JSL exist to promote and develop jazz in the UK.
In their association with the NMC in this scheme,
they look for evidence of commitment to jazz education within education
authorities’ and music services’ provision for school
pupils and students, whether in or out of school, and for community
education and adult continuing education. Singled out for honourable
mentions this year are Bolton, Caerphilly, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Lambeth,
Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire and Tower Hamlets. Details of the diploma
awards are set out below.
Devon LEA have two youth jazz orchestras (DYJO 1
and 2) and an improvisation group tutored by three professional jazz
musicians two of whom have teaching qualifications. The groups meet
regularly with at least six public performance opportunities over
a September – March season. Big band links have been made with
Plymouth, Hampshire and Staffordshire.
General and specific schemes of work are prepared for each ensemble
over the season. A specific improvisation course was designed and
implemented by two tutors. Material for the senior DYJO orchestra
has a more challenging repertoire that demonstrates how integral jazz
improvisation is to the idiom; and, importantly, encourages musical
empathy, support and interaction between instrumentalists rather than
an exclusive pursuit of technical skills.
Soweto Kinch undertook a tour of six schools which involved 180 secondary
school participants and concerts for 450 primary school pupils. The
tour included INSET for able players and music educators across the
county. The music services work with the highly successful gospel
choir, referred to in the NMC major award citation, complemented many
of the core areas of jazz teaching.
The importance of students having opportunities to see and hear live
jazz is taken seriously; trips to jazz festivals and live gigs are
arranged and the two youth jazz orchestras also perform in school “local
learning communities” as a standard part of their season’s
programme both to cascade skills and inspire the young people.
Original works for performance by DYJOs 1& 2 have been provided
by Dave O’Higgins and Steve Waterman and further works by local
composers have been commissioned.
JSL applaud Devon’s commitment through a thoughtful,
developmental approach to jazz education which has within it the
promise of even better things to come.
Planning to create a new base for the development and encouragement
of jazz in education in the South of England came to fruition in 2006/07
with the launch of a jazz centre of excellence. This is an association
between Southampton and
the Turner Sims Concert Hall of the University of Southampton. (One
of many successful outcomes of past collaborations between Turner
Sims and the music service was the creation of the Southampton Youth
Jazz Orchestra (SYJO)).
What makes this initiative so exciting is that it came about
as a result of increasing demand from young musicians in Southampton.
There are several strands to the work of the Centre. The first task
was to launch a new style of jazz ensemble, sufficiently flexible
to cater for a range of needs and styles and able to fit into a pyramid
structure. It was called the Jazz Workshop,
a medium sized ensemble providing young musicians with little or no
experience of playing jazz the chance to learn the basics in an enjoyable
environment. The emphasis is on developing key skills such as group
interaction, swing feel and improvisation. The workshop feeds directly
into SYJO, which has the standard big band line-up playing contemporary
jazz with a focus on UK and other European composers. SYJO works regularly
with leading UK musicians, such as Julian Joseph, Denys Baptiste,
Andy Sheppard, Guy Barker and Tim Garland.
Secondly, through educational workshops and master
classes, and key to developing young musicians’ understanding
and appreciation of jazz, is the chance for them to meet and learn
from professionals face to face. For example:
- regular workshops with professionals
providing insights as to how players approach improvisation and playing generally.
As well as Centre members, students from local schools and colleges have opportunity
to participate. The aim is as much to inspire and enthuse young musicians to
listen as it is to teach them to play;
- master classes for those with
great potential or proven ability are also on offer.
Thirdly, under career development, during
this current year, the Centre is running seminars and talks featuring
professional artists and those involved in the business side into
how the jazz music world works from the perspective of the artist,
the record company, the management, the media and education.
Fourthly, the available resources, which include
all the Turner Sims’ facilities, are being developed. Thus,
a library of jazz and improvised music is being built up and leading
jazz composers are being commissioned to write specifically for Centre
ensembles. And, of equal importance, the Centre is actively encouraging
young musicians to write their own works, the pick of which will be
played by the main ensembles. And, finally, the Centre’s participants
gain access to most high profile jazz concerts at Turner Sims Concert
Hall by means of significantly reduced prices.
It seems to JSL that the high quality and promise of this
felicitous partnership speaks for itself!