Sunday, February 14, 2016

WMEA Conference 2016 - Yakima

I just returned home after another successful WMEA conference held in Yakima.  It was full of great sessions and I picked up some great new ideas as always.

I enjoyed the chance to chaperone the All-State Jazz Kids on their way and got some time to practice and work on arrangements with my new Finale Skills which I developed this past summer by taking an online course.

My practice lately has been focused on transcription and I'm using the TempoSlow App mostly.

The sessions I attended were mainly jazz focused. So here's a diary style entry with a few photos from the events.

Fridays sessions:

Dan Keberle - Jazz Methods for non-jazzers
Dan discussed some big concepts for interpreting jazz band music to make it sound more authentic. Special focus was paid the "common practice period" of the 1950s with Count Basie's Band as the model.

Nik Caoile - Conducting Masterclass
Dr. Caoile used 4 current CWU Master's students, the CWU Chamber Orchestra and the Unfinished Symphony by Schubert to work on gestures and concepts which brought the music to life and illuminated fine points.

Keynote Address - Marcia Neel

WMEA All-State Jazz Concert directed by Ly Wilder (choir) and Patty Darling (band)

All-State Jazz Choir rehearsals

All-State Band Director Patty Darling with Group Manager Mike Mines

Former student teachers Jonathan Bletscher, Dan Taylor and James Orr

I ran into MaryEllen O'Donnell who is good friends with Bruce and Jo Caldwell. 
She was my sons' kindergarten teacher :)

All-State Jazz Choir including my son Elijah

Saturday's sessions:

Chris Bruya - Time Feel in the Jazz Ensemble with the Zillah High School Jazz Band
Students played a ride cymbal with a recording and played time keeping games. Chris compared three recordings of the same chart by Count Basie, Buddy Rich and Frank Capp to compare and contrast time-feel.

Clipper Anderson - the Bassist's Survival Kit

Jenny Kellogg - Jazz Rehearsal Techniques with the Cashmere High School Jazz Band

Jenny Kellogg - Listening Skills
Solfege, listening to Corner Pocket by Count Basie and Socratic questioning techniques were a few of the topics covered in the session.

Chris Bianco - Tried and True Rehearsal Techniques

One of several helpful slides used in the talk by Dr. Bianco

Chris had an especially clever way of getting the students to tune by having them focus on precision entrances and releases with the threat of fear of embarrassment as a motivator. It was fun and interesting.

I also attended a fun jam session at Gilbert Cellars hosted by PLU Professors of Jazz including David Deacon Joyner, Clipper Anderson and Mark Ivestor

Andrew Vinther (age 12) plays bass in the Cellar on Saturday Night Jam 

Elijah with All-State Choir Director Ly Wilder

Sunday's sessions:
Groove for Thought - Building Musicianship in a VJ Ensemble
Groove for Thought - Vocal Masterclass with the iJazz VJ from the International School

Groove For Thought - Masterclass