Vermont Jazz Center Launches 2020 Education Season October 12

Mike Lawson • News • October 7, 2020

During the week of October 12, the Vermont Jazz Center (VJC) will launch its 2020 educational season. This fall’s new offerings make good use of the Jazz Center’s summer faculty – instructors can now Zoom in from afar to reach students from all around the world.

VJC’s expanded educational programs includes online options. as well as onsite opportunities for local participants in accordance with local and safety guidelines.

New online classes include a “Rhythm Lab” with Brian Shankar Adler, “Ear Training and Theory” with Michael Zsoldos, “Good Bass Practice” with David Picchi, “Singing the Standards” with Jay Clayton, “Jazz History” with Haneef Nelson, and a monthly “Zoom Tunes Jam” with Franz Robert, Malik McLaurine and Ben Barnett.

For those who live in the Brattleboro area, VJC is once again hosting a few onsite ensembles at their Cotton Mill venue. These weekly musical forays will be held carefully and responsibly – all participants will wear masks and follow distancing rules laid out on the Vermont Department of Health’s website. Protocols and ideas for how to safely run collaborative music ensembles were put into practice after discussions with administrators of other music school programs while making reference to the Colorado State University Aerosol Emissions Study.

This semester the VJC will sadly forgo the participation of vocalists and wind instrumentalists during onsite ensembles. The following ensembles will hold live classes with stringed and percussion instruments only (piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, violin, cello, viola, vibes, etc.): Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Blue Note Ensemble, the Guitar Ensemble, and the Samba Percussion Ensemble. The Soubrette Jazz Choir will take place completely online.

Because indoor jam sessions with horn players and vocalists are unfeasible at this time, the Jazz Center will utilize Zoom Tunes, an online version of a jam session that is as inclusive as possible. The format was devised and is run by VJC’s junior faculty. Zoom Tunes will take place on the last Sunday of each month. For each session, participants will individually play a “tune of the month” using an inexpensive app (iReal Pro) as a source of accompaniment. Each participant will play their own version of the given tune and will receive guidance and support from the other attendees and Zoom Tunes coaches. Singers are more than welcome and are encouraged to use iReal Pro’s “transpose” feature to adjust the song’s key to suit their vocal range. Backing tracks, lyrics and sheet music will be found on the Jazz Center’s Zoom Tunes page. Upcoming songs of the month include Duke Jordan’s “Jordu” on October 25 and Stanley Turrentine’s “Sugar” on November 29.

The fee for the semester for online classes is either $250 or $200, depending on the class, and $200 for in-person offerings except Samba and Youth Jazz which are $100 and Zoom Tunes ($15 per session). To register, contact Ginger Morawski at [email protected]; scholarship funds are available.


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