How did you spend your early jazz education?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [DB]' started by Aaron Saunders, Feb 6, 2005.

  1. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Toss out your answers, and help me with mine!

    Alright...I'm trying to do my best to get out there and play with other musicians. This was actually really, really easy up until last week. I was in this program with 26 other musicians and two professional musicians teaching us -- one of the musicians is a pro jazz musician with a discography and resume longer than I am tall, and one of the other students was an incredibly talented guitarist. The thing is now, the semester is over, I'm back to regular high school, the guitarist is back to his school, and the teacher is back to teaching percussion classes. I have no way of going to any clubs or anything to play with others, the guitarist is exceedingly busy, and the teacher...well, teaches in the only period in which I have a spare.

    There are no other (aspiring) jazz musicians (read: students) in the school who are on my level of theory or technique. There's a classical pianist who's great, but I'm starting stuff like melodic minor harmony and whatnot -- not terribly complicated, but the guy reads sheets, he doesn't improv through changes with any kind of complex harmony -- so basically I have to people. My bass teacher, who I see every monday night for a half hour, or the teacher at school who teaches in the only period in which I have a spare. Now, I do have lunch free, but I'm pretty sure he leaves during lunch to go teach music at Queen's University. He stays on Wednesdays until 4pm for jazz band practice (big band stuff, all arranged.)

    So...what do I do? Do I just work with my teacher and that dude on Wednesdays, or what? There's only so much I can do by myself on bass -- I try on the piano, but I'm the first to admit that I'm not passing any conservatory exams on that any time soon.
  2. anonymous0726

    anonymous0726 Guest

    Nov 4, 2001
    I looked you up on the map. You're kinda in BFE, aintcha?

    Anything happening in Kingston? Maybe every other weekend to Kingston and once every month or two to a relative in Toronto?

    Short of that, why not create your own scene? There have to be some ne'er-do-wells in the music department that want to check out some CD's. Get 'em interested and going...
  3. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002

    Kingston's actually got a pretty good live jazz scene, but there's precious little that someone who's not 19+ can attend (all in clubs and bars) except for one place on Fridays from 5:30-8:30. AFAIK, there aren't any open jams going on and there are 3 REALLY spankin' bassists in the town right now who do almost exclusively jazz (my teacher being among them.)

    There are plenty of musicians interested in's just that the only other person who's serious (eg, actually wants to be a jazz musician) about it is a drummer. We've got a few good horn players (in as much as they have good technicality and can read fairly well) but they practically cry at the suggestion of improvising, and none of them are familiar with even basic chord theory. I'd love to get these guys really into it and stuff, but the best way to learn is to play with musicians who are more advanced than you. Most of these guys can read fully notated circles around me, but there's only one other musician in the school who even improvises to any degree, and he's a guitarist who doesn't even know his major scale modes.

    Toronto isn't entirely viable right now. I go up every couple of months to visit my brother at university, but he doesn't really know much about the jazz scene and the only places he knows of are 19+ places like The Rexx. I've got a musician friend who's going to school in Toronto, but he hangs out on the other side of the city, so...once again, not entirely viable.

    Note: I'm 17, and I look 17. I wouldn't get into any bar or club.
  4. tzadik


    Jan 6, 2005
    Tell the classical pianist to go get a copy of The Jazz Piano Book by Mark Levine and dig in. You need him. :)
  5. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    There's got to be jazz societies, newsletters, etc. in Toronto that would at least point you in the direction of somebody to send a letter or e-mail to asking for contacts.

    Oh and BFE - Bum **** Egypt ie middle of nowhere.

    If it was me, I would grab a bunch of Aebersolds - Bird, Blue Note, Jam Sessions classics, the new Ballads one - the stuff with a bunch of the standard and jam session repertoire on it. Anytime ANYBODY was playing nearby (concerts, colleges etc.)- Kingston, Toronto, where ever - I'd be the first in line and try to get backstage - carry equipment, go get coffee, tell'em where the nearset vegan restaurant is, whatever - and if you can't cop a lesson at least try to play for them or talk to them about where you are and what they think would be good to work on. I would hook up every clinic/camp that I could afford to go to. I would ride the bus for hours to play with cats I could learn from.

