I'm collecting different vantage from our participants and posting feedback to serve 2 main purposes:
1) Jog our memories during the school year when we have lost our way in the weeds
2) Help future prospective students/teachers consider attending the Jazz Port Townsend Workshop
Randy Halberstadt at the piano with Jeff Clayton listens to "Ow" by Dizzy Gillespie
Thanks to the educator track participants for contributions as time permits. The following is a stream of consciousness entries by myself and other participants.
DAY 1 - Here you go!
First day of camp! And what a day it was! After our morning meeting our crew attended Kelby MacNayr's incredibly engaging seminar on waking up your body to play. He started off strong by leading the group in the brain dance and I was right at home. It felt like being in elementary music and not having to teach it, hah! I really enjoyed the next layering exercise that we built up together as well as the exploration of different counting methods and would love to try teaching them to my own students.
After lunch I hopped into the drum master class. While I played a kit a bit as a student I never felt the drive to pursue it and after this class I feel a bit of regret that I gave up on it so easily. Listening to 4 amazing musicians talk about something as specific as ride cymbal patterns for 45 min made me want to pull my own kit out of storage and just explore.
I then wandered over to the vocal master class which I heard had been rearranged a bit to make better use of the time (lucky me, I snuck right in.... And only interrupted a little...). Not only was I blown away by the talent of the singers but also the warmth and clarity with which Ms. Daniels expressed her observations. She described how you want to convey a story to the audience and how by imaging that imagery in your own head you can better communicate and evoke reminiscence from the audience. I feel like this can apply to instrumental improvisation as well, it's just more abstract. I also noticed a lot of parallels between the vocal and drum master classes, specifically the discussion of intent and choice. You must make the choice to play or sing a specific way, you can't allow limitations or habit make that choice for you. Simple and yet so important. After finishing up with these lovely ladies and gentlemen I dashed over to Wheeler for a killer concert then off to dinner.
After dinner I was back in 204 for Teaching Improvisation. I don't have a very firm grasp on improvisation so I feel that right now this class is much more for my benefit than my future students. lt gave me some great tools I can work with to begin building my skills.... Which I put to use for the next 2 hours! I ran back to the dorm, grabbed my sax and sat in on what looked like a low key jam. I feel like I learned as much in those 2 hours as I did all day. I got to practice my sight reading, improvising and transposing.... My theory brain hurts a bit... It hasn't work this hard in a while now.... But I am eager to try it again tomorrow.
See you tomorrow
Bass Masterclass - Monday
John Clayton - JC
Harish Ragahavan - HR
Jon Hamar - JH
Christoph Luty - CL
Chuck Deardorf - CDJohn Clayton - JC
JC -Ray Brown …. “if the bass is kicking you in the &$%, we are gonna have a problem” Ask questions as many will be facing the similar issues. Let’s play a number first. Sings and shows finger signs … Christoph you start on a B and go down chromatically .. ba ga doo dah …. 6 x then bomb
Then “In a Mello tone in G” I’ll play the first half, you play the second half ….. How to deal with a blister .. John Clayton said - sterilize a needle and then drain it yourself. If you choose to wear a bandaid, take it off at night. Ron Carter’s bass book has a great right hand exercise which I do every day. (Harish) Add to what we already do … there is no wrong way (unless it’s physically painful). Henry volunteered to play first… came up and asked for anyone who wants to play “you are my sunshine” - Ben volunteered and played a great solo and bass line too with much authority!! JC took notes on his Mac laptop and gave feedback from his notes after each demonstration. “Watch the masters right hands to get more control” Make sure you play in a musical fashion by not overwhelming your partner. Clamp down the left hand to create big tone … Chuck Deardorf JC … always double check your posture … I’m not saying you were or weren’t … demonstrated the leaning of the bass to ease posture in upper register. Get your thumb behind the neck … “choking the chicken” police :) It’s actually less work to play with proper technique with the thumb in the back of the neck. Sing and play what you sing … the music is in us … the bass just happens to be the best instrument on the planet :) Everyone in the room does something better than someone else …. JC told the story about Ray Brown telling the story about