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Jazz Academy here I come

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
Looking forward to Jazz Academy tomorrow and for the next week.

As it is in Kent (although south of The Great Divide) I am hoping it is sufficiently distant from the stomping ground of CaSLM not to require any special permissions.

The evening 'Jazz Club' is open to all to visit and listen. Anyone interested in coming along it is 7.30-10.30 each evening (not sure it is on first evening - Sunday - though). The venue is Beechwood School, Pembury Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent TN2 3QD.

Perhaps I will see some of you there.

SLoB
 
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SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
Wow!!

I am exhausted. Got there on the Sunday to be given a timetable that starts at 8.15 with breakfast and finishes at 10.30pm after the Jazz Academy Club (i.e. concert) - this is the timetable every day. On Sunday the tutors performed and it was a privelege to see them all performing. Of course every evening there was the after hours session chatting, drinking and playing pool or table football. I think the most sleep I got was 6 hours (the least about 2.5 hours).

They give some 'grading' depending on the answers to questions on the application form. For me it was probably about right. They put you in groups.

The age range and ability was wide and they did say they had more saxes this year than ever before. There were about 50 'students' all together. The atmosphere and attitude was great and very supportive, regardless of how good or bad you are. It was great fun and there really was an emphasis on the fact that music should be fun.

I had Carlos Lopez-Real as the morning tutor (Martin Hathaway - director of jazz at the Guildhall - took the beginners group of saxes). Carlos was a lovely guy, great teacher and had a wonderful sound. He took us through practice regimes and got us all doing things we had either never tried or tried and given up (e.g. playing just the mouthpiece and getting scales out of it).

For the ensembles the group I was in had a couple of teachers (both guitarists) and it was a bit hit and miss, but good nonetheless.

For the improvisation class I was in Gareth Lockrane's group. Well - what can I say; the man is a genius. His flute playing (on bass, alto, ordinary and piccollo) was outstanding and he is such a generous, modest and encouraging guy. It was a privelege to have met him and been in his group. He got us right out of our comfort zones. Whether it sounded any good was irrelevant because we had such a blast and fun trying things we had never done before. We did an 18 minute version of Teo with everyone having a solo!! The highlight though was doing Reincarnation of a Lovebird (Mingus) after only c. 3 hours practice and the next day we did Timelessness (Mseleku).

I did only a couple of numbers in smaller groups as I am of the sort that prefers to 'have a go' after practice and being more confident than an hour or so of practice would give (except with Gareth's pieces when he just encouraged us to go for it regardless). I did however get together a group and led a mass ensemble (basically everyone got involved) of Oye Coma Va as a finale piece. It was incredible to be out in front seeing about 50 people (tutors included) playing along.

There was some incredibly gifted youngsters.

One slot in the day was a talk by each tutor on some aspect (mainly their influences and things to learn from the 'greats'), which was revealing and very useful. In the afternoon there was an options session (I went to a few including some by Michael Garrick himself -pianist - on the scales and chord formation, etc). This time is when some put groups together or went and played along with a tutor group (a chance to play with the professionals).

I could go on, but I won't. I went not really knowing what I wanted to learn and came away knowing how far behind I am to where I thought I was and what I need to do about it. It was very inspiring.

A few of us will keep in touch and I am now going to arrange lessons with Carlos and go and see Gareth occasionally.

A fantastic week that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Stephen
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,421
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Stephen
It sounds like a terrific week. Karen's workshop was the highlight of the year in jazz learning for me, but that sounds a big step on from that. Sorry I couldn't get down to hear the evening sessions, but it turned out to be a really hectic week!
Colin
 

c9off

Senior Member
Messages
607
Location
London SE/Kent & Rickinghall
Inspiring report Stephen, there is no doubt how much you enjoyed the week! Worth mentioning that this course was great value for money to boot!

I did a course with Gareth earlier this year so can appreciate fully what you have said - did he get you singing?

