

May 15 – May 31: refund less $150 administrative fee

After May 31: no refunds available

For More Information

Registration: David Owens, Operations Coordinator – 479-575-4702 – cms@uark.edu

Curriculum: Chris Teal, Camp Director – uofacmsjazz@gmail.com

2019 Fayetteville Jazz Festival

Thank you for supporting the 2019 Fayetteville Jazz Festival! Mark your calendars for April 11, 24-25, 2020 for the second edition. More news and school registration will be available here and at www.facebook.com/fayettevillejazz in October.

The First Annual Fayetteville Jazz Festival

featuring Artist in Residence Doug Stone

Friday, April 12th through Saturday, April 13th, 2019

The University of Arkansas Community Music School, Institute for Creative Music (IfCM), and Fayetteville Public Library present a two-day music festival on Friday April 12th and Saturday, April 13th. This event features performances by guest saxophonist Doug Stone, a former member of Maynard Ferguson’s Big Bop Nouveau and now an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at Louisiana State University. There will also be performance clinics with regional school jazz groups as well as workshops on jazz history and listening to jazz for the community.

The Institute for Creative Music (a registered 501c3 non-profit) will award several youth scholarships to the 2019 U of A Community Music School Summer Jazz Camp to high-performing students who participate in the performance clinics. High school, junior high, and middle school groups can register at https://bit.ly/2FtxDay until April 1st for $100 per group.

Festival Schedule:

Friday, April 12th:

  • 8pm, Doug Stone Quartet Performance at the Guisinger Music House, 1 E. Mountain St. featuring Doug Stone (saxophone/compositions), Jake Hertzog (guitar), Garrett Jones (bass), and Chris Teal (drum set).  

Saturday, April 13th:

  • 8am-2pm School performance clinics at Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall on the University of Arkansas Campus (school schedule TBA March 1, 2019, see full schedule at bottom of page).

  • 12:30pm-4pm Community events at Fayetteville Public Library:

  • 12:30-2pm, “The Music of Ella Fitzgerald” lecture presentation by Dr. Kimberly Hannon Teal, University of Arkansas

  • 2:30-3:15pm, “Listening to Jazz” workshop with Dr. Kimberly Hannon Teal and the Doug Stone Quartet

  • 3:15-4pm, Performance of the by the Doug Stone Quartet featuring Claudia Burson (piano), Garrett Jones (bass), and Chris Teal (drums)

Attendance to the events at Guisinger Music House and the Fayetteville Public Library are free and open to the public. Participation for school groups in the performance clinic portion of the festival is $100 for the day (register at https://bit.ly/2FtxDay until April 1st). Anyone interested in making a tax-exempt donation to the Institute for Creative Music to support student scholarships to the U of A Community Music School Camps and Workshops can visit http://www.ifcmusic.org/donate/  For more information, contact Chris Teal (cdteal@uark.edu) and visit http://www.ifcmusic.org/


All performances in Stella Boyle Concert Hall in the Fine Arts Building:

8:00-8:40           School 1 (Prairie Grove HS) performance and clinic

8:40-9:20           School 2 (CMS Adult 3) performance and clinic

9:20-10:00          School 3 (NWACC) performance and clinic

10:00-10:30        Workshop 1 with Chris Teal

10:30-11:10        School 4 (CMS Youth 1) performance and clinic

11:10-11:50        School 5 (CMS Adult 1 & 2) performance and clinic

11:50-12:30        Workshop 2 with Doug Stone


Students, teachers, and community members who are driving individual vehicles can park in the Stadium Parking Garage (free on Saturdays) and walk to the Fine Arts Building and Stella Boyle Smith Hall (Direction to campus and the Fine Arts Building can be accessed at http://fulbright.uark.edu/departments/music/about-the-department/directions.php)

Demystifying Jazz Improvisation: Part 3

After completing “Demystifying Jazz Improvisation,” students will have learned the following:

  • a comprehensive understanding of the elements of a jazz standard (melody, lyrics, bass line, harmony) including their roles, how to interpret them on their own instruments, and how this information structures their jazz improvisation

  • a comfortable process for learning melodies by ear and determining the form of a tune

  • skills to embellish a melody with either rhythmic variation or ornamentation/effects on their instrument

  • an understanding of the function of each member in the rhythm section and how to assume those roles on their own instrument

  • the jazz theory knowledge to determine and organize the chord arpeggios, scales, and ii-V-I vocabulary for a tune to inform their foundation for improvisation

  • how to use this jazz theory knowledge as a springboard for their improvisation, which enables them to be creative with their ideas while demonstrating an understanding of the tune’s harmonies and form

  • a step-by-step process to approach and understand new material in the future

With this course, you get what you put into it. If you exhaust all of the possibilities that I discuss with you, you will have an excellent foundation to draw from when improvising on almost any tune. If you end up just scratching the surface on some of these exercises by trying only one version of embellishment or a bass line, or working out the vocabulary in only one or two keys, you will find that you still have holes in your foundation later on. So, I recommend that you take the leap and get serious! Keep a checklist of the keys you have played your ii-V-I arpeggios in, make note of if you have trouble playing vibrato on certain notes. My students improve significantly when they keep a record of what they are working on and what areas they need to improve upon. I love looking back at my old notebooks and seeing what I was working on.

