The penultimate Jazz Experience workshop saw Richard Michael and Tim Garland working together to provide another greatworkshop, this time hosted by Ernie Young at the South Tyneside Music Service's home in South Shields.
The morning began with a small number of teachers taking part but as other ensemble activities elsewhere in the building finished, during the morning the numbers increased nicely and included a great horn section, pictured here!
Both Richard & Tim gave some excellent sessions to help the assembled educators sharpen their improvising. The pair also demonstrated expertly various ways that interesting harmonisations could transform even a simple nursery song!
Tim's global acclaim - through his work with Acoustic Triangle, Lighthouse Trio, Bill Bruford and Chick Corea - meant that Jazz Experience came with high expectations and weren't disappointed!
Richard's fluid, creative but approachable approach to improvising, along with his broad musical knowledge and passion borne of his 35-year love affair with jazz and improvising, meant that all participants went away with lots to think about, to try out for themselves and a whole host of ensemble coaching ideas that they could apply straight away when they got back into school.
On 17 & 18 April, Andrea Vicari and Neil Cowley led two wonderful Jazz Experience workshops as part of Yamaha's 7-venue tour providing CPD for teachers and music leaders who are new to jazz and improvising.
The first was hosted by Manchester's prestigious Chetham's School of Music, which stepped in to provide a wonderful venue in their Baronial Hall when we were struggling to find a suitable venue.
Andrea had led our first in this workshop series (Portsmouth) back in March alongside Tim Garland. Class and peripatetic teachers from Manchester and way beyond (one had traveled from Northamptonshire!) enjoyed a day of some great 'ways in' to jazz impro and the pianists among them got some high-level input and help from the fantastic Neil Cowley. (One group is pictured here.)
The day at Chetham's included work on simple impro ideas and culminated in a group impro on the blues as well as on Cannonball Adderley's funky 'Walk Tall' and a host of other jazz standards, all of which provided great material for good players who are new to improvising.
The second day took place at Leeds College of Music (LCM) where the class and instrumental teachers, mainly from the Leeds ArtForms music service - who did a great job in organising the day - were also joined by the four teachers from the Yamaha Music School in Doncaster. Once again Andrea and Neil did a wonderful job and we even captured a piano duet between the pair on video, which you can see on the Jazz Experience page. It turned out that none of the participants was either a bass player or drummer, so we were delighted to be joined by two 1st-year jazz degree students from LCM, on bass and drums, who provided such a solid rhythm section that it made it very easy for all the participants! Andrea can be seen far right directing the performance and Neil, far left, helping one of the piano players.
Well, after lots of preparation, the day arrived and Yamaha, along with representatives from the whole of the UK music industry, had geared up for Education Day at the brand new London International Music Show in London's Docklands.
Students and their teachers were treated to a broad range of experiences from Yamaha, including displays and demonstrations of Yamaha's world-beating instruments and equipment from orchestral to rock instruments, from concert grand pianos to the much loved digital Clavinova pianos, from synths to the brand new 21st century instrument, the Tenori-On!
Yamaha ran some superb workshops for drum kit beginners, led by Yamaha Music School teacher trainer, Kew West. We collaborated with the European String Teachers' Association in their wonderful presentation of Yamaha electric strings, led by Sarah Drury. We also supported our colleagues, the Associated Board, lending them a top-of-the-range stage piano for their workshop on improvisation, led by Pete Churchill.
I met lots of educators and would like to thank all of you for taking the time to visit me on the Yamaha stand. Please take some time once a week to glance through this site and post your comments, requests, ideas and links to great teaching resources. I hope to see you again soon!