    Small towns are hard. You have to make your opportunities where you can. Maybe your teachers would help put together a below minimum age night at one of the jazz clubs. Or an afternoon session. If Kingston has a scene and is nearby, why not hire guys to come play where you are? Check out any city or organizational grant money for arts performances. If there's a local jazz society/scene, they can act as sponsor for performances and having an "educational" aspect (ie clinic type presentation) could open up possibilities for playing with cats coming in.

    College is soon though, right?
  6. godoze


    Oct 21, 2002
    Here is what I did:

    Played Aebersolds
    Played gigs using all transcribed bass lines
    As Ed said, schmooze all you can. I was good at that.

    Once I got in college i took two lessons a week and did a workshop with Walt Namuth and the Peabody Sax Ensemble once a week.
  7. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Oh, I'm sure there are plenty in Toronto, but the thing is, I'm 2 and a half hours away from Toronto. Also, there are still the limitations of being 17 -- parents and school, mainly. My parents are great and supportive (paying for lessons, my fretless, etc.) but they are not going to let me head up to Toronto for a jam session once a month or whatever. I'd love to, and it's a very romantic view on things, but it's just not going to happen.

    I'll definitely look into the Aebersolds. I finally managed to catch my first REAL live jazz trio a few weeks ago (John Geggie, Gordon Webster, and Dawn Bishop) and talked to John (the bassist) for about 10 minutes or so and he gave me his e-mail. I...well, kind of lost it. But he's coming back and performing at the same venue on February 20th, and this time, I'm writing it on my arm, so this time I can't lose it.

    At the Kingston Library, they're doing this thing where they have five concerts spanning January to May where they bring in professional musicians. This is where I saw John, and where I'll be seeing him again. I think it might actually be possible to get together a couple jam sessions there with Kingston musicians...who knows? It'd certainly be awesome to try!

    Clinics around here are precious few, but there are a few camps around here. I've been looking into one called JazzWorks on reccomendation of the jazz drummer I mentioned in my first post, and it seems pretty awesome. I'm definitely looking forward to it, apparently they have a lot of great players there with all sorts of jams and performances and stuff.

    And is soon. I'm staying an extra year because I want to be spankin' on upright before I go. My first choice is Humber College in Toronto, and I'd be good enough to get in tomorrow if I had my jazz and classical pieces prepared. But, there are certain restraints -- money (I have none yet,) upright (I don't own one yet,) and money (I have none yet.) Once I get in Toronto, I'll have have a lot more opportunities, but that's more than a year away.

    I put up an ad for fellow jazz musicians looking to jam tonight at the store where I take my lessons. Tomorrow, I'm putting one up at one of the other stores across town, and if I can, two more at two other stores. I'm also getting my G1 (learner's license) tomorrow, and I'll be able to get my G2 (basically, my regular license) in October so I won't have to rely on my parents to get into Kingston.
  8. jgbass

    jgbass Guest

    Dec 17, 2003
    Another possibility is to post ads on some websites, local papers, music stores, local colleges, and find some players to do jam sessions at someone's home. I went to a jam session with a 17 year old pianist. The sax player hooked up with him at a community college performance class. Good jam sessions can make learning faster and, if you're lucky, you will hook up with players better than you play now.

