Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

UK Jazzwise Summer School

Discussion in 'Music Theory [DB]' started by RIKODRIKO, Mar 16, 2006.


  1. RIKODRIKO

    RIKODRIKO

    Mar 1, 2005
    Brighton UK.
    Hi
    This is for all you UK bass players....
    Ive seen some adverts online for the Jazzwise summer school in july and august in Richmond, London. I am giving serious thought to going as im sure it will improve my playing. I am currently going to weekly/Bi weekly lessons with a bass Pro and my progress is pretty good, but slow. I feel that a concentrated effort, full time for a whole week will do me good as im not getting some of the theory stuff and its frustrating me at times.
    My problem is that it will cost me £650 for the week. Plus having to take a week off work. I crapped myself when i saw the cost of the course. This is with a £250 discount as well.
    Can anyone say why this course is so expensive?

    So do you think its worth it? Im trying to justify the cost. Who has been on the course before? If I am attending lessons, surely ill get there but it may take longer?

    Some feedback would be appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Richard
     
  2. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    Theres other courses which are cheaper and still well respected. Glamorgan in South Wales is cheaper and has some great musicians teaching there, although I have to admit the one year I went there I had a disappointing time. But theres 2 or 3 people on here who go regularly and will probably rave about it!
    A bit far away for you but this year I'm going to a rhythm section only week long course in Burnley run by Steve Berry (a great bassist, ex-Loose Tubes, Mike Westbrook band etc) with Mike Outram, Les Chisnall and Dave Walsh. Thats only £130ish (doesn't include accomodation).
    I think the jazzwise/aebersold one is so expensive because about 50% of the tutors have come over from america, plus the expense of hiring a venue in London.
    Guildhall College of Music run a jazz summer school as well, again run by great players. Don't know what that costs.
    But I do reccomend these courses generally, at the level you sound like you're probably at a week of playing with other people all day every day can be a great help, and you'd be studying with great musicians at any of the above courses.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I go to the Jazz Summerschool at the University of Glamorgan and two other TB members have come along on in the last two years - Howard K and Olie Brice.

    This is half the price of the Jazzwise one £270 and you can get good accommodation at £100 for the week! :)

    I've talked to people who have been to both and they say the JW one is more schoolroom theory - whereas the Glamorgan one is more about playing and practical stuff.

    So at Glamorgan, there is a Jazz Club every night of the week , where students and tutors play for a large audience - whereas the JW on has just one concert at the end of the week.

    I've been 7 times and had some great tutors - Martin Speake,Stan Sulzmann, John Paricelli, Jason Yarde, Julian Siegel etc. etc. Bobby Wellins is also a regular and the course is run by Sinmon Purcell who teaches on the GuildHall Jazz course in London and Dave Wickens.
     
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Olie!! I didn't realise you were disappointed :eek: - tell me more - what was wrong? I remember you telling me how much you liked Martin Speake's presentation....?

    I don't mean to pressure you or anything I am genuinely interested in an unbiased perspective, as you can tell, I'm a fan...;)
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    As a PS - I saw one of the Glamorgan tutors - Dudley Phillips, leading his own quartet at the the Brighton Jazz club last Friday!!

    Some really interesting tunes (11/8, 7/4 grooves etc ) and great bass playing from Dudley - on 6-string electric and DB - even bowed!! :)
     
  6. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I do to a weekly ensemble at Richmond Adult Community College - where the jazzwise course takes place. The guy who runs the music dept there, Dave Jones, also plays a big part in the jazzwise course. He's a fantastic musician and an AWESOME bass player. I'm sure it's an excellent course.

    That said, it is expensive. Glamorgan, by contrast, is much cheaper (about £350 for the week inc. accomodation) and the quality of teaching will be equally good.

    I'm of the opinion it is more about just being immersed in music for a week, playing all day, listening all night. The past two years I've been I've had Oren Marshall (tuba) and Simon Thorpe (bass) as tutors, I learnt a great deal and got a great deal more inspiration. I'm already booked up for this year :)
     
  7. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Oh, and with regards to theory, from my experience, these courses aren't really about the theory they're about performance more than anything.. which is infinitely important of course.
     
  8. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - you pays your money and takes your choice! ;)

    I like Glamorgan, as it is fun and about all the fun aspects - like playing with other people, socialising with like-minded individuals, hearing some great music etc. etc.

    I can see that some people might want a more serious approach and may have different needs.

    I'd love to meet and talk to some of the US-based musicians on the JazzWise course - but I'm not sure they have that much more to teach me than the "best of British" and I'm not sure I want to pay that much for the privilege, either!! ;)

    PS - I just booked up again - see you there, Howard! :)
     
  9. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    Personally, at my level of musicianship and development, the teachers I'm lucky enough to have studied with, and am studying with at Richmond, are more than experienced and skilled enough to teach me. Not suggesting you think otherwise, I'm sure you feel exactly the same about Glamorgan :)

    IMO, great teaching is about the approach more than anything. It's about the teacher sharing their appreciation of the language in a way that you can understand, helping you develop your musicality. I also find that the more I learn, the more well-placed advice from a great teacher helps me... I've experienced this in abundance at Glamorgan and at Richmond, and I'm sure I'll benefit equally this year
     
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I agree 100% - we have some great Jazz musicians in Britain and I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with some of them!

