It is the most challenging music to master because the excellent jazz musician needs to have an abundance of high-level music technique: an expressive and flexible sound; very solid rhythm and swing; a thorough grasp of harmony and melody; great ears; strong instrumental facility; robust improvisational skills; compositional expertise and proficiency at executing a variety of jazz sub-styles. That said, jazz is great for younger practitioners because it also inspires creativity, teamwork, leadership, cultural awareness, discipline, listening, empathy and emotional expression. Most importantly, it’s really fun to play once the basics are learned. Having mastery of all these elements allows the jazz practitioner to function effectively in pretty much any musical situation, but it also can make him or her a better, stronger, more successful person. That makes jazz the best music to study.
Summer is a great time to learn more about jazz music, especially for young people. All music study requires periods of immersion - several hours per day of focused practice - which is much more possible when school’s out. A wonderful venue for summer jazz music education is the jazz camp. Jazz camps allow immersion in this great music for a week at a time, typically and some programs run for five weeks or more. Campers spend extended time with like-minded fellow musicians and are usually taught by a faculty of professional jazz players.
I attended my first jazz camp (The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Camp) when I was 14 years old and it changed my life...
CONTINUE READING MR. BRADEN'S ARTICLE HERE.
Full article appears in the August 2013 issue of the NYC Jazz Record which you can download here.
Photo of Don Braden performing at Litchfield Jazz Camp this summer (which did not appear in the article) is by Dale Rothenberg.