Jazz day 3 – influences

This morning, we met together like we always did.  We had learned an short African song on the first day, and sang it again on Day 2. Today, we learned harmonize (SATB), then added body movement. The teachers added percussive instruments and the entire thing sounded amazing!

One of the questions that the students asked today was “what can we do to further our learning of jazz music, or what can we listen to, to inspire us?” The interesting answer Bill Coon gave was the answer that HE got when he asked HIS teacher: go to the modern museum of art and observe the pieces of art there.

At first, this didn’t make sense to him…but the point was that jazz music is not purely inspired by other jazz music. In fact, jazz music is a type of art, and because of that, it is inspired by other kinds of art.  Everything is interconnected.  To further emphasize this point, Jodi Proznik invited her former teacher (who is also a dancer) to come tomorrow to demonstrate how two art forms like dance and jazz can connect and feed off each other.

Today’s piano masterclass was very helpful – Miles went over the pieces we are working on in our combos, and played them the way HE would have played them (how to “comp”). Miles also talked a bit about his history as a musician.  When he first began learning jazz, it was not a widespread genre of music, and even his teacher was not a jazz expert at that time (all us musicians are on a journey; none have “arrived”).  However, jazz spoke to him in a different way than classical music, because classical music is either played “right” or “wrong”.  However, in jazz, even “wrong”notes can become “right”notes, and it is a truly freeing form of self expression in music.  He also began playing professional gigs after picking up jazz for a few years!  This showed that you don’t always have to know everything before you perform – in fact, performing is the best way to learn. He performed many times before someone came up to his band to explain that they were not following the form when improvising!  But honestly, to the untrained ear, he sounded fantastic 🙂

After lunch every day, the instructors get together for a jam session. This is such a valuable time, because they are SHOWING and not just TALKING about what to do. What a treat to listen to Vancouver’s top jazz musicians performing together every day!  Sometimes even they are surprised by what happens (the best part is when you KNOW something magical is happening, and you can tell by the smiles and acknowledgment on their face that they are experiencing the same thing too).


Published by hannahannika

Piano Teacher

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