Although I missed last week's course at least I know for next time!

thanks for posting

Geoff
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Hi Stephen, sounded like you had a great time. just out of interest where are you going to have lessons with carlos?
By the way thanks for you comments re my illness. Two more weeks then i'll give it a go. Rgds phil:welldone
Wow!!

I am exhausted. Got there on the Sunday to be given a timetable that starts at 8.15 with breakfast and finishes at 10.30pm after the Jazz Academy Club (i.e. concert) - this is the timetable every day. On Sunday the tutors performed and it was a privelege to see them all performing. Of course every evening there was the after hours session chatting, drinking and playing pool or table football. I think the most sleep I got was 6 hours (the least about 2.5 hours).

They give some 'grading' depending on the answers to questions on the application form. For me it was probably about right. They put you in groups.

The age range and ability was wide and they did say they had more saxes this year than ever before. There were about 50 'students' all together. The atmosphere and attitude was great and very supportive, regardless of how good or bad you are. It was great fun and there really was an emphasis on the fact that music should be fun.

I had Carlos Lopez-Real as the morning tutor (Martin Hathaway - director of jazz at the Guildhall - took the beginners group of saxes). Carlos was a lovely guy, great teacher and had a wonderful sound. He took us through practice regimes and got us all doing things we had either never tried or tried and given up (e.g. playing just the mouthpiece and getting scales out of it).

For the ensembles the group I was in had a couple of teachers (both guitarists) and it was a bit hit and miss, but good nonetheless.

For the improvisation class I was in Gareth Lockrane's group. Well - what can I say; the man is a genius. His flute playing (on bass, alto, ordinary and piccollo) was outstanding and he is such a generous, modest and encouraging guy. It was a privelege to have met him and been in his group. He got us right out of our comfort zones. Whether it sounded any good was irrelevant because we had such a blast and fun trying things we had never done before. We did an 18 minute version of Teo with everyone having a solo!! The highlight though was doing Reincarnation of a Lovebird (Mingus) after only c. 3 hours practice and the next day we did Timelessness (Mseleku).

I did only a couple of numbers in smaller groups as I am of the sort that prefers to 'have a go' after practice and being more confident than an hour or so of practice would give (except with Gareth's pieces when he just encouraged us to go for it regardless). I did however get together a group and led a mass ensemble (basically everyone got involved) of Oye Coma Va as a finale piece. It was incredible to be out in front seeing about 50 people (tutors included) playing along.

There was some incredibly gifted youngsters.

One slot in the day was a talk by each tutor on some aspect (mainly their influences and things to learn from the 'greats'), which was revealing and very useful. In the afternoon there was an options session (I went to a few including some by Michael Garrick himself -pianist - on the scales and chord formation, etc). This time is when some put groups together or went and played along with a tutor group (a chance to play with the professionals).

I could go on, but I won't. I went not really knowing what I wanted to learn and came away knowing how far behind I am to where I thought I was and what I need to do about it. It was very inspiring.

A few of us will keep in touch and I am now going to arrange lessons with Carlos and go and see Gareth occasionally.

A fantastic week that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Stephen
 
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S

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
Geoff

Yes, singing the intervals, clapping the rythms, etc.

I should add that when we did the Mingus piece I went to sleep thinking about it and then woke up still thinking about it!!!

By the way his big band is at the 606 club in September and I am hoping to go with a few others.

Phil

He is near you (Walthamstow) and I hope to arrange a lesson once a month or so. He teaches jazz primarily and he himself studied under Dave Liebman.

Stephen
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Does he teach normally? if so can you Pm me his details. Thanks
Geoff

Yes, singing the intervals, clapping the rythms, etc.

I should add that when we did the Mingus piece I went to sleep thinking about it and then woke up still thinking about it!!!

By the way his big band is at the 606 club in September and I am hoping to go with a few others.

