Milton Advanced Jazz Travels to Kentucky
by The Milton Measure on Friday, January 13th, 2012
On Thursday, January 5th, the 22 members of advanced jazz at Milton Academy joined 3,000 other musicians at the annual Jazz Education Network (JEN) conference in Louisville, Kentucky where they attended daily clinics and performances as well as performed a musical tribute to the pioneers of formal jazz education, now known as the leJENds of jazz education: Jamey Abersold, David Baker, Jerry Coker, and Dan Haerle.
Milton’s jazz program provides the opportunity for student musicians to travel and gain educational experience by viewing and performing jazz on a national and international level. Milton’s jazz combo has previously appeared at conferences in various places such as Atlanta, Anaheim, Washington, New York, Boston, and St. Louis.
JEN was founded after the International Association for Jazz Education, a major jazz educational organization, fell apart as a result of bankruptcy. The JEN began extremely small with 37 members and little impact and has grown tremendously to 1,000 international members enriching the musical experiences of jazz artists all over the globe.
This year’s conference theme, ‘Developing New Jazz Audiences Today!’ and the JEN mission statement, ‘To build the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences’ explain how the JEN has played a major role in promoting jazz enthusiasm of beginning students building upon fundamental skills to aged professionals.
With large attendance from all over the country united by a common passion, the JEN conference provided numerous opportunities to enhance the skills of musicians by listening to and meeting inspirational jazz musicians. Among these amazing musicians, Milton was the only non performing-arts high school invited to perform at the conference.
Days beginning at 8:00am and ending 1:00am were filled with over 60 workshops, 90 concerts by famous musicians–including national recording artists such as Jamey Abersold, David Baker and Kevin Mahogany–virtual sessions, documentary videos, research presentations, panels and professional seminars.
The lineup included performances throughout the day, formal 11:30 pm concerts each evening by professional groups, and student jam sessions. Clinics and panel discussions throughout the day were directed by jazz notables and included guidance on subjects such as improvisation, ensemble direction, rhythm, song writing, practicing methods, and jazz history.
While the vast selection of activities may seem overwhelming, Mr. Sinicrope explains, “This conference affords our students unique educational opportunities with far greater depth and breadth they could receive in our Milton classroom. The students are required to attend multiple events each day.”
Matt Chen (I) emphasized the importance of these events: “The seminars during the day allow us to further investigate personal styles of jazz to compliment daily teachings of Mr. Sinicrope.”
Neil Chandra, (III) a member of advanced jazz at Milton Academy commented on the benefits of the conference by saying, “The jazz program’s trip to Louisville is a great opportunity for students to taste new flavors of music and pay tribute to the veteran educators in the jazz realm.”
By attending the Louisville, Kentucky conference, Milton Academy advanced jazz students were able to experience the benefits of such an enriching program and to enhance their musical styles in the Milton community.
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