Art Tatum riding across town to hear a pianist who played only 1 finger solos … support each other no matter what they have to say at this point in time. Never feel insecure about your level … Luis Ross and Kenneth Jimenez … Nardis JC - be more deliberate when soloing and play around more with the vibe of the melody. Ken you start to go that way by making more space … guys hand your trading off … make it a natural tendency to share it … play more melodies and harmonies in life. Christoph - ditto about the groove - it was there throughout. Remember that your solos need to demonstrate that you’re playing with other people .. offer your solo to the other person. E can get a little muddy because the high octave is so challenging up there … maybe experiment in some other more bass friendly keys. All the Things or Misty are typically called in many keys but some tunes seem to always be a bit sacred … challenge that. CD - couple of things … Ken during Luis’ solo I felt it was a bit too busy and distracted a bit from what Luis was doing … Luis try to keep your top knuckles in line with the edge of the fingerboard. Learn the melody and don’t be afraid to steal more vocabulary from other soloists. JC always told me to create my own exercises! Just because you learn this tune it’s doesn’t mean it’s not going to apply in another instance on a different tune. JH - the most intense part of some solos is when someone is not playing. Create intensity by not playing… space makes your phrase more meaningful. JC - connect yourself to the silence … breath, then play. CD - I don’t have a ton to say. It was great! I also think your time was really enjoyable even though you’re not tapping your foot. Even though its a rental, it sounds great. The sound is in you … Harish said … your intro was so great. It really drew me in … I would say use this as a vehicle to explore all the chords… Steal some stuff from Bobby Timmons live at the vanguard. JH - Your left heel is off the ground. Stand with equal weight. Great great sound and pulse in the melody was super clear. Christoph - the clarity of the performance was evident. Think carefully about how you approach the harmony. Check out Israel Crosby and open up things a little more harmonically … demonstrates. Think about the bass line having a shape much like a melody does. Anything from 1958 - 60 with Ahmad Jamal. JC - Beautiful performance man. That was killin’! There’s no room for shy when you touch music. It’s okay to reflect the groove in other parts of your body. Lovely right arm… you give us the intensity without too much effort. Loved that you soloed first and then walked. Experiment with your posture …
Here are some highlights from Randy Halberstadt's Educator Track session on Improv on Monday night in Room 10.
Teach your student melodies by ear. "My Ideal". Require them to sing it!
When learning melodic phrases chunk and combine slowly! Especially the first time you're learning it.
Have your students pick out melodies by ear! Ray in a maze metaphor.
Improvise with chord tones!!
Stay in the box. Slowly!
Experiment with major scales
Then work on repetition games worksheet!
Repetition is the opposite of boring.
Good example is Joe morello on take 5
Swing! Legato rules
Don't end lines on a downbeat
Upbeat accentuation is more important than triplets
High notes sometimes act as accents when playing very fast - not like Itzak Pearlman
I took a fairly long break from jazz, not necessarily by choice but perhaps by failure to pursue it in my own time regardless of what my schedule could accommodate. That being said, the music has never left my head. It just never got to my fingers. I'd like to imagine that I can absorb things through osmosis without dedicating the hours of practice but we all know that's just not true. The first two days of camp have given me a kick start back into my own playing and feeling of belonging in the music world (and maybe even the jazz world). I think it's the community element that I have been missing for so long. It's also exciting to be challenged by some of the ideas we've been discussing. I understand the theory and get how to apply it to my instrument, I just need to get my fingers to believe me, hah! Then play it again and again and again and again... But when do we have the time?!?
I’m honored to be facilitating the Jazz Educator Track this year. I know you’ll have a great experience and I am here to help.
I will be at most of the sessions indicated in the handbook for Educator Track. Additionally, I’d like to be offer my “face-time” availability for anyone that would like to ask questions or visit about Jazz Education topics. I will host Educator Track participants one beverage this week. I’ll be attending sessions and will offer my summary of “lessons learned” and will also attempt to blog a bit so if you missed the session I attended you can get a quick summary.