Phil

He is near you (Walthamstow) and I hope to arrange a lesson once a month or so. He teaches jazz primarily and he himself studied under Dave Liebman.

Stephen
 

davhudson

Member
Messages
175
Location
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Great post Stephen.

You hit the nail on the head with one point - sometimes the question goes beyond "how do I" into "what are the questions I need answers to".
This is where teachers and courses really come into their own.

It sounds like you need two weeks for the course - one week to attend and then a second to rest/consolidate!

Cheers
David
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Wow!!

I went not really knowing what I wanted to learn and came away knowing how far behind I am to where I thought I was and what I need to do about it. It was very inspiring.

Stephen
Hm. sounds like how I feel after my lessons with Karen!

Sounds like a great time! I was sad they didn't run the Jazzwise course this year. Deffo gonna do something next year though!
 
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S

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
Several on the course last week had previously been on the Aebersold course and good as it was they said you do not get as much playing time, it is more expensive and very 'american - centric'. I cannot compare (others here may have been on both), but I will certainly go on the Jazz Academy course again - when I have assimilated and practiced what I learnt this time.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Several on the course last week had previously been on the Aebersold course and good as it was they said you do not get as much playing time, it is more expensive and very 'american - centric'. I cannot compare (others here may have been on both), but I will certainly go on the Jazz Academy course again - when I have assimilated and practiced what I learnt this time.
It is expensive as there are a lot of 'yanks' to fly over. Best value is to do 2 weeks in the US - which costs about the same as just one week here.

Dunno what 'american-centric' means, I certainly didn't think it could be described as such though most of the tutors were from the US.

We played around 4 hours each day plus another 90 minutes jam session each evening. That was enough for me being that I'd been playing for less that a year but I could do more than that now.

I reckon I'd really make some progress next year from either course. What was the costs in the end?
 
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S

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
The cost was c. £400 including full board and all tuition, etc. Drinks (alcohol) was additional and there was a charge if you wanted anything photocopied.

From what you say the amount of playing time was similar.

I think the 'amercian centric' comment was because most tutors on the Aebersold course are from the US and perhaps narrower in their scope of reference to jazz generally (that is the impression I gained anyway).

The Jazz Academy took a very broad view of what jazz means (Martin Hathaway got his group doing a Showaddywaddy number! - in a swing style).

As I have not been on the Aebersold course I cannot compare. What I do like is that as the tutors on the JA course were all UK based I can contact them in future with any questions, etc (lots of Emails were given out on the last day and we are now part of an Email circular).
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
The cost was c. £400 including full board and all tuition, etc. Drinks (alcohol) was additional and there was a charge if you wanted anything photocopied.

From what you say the amount of playing time was similar.

I think the 'amercian centric' comment was because most tutors on the Aebersold course are from the US and perhaps narrower in their scope of reference to jazz generally (that is the impression I gained anyway).

The Jazz Academy took a very broad view of what jazz means (Martin Hathaway got his group doing a Showaddywaddy number! - in a swing style).

As I have not been on the Aebersold course I cannot compare. What I do like is that as the tutors on the JA course were all UK based I can contact them in future with any questions, etc (lots of Emails were given out on the last day and we are now part of an Email circular).
Sounds cool. I have access to all the tutors via email and Mike Tracy has a relation in MK so we agreed we'd get together when (if) he comes over.

Best bit for me was working with Antonio Hart and Greg Fishman and the chance to play live music with such great musicians. To be honest, I was in a beginner group so we didn't do anything that wasn't from the Fake Book they provided (for the combo sessions).

Unfortunately my group consisted mostly of young uns (10 YU boy, x2 14 YO girls, 15 YO boy, 17 YO boy and girl and two older ones - 70+ newbie drummer and 40 something lady on bass guitar. Eclectic bunch!

14 YO Chloe was damn fine on alto though as was the 17 YO girl whose name escapes me.

There was also a guy called Steve Davis on drums. Totally brilliant.
 
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