Jazz in the School

Jazz in GTown’s inaugural sold-out concert in April of this year was a huge success. Not only did the audience enjoy the music of master jazz vibist, Joe Locke, but the Germantown’s student jazz band had a private workshop on jazz improvisation led by Joe.

In addition to the performance, we are asking each featured musician to conduct a master class for the Germantown Central School Jazz Band. TK Blue led a master class in September as will our keyboardist Alex Weiss Hills before his concert this December.  We strongly believe in sharing the wealth of knowledge and talent that each concert brings to town with our budding GTown musicians.  The Germantown Community Friends of the Arts and the Germantown PTSA partially fund the workshops, which last for a duration of 2 hours during school hours and involve 15 – 30 students. Music director Dan Galliher coordinates and assists at the workshops, and reflects upon the first one:

“We were very fortunate to have Joe Locke work with the jazz band
students this past spring. Jazz improvisation is often intimidating
for developing “jazzers”, as it encompasses a completely different
approach to music-making than the reading of standard notation that
is emphasized in most students’ musical training. When improvising,
the performer makes up what he or she plays AS he or she is playing
it, in response to other musical stimuli happening in the moment.
It is not unlike a verbal conversation. It is also often well outside
the comfort zones of these students who hold themselves to exceptionally
high standards of perfection, because there really is no hard definition
of perfection when improvising. Rather, there are several interpretations
and options, all of which are often “correct”. Not only was Joe able
to encourage these students to leave their comfort zones and try
improvising, but he was able to get them to do so at quite an incredible
level. During the couple hours he spent with the jazz band, he had the
students playing, and improvising, genuine music. That in itself is no
small accomplishment. This is why I feel that bringing a variety of guest
artists such as Joe in to work with the kids is an excellent way to, when
combined with the work my colleagues and I do with the students every
day,help them reach their full musical potential.”

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This program is made possible in part with support from the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) Decentralization Program administered by Greene County Council on the Arts (GCCA), and Stewart’s Shops.