Jake's Centrum Office Hours:
Monday 9-10:30 at Centrum Office
Tuesday 9:45 -10:30 at Fort Warden Café
Wednesday 9:00 - 9:45 at Fort Warden Café
Thursday 9:45-10:30 at Fort Warden Café
I'm good with email and am also available via text or actual phone calls. Best time to call for voice to voice is 3:30-4 PM or from 9-9:30 PM.
Monday - Overview
General info for the week
Goal setting - would you consider writing some blog posts of your experience?
1) Have a pencil/staff paper with you - or use your phone or tablet
2) Record sessions and concerts for later review and memory retrieval
3) Enjoy the surroundings by getting outside for fitness each day
Metaphors for the Musician gives insights into almost every aspect of jazz musicianship, including scale/chord theory, practice strategies, composing techniques, performance psychology and how to create the states of mind that produce the best improvisations.
This book series is key in helping students conquer jazz articulation issues. Each of the contrafacts are based on classic jazz standards so it’s a good starting point for reaching into original source recordings and more serious listening and study.
Steve breaks down many of the most essential elements for jazz improvisation with a focus on creativity. Chapters include playing by ear, rhythm, creative improvisation, major and minor tonal harmony, blues, chromaticism, modes, chord symbols, motivic improvisation and more.
Other Recommended Books
Mindset - Carol Dweck
Teaching Music - Darwin Walker
7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey
I use this for saving and categorizing recordings, videos, compositions, and arrangements. Digital storage and access to material is easier than ever. Having a useful tool which helps keep this glut of information accessible and organized is nice.
Finale - industry standard for music notation software.
School is almost out for summer. Sometimes I find it necessary to get inspired during practice sessions so I take a break and listen to music or motivational stories/talks. I hope you may be able to listen to these tracks when you want to.
I'm grateful to the Pacific Arts Institute and Dimtriou's Jazz Alley for hosting another wonderful session as a part of their "Meet the Masters" series. Edmonds-Woodway High School had about 20 attendees for this crowded session on Memorial Day Weekend, May 28, 2016.
The following are some question and answer sound files. I think you might find them inspirational.
- The importance of piano
- How to deal with mistakes
- Understanding the term "Latin Jazz"
- Jazz as a language
- Importance of being curious "seek and find"
- Drug Abuse
- Attitude of Gratitude
The circle widens at the second lesson in May at EW Band Room. This blog is to aid and assist in a review of what happens at E-Dub Rumba Club (review) and to help those unable to attend to benefit from some of the concepts covered (spark notes).
Goal: to expose EW Jazz Musicians to more diverse forms of music with hands-on interaction with authentic "Salsa" drumming artists and instructors, and to focus some energy and enthusiasm into Afro-Cuban drumming and Latin Jazz.
This Friday - May 13, 2016!! Live in our town. This band is always amazing. Great soloists and fun.
We reviewed many of the basics of Conga playing including the 4 basic tones (bass, open, muff and slap) and the basic Tumbao pattern. Students worked on a practice pattern of "8 on a hand" then added the "hinge" motion necessary for the Tumbao.
Here's another review of the Tumbao. These videos are great too. Thanks to Lincoln Center Jazz Academy and Bobby Sanabaria!
Students are encouraged to practice this on any surface if they do not have a drum at home.
Wednesdays at EdCC CLUB CAJA in the band room from 2:45-3:45 - come check this out to reinforce your concepts and meet more musicians!
We also reviewed the bongo pattern called Martillo and passed drums around the circle after a short interval so every student could get a chance to try the new grooves.
Bells were discussed and described. Cha Bell (smallest bell) and Mambo Bell (both used with Timbales), Salsa Bongo Bell (bigger and often hand-held), Campana (biggest and also a global term for all cowbells meaning "Bell").
Steve Mostovoy had a nice way of explaining that the beat 2 of the 2 side of the Clave was a chance for all musicians to reunite and then diverge again. Notice in the diagram above that all players play beat 2 of the first bar at the same time.
Bass and piano players worked on the Montuno patterns and we jammed on a Killer Joe style of chords shifting back and forth from C major to Bb Major.
Here's great video discussing the bells again.
Campana or Cincerro or Bell (timbale have "mambo bell" and "cha-cha bell", the bongocero has a "bongo bell") - the bells are played during the Montuno or "high" part of the song