    I just meant that I'd be interested to meet some of the US-based musicians - but not enough to pay out that much money - and anyway I've seen some at Jazz gigs - even talked to a few!! :)
     
  11. RIKODRIKO

    RIKODRIKO

    Mar 1, 2005
    Brighton UK.
    Ok thanks gents. great info. Im not sure ill be going to the jazzwise one due to the cost, but the glamorgan one seems interesting... so i might register and see you all there (50/50 at the mo').
    One question... do you all have day jobs??????????? Im not sure i like the idea of taking a week off work to go back to school. Id rather go surfing somewhere sunny! :) ... but its the price i might pay to become a better bass player.
     
  12. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes - I have a day-job and I book a week's holiday and it is always the best holiday of the year!! :)

    It's not really like school - maybe a bit like University...?

    So there's no sitting at desks in classrooms - it's about playing with other people, listening and "socialising".

    So really the course eventually ends up focusing on the nightly "Jazz Club" which runs from about 8.00 PM to beyond midnight! It's held in the student union bar (lots of drinking ) on the campus and as nearly everybody stays on site and there are about 120 students as well as 15 - 20 tutors - there is always a fair-sized audience for you to play in front of.

    I think your experience depends on how much you like this - so having been a few times, I know a lot of people who go and so it's like meeting up with old friends, having a few drinks - listening to some great music - and playing!! :)

    It may be a bit daunting for the first-timer - especially if you don't pace yourself!! ;)

    During the day - you are put into a small(ish) band with a tutor who is a Jazz pro for most of the days - working on some tunes to play in the Jazz club...

    This is both the strength and weakness of the course...:meh:

    Get a tutor and band that inspires you and it's great....if you don't get on with either, you can find it frustrating ...?

    But you can go and find other like-minded people, get together and put on your own stuff - I've done this each year - again difficult if you don't know people?

    There are other sessions during the week - instrumental groups, jam sessions every night between about 5 and 8 etc. etc.
     
  13. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    ...and the beer is cheap!
     
  14. Hey - I'll chip in and say essentially it depends what you want to do and what level you are at in jazz. I'm biased and will admit I work for Jazzwise so perhaps I shouldn't even comment - but I will say that while the JW course is expensive you will get your money's worth - and while there is a fair bit of theory (one class a day) you do get to play for about 4 hours a day - and this includes a master class with a top player of your chosen instrument. I've been on the course twice and played a sh!t load over the week - and I was in the advanced theory class which was absolutely amazing - trumpeter Pat Harbison was our tutor and a fantastic man to learn from.

    I've heard excellent things about Glamorgan - the guitarist in my band goes there and loves it - but he does say it's more experimental and he ended up playing a lot of bass instead of guitar. And another friend did the Guidhall week and said it was also good - I'm not sure why the JW is so pricey - I've been lucky to get a discount - but I would say I really enjoyed the course and it definitely gives you loads of stuff to work on - I had made massive improvements between the two times I did it - mainly instigated by the first time I went and then consolidated on my return visit.

    I really love that course - but there are definitely quality alternatives.

    Hope that helps

    Mike
     
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This does sounds like the main difference - so there's not really any formal theory at Glamorgan, although the tutors will chip in bits and pieces, in the context of the tune you're working on.

    Yes - I think it's very much what you make of it - so it emerged out of a British "Free" tradition, where people didn't like being told what to do... ;) - so there is definitely a feeling of the concept that there is no right or wrong way to do things and of trying to let people make what they will of the week - although it has settled into a pattern now, as people kept asking for more direction...:p

    When I first went it was less structured - but they still have lots of optional parts...

    It has also got a bit less experimental in my opinion - so some of the first times I went, they had a lot of things like : fusions with world music, reggae and electronics/sampling etc. - there were Santana- like bands with Hammond Organ and I remember hearing "In A Silent Way " as it might have been done by Hendrix!! ;)

    But the last two years have been more about straight-ahead Jazz.
     
  16. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    So will you be taking the steam bass this year Bruce?
     
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member


    Errrr...not sure - it would have been totally destroyed in the car accident I had last year :(...and it's so hard to move about with....I'll see how I feel nearer the time? If my technique has improved sufficiently, I might be tempted..:p
     
  18. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I'll be taking mine, with electric as well of course. I cant play it for toffee but that's the point I guess, to get some hours in!
     
  19. oliebrice

    oliebrice

    Apr 7, 2003
    London, UK
    Thats exactly why I had a disappointing time at Glamorgan, and it is quite an expensive risk you're taking. I'm sure if I had been in a more advanced group I would be more positive about it, but I ws with a group of people who'd been playing for years and had no aspirations to be pros or even semi pros, just wanted a fun week of jamming, , and a tutor who although a great musician and really nice bloke was too 'laid-back' for my tastes. Plus a very incommunicative drummer!

    I really enjoyed some aspects of it, and I'm sure if I'd been in, for example, Martin Speake's group or Chris batchelor's group I would have found it a really inspiring week.
     
  20. Howard K

    Howard K

    Feb 14, 2002
    UK
    I've been in beginner groups both times I went, I did find it frustrating at times on both weeks because while I'm new to jazz, I've been playing for 15 years. So I play a lot of music with a lot of different people, whereas it was clear that some of the people in the class hadnt had the same experience, perhaps they could read well, but they hadnt 'played in a band' so some of them they werent' as adept at actually making music.

    Of course I still learnt a great deal. Oren Marshall spent the best part of the week on fundamental music skills and excercises, clapping rhythms, singing, all sorts of stuff which was great, and the second time I learnt a lot from Simon Thorpe just by playing, listening, being there.

    The difficulty I had this year on the self-assessment is that I'd rather in be in a class that will challenge me, but I dont want to be the weak link who holds the group back. I'll just have to wait and see what happens I guess! I'm just look forward to playing for a whole week :)