    With music, you just have to work at getting things going and, depending on the amount of focus and motivation, things will get going no matter where you live or how old you are.
  9. Wow, I can't believe the support given out on this board. I doubt you'd see this anywhere else on the internets. Jim Vivian's email is out there, and you'd be foolish not to use it. Good luck with it all, hopefully things will happen for you sooner rather than later. ;)
  10. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Jason, you are indeed very awesome. A big thanks, and yeah, I'm hopefully getting a job at a local Pizza Hut ;). The first thing I'm saving for is an EUB. I took the school's DB home for the two week exams period...the constant worrying about humidity, babying it around my house, is the soundpost where it's supposed to be, etc. etc. just isn't for me right now. After I finish school at Humber, I'll buy a real DB (they have a bunch you can borrow/use there) but until then I'll be jamming out on EUB at home and the school's DB.
    I'm gonna talk to my dad about that JazzWorks camp tonight on the way to Kingston (getting my G1 tonight, starting driver's ed on Saturday.)
    I've considered going to NY a few times...I'll probably make a go of it, but after Humber. It'd certainly be an experience to tell the grandkids, eh?
    So! Good news. I talked to the vocals teacher (who also plays bass) and the guitar player who teaches biology/gym/business. I'm going to jam with the guitar player dude and do some harmony with both of them, and I'm going to do some stuff with the vocals teacher too. Also, I found out that the teacher that taught the program I was in ISN'T teaching in the period when I have a spare! Very, very exciting. I'm going to talk to him tomorrow about helping me out with some piano and how I can do this harmony stuff on my own as well (on piano.) Also, I'm coming along a lot quicker than I was expecting on DB. Today was the first day in music class (out of 3 so far :p) where I used it, and I found playing and reading is actually far easier with the upright than with my (lined) fretless. Also, my reading's simply much better with the upright.

    Oof! I had to leave after typing that, but I just got back (2 hours later.) I now have my learner's permit, I start driver's ed in two days, and I can have (effectively, I just can't drink at all before driving) my full license by October or November. I won't be making any trips to Toronto by myself probably, but I'll be attending Friday evening jazz at a restaurant in Kingston (5:30-8:30) almost every week! :D

    Thanks a bunch, guys (especially Jason) really are awesome.
  11. Ed Fuqua

    Ed Fuqua

    Dec 13, 1999
    Augusta GA
    Chuck Sher publishes my book, WALKING BASSICS:The Fundamentals of Jazz Bass Playing.
    Read also the COMING TO NEW YORK (or whatever) thread by Robin Ruscio. It's a nice overview.
  12. Aaron Saunders

    Aaron Saunders

    Apr 27, 2002
    Thanks, Ed. That was really very helpful.

    So, I've been looking into this camp -- JazzWorks, here in Ontario. I've seen the bass teacher play before (John Geggie) and he was fantastic. You know those moments when someone takes a solo, and not only does a great job technically, but sounds so completely and entirely inspired, AND forms it all into a fantastic, disctinctive, coherent story? He did that three times in two hours when I saw him. I also had his e-mail but lost it, but a friend of mine is seeing him play in Ottawa, and then I'm seeing him the next day back again in Kingston so I'll get it then. They also added another bassist to the faculty recently -- Kieran Overs. Anyone heard him play? The faculty profile says he studied with NHOP (one of my favourite bassists) and toured with Dizzy, so I'm pretty excited.

    Anyone know of any other Ontario jazz camps, or maybe one specifically aimed at classical? I want to get up on my classical theory, chops, and reading. Not concert band (eg, playing marches) but specifically classical. There's another jazz camp that intrigued me, but it's 8 hours away from the other one and it ends the same day that JazzWorks starts, so I'm not going to that one. JazzWorks is on the 26th, 27th, and 28th, by the by. Any suggestions would be GREAT. Also, workshops in Toronto and whatnot are not out of the question.
  13. arnoldschnitzer

    arnoldschnitzer AES Fine Instruments

    Feb 16, 2002
    New Mexico. USA
    I picked up my kid the other day and he was playing a video game live via internet with a bunch of other players all over the world. They wear headsets and talk trash to each other in real time as they're playing. Why can't somebody hook something like this up for jazzers who want to play tunes but live far apart? The screen could even display charts, provide a basic drum track, record the sessions, etc. Go on line, find somebody to play with, plug in, and play. Somebody told me they saw something similar advertised in Guitar Player for rockers...?
  14. Damon Rondeau

    Damon Rondeau Journeyman Clam Artist Supporting Member

    Nov 19, 2002
    Winnipeg, baby
    I don't have experience with those gaming systems (my little guy is only going on 10 and is still GameBoying and GameCubing) but I imagine that latency has to be a factor in there somehow and to some degree. It may be that for gaming there are ways to handle it but for music wouldn't any kind of delay effect be pretty much intolerable?
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