 Check out the course here: https://goo.gl/p9t35P 

Grab those practice journals and have fun!


Demystifying Jazz Improvisation: Part 2

The most common mistake in this process is for a student to skip the learning-by-ear portion, maybe because they are frustrated or overwhelmed, and sneakily find a lead sheet to learn the song. If you do not attempt to learn the melody by ear, you are denying yourself the chance to grow and develop your ear training skills. Listening is one of the most important elements of jazz, and if we shut off our ears, we are at a disadvantage. Please try your hardest to work out things aurally. It may be painful and time-consuming at first, but I promise that it gets easier with time. Many of my students get hung up because they are impatient and want immediate results. Instant gratification unfortunately does not occur in learning music! Take a deep breath and push through, you can do it!

The same situation occurs when it comes time to learn scales, arpeggios, or jazz vocabulary in other keys. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to learn your scales, arpeggios, chords, and vocabulary in all twelve keys. When I began learning ii-V-I vocabulary, I would want to give up whenever I stumbled upon a difficult key. Now I regret not pushing myself more because I feel that I still clearly favor certain keys over others. You want to get to the point where you are so comfortable that you don’t care whether a song is in G or G#! Believe in yourself, be patient with yourself, and go at your own pace. It is so much more worth it to push through and put the time in now, rather than to skip over the hard stuff.

Lastly, when a student is working on a tune, I recommend finding as many different versions as possible. It is important to hear how a vocalist phrased the original lyrics. It’s also important to hear if some people play at a certain tempo compared to others. Don’t stick with just your instrument either! Find versions of the melody performed on trumpet, piano, violin, saxophone, vibraphone, and more. It all helps to inform your own performance of the tune. Check out when the recording was made and who was performing on it. Did they do anything particular with it? Sometimes there will be a popular introduction or way of ending a tune. Other times people may change the style of a tune to a bossa or a ballad or a waltz. Pay attention to detail and try to figure out how you want to play YOUR version of the tune.

Check out the course here: https://goo.gl/p9t35P 

Have fun!


Demystifying Jazz Improvisation Part 1

The IfCM is proud to release our newest web-based course, Alexa Tarantino's "Demystifying Jazz Improvisation." Learn more about the course below:

This online course, “Demystifying Jazz Improvisation” is an in-depth look at learning and improvising on a tune from the ground up. I created this course in hopes of breaking down the process of jazz improvisation for those who want to learn to improvise or dig deeper, but feel overwhelmed or don’t know where to start. This course would also suit someone who is curious about other approaches to jazz improvisation, or is looking for a concrete step-by-step process that they can implement into their own practice.

The truth is, anyone can improvise. However, the process is actually opposite of the stereotypical attitude that a jazz solo is just “waving one’s fingers” and “playing everything under the sun”. Creating an engaging and coherent improvised solo takes patience, thoughtfulness, listening, thinking ahead, restraint, confidence, and making choices.

“Demystifying Jazz Improvisation” is for the person who loves or is interested in jazz, has a good grasp on their primary instrument with a couple of years of study, and understands basic music theory such as some major scales, the chromatic scale, and some arpeggios.

This course takes you through my step-by-step process using a tune I wrote called “Summer Waves,” which is similar to the jazz standard “Autumn Leaves”. The student will learn the melody, the bass line, the harmonic foundation, and tools for developing improvisational skills in order to create their own solos.  

The main theme of this course is embellishment. First the student learns the melody, and then learns skills to embellish it to make it their own. As we continue learning the bass line, chords, and arpeggios, you’ll find that this is always the process: playing unornamented followed by ornamented or embellished. This gets us comfortable with departing from what we see on the page or are most familiar with. Through each exercise, we move steps closer to creating our own solos, which are essentially embellishments on the melody that we are playing. This process can be used on any tune, and I hope that you will transfer it over to the next song that you learn. And the next, and the next, and the next…. :)




Enroll in the course here.

Check back next week for more on some common mistakes students make when learning jazz and how they can transform their playing with this course.

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.


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



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.


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/.

# # #

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


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



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.