Tuscany International Jazz Summer School
Certaldo, Italy, 10–19 August 2008
Mon 11 August
Arrival and welcome
Evening Concert followed by Jam Session
Tue 12 - Mon 18 August (except Friday 15 August)
1000 - 1140 morning workshops
The first session will feature a different combination of activities every day: expect regular workshops on Pulse, Alexander Technique, and Vocal/Body warm-up, along with sessions on World Music Ear Training, Samba and Understanding Latin Music.
1200 instrumental and vocal classes
1330 - 1430 lunch
1530 instrumental and vocal classes and individual tuition
Concerts in the evening are followed by a jam session every night.
Friday 15 August is a free day for all course participants.
Tuesday 19 August is check out and departure.
Every GMF workshop features outstanding musicians who are also great communicators. Under their guidance, participants gain valuable insights and playing experience, rehearsing together towards a concert. There are classes in the various musical disciplines such as instrumental technique, harmony, ensemble playing and improvisation, and, as well as teaching individually and in groups, the tutors give performances themselves.
This year the Tuscany International Summer School and Jazz Festival will bring together tutors and students participating in vocal, percussion and other instrumental courses in a single learning community. As the percussionists train and learn the various different calls and rhythms, singers on the vocal course will learn some of the traditional songs as performed at the carnivals of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. On the last day of the course there will be an open air public performance during which we will bring the joy and the spirit of carnival to Certaldo. Every night at the jam sessions there will be opportunities to play Samba Cançao in a small group setting.
At the beginning of each day, students on all the courses come together to participate in a unique sequence of activities which collectively stimulate self-awareness and enhance creativity.
Alexander Technique - by Val Keogh
Many performing artists find the Technique an invaluable way of fine-tuning their posture and movement. These introductory classes concentrate on the relationship of the head and neck to the rest of the body. The physical and mental exercises help promote a sense of rediscovery and ease in day-to-day activities, and especially in music-making.
Pulse Training - by Stephen Keogh
Pulse lies at the heart of music, and developing one's own inner pulse is the goal of these sessions. The work fosters awareness – of the pulse, of silence, of the other members of the group. This workshop is hugely beneficial to musicians of every kind.
World Music Ear Training - by Greg Burk
Musical traditions from around the world provide the material for this workshop. Participants learn to connect the voice to the body, singing melodies and rhythms while playing patterns with the hands – and feet! In a group, the layering of parts energizes each musician bringing about greater awareness in collective music making.
After the morning sessions, instrumentalists and vocalists divide into separate course streams for the remainder of the day (12.30 - 18.30).
Notes on the vocalists' course
The course for singers this year at Certaldo will focus on working as a large group. Various aspects of the singer's craft will be covered in classes that range from the study of song-form and lyric writing to issues of time and feel. There will be help with finding repertoire and guidance on working with the text in performance. Over the week the students will also gain skills in chart preparation (including transposition) and how to connect with the rhythm section.
Whilst there will be some opportunity for singers to work on repertoire through the song class and a chance for them to sing individual songs in the evening, a strong component of this course will be the work done as a vocal group. In the course choir students will be working on a wide range of repertoire, including Gospel, South African, Brazilian and Folk music. In addition there will be an opportunity to sing some unique choral arrangements of music by Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Towner and James Taylor.
This course is ideal for those singers who are serious about improving their skills. Sight-reading is certainly not a pre-requisite (much of the choir music will be taught by ear) and likewise, an understanding of music theory, whilst useful, is not a requirement for coming on the course. It is more important to come with an open mind, a love of jazz and a desire to improve.
Throughout the week each singer will also have a chance to work on their piano skills with Nikki Iles in a one-to-one session. This is a 'supportive study' for each student to give them an opportunity to review what they have gathered from the course and to devise appropriate ways of practising their skills.
Tina's special involvement in this year's course will focus on 1 to 1 lessons. We will require advance booking for this as, based on past experience, we expect that demand will be high. There is no extra charge for this. Tinas first session will be for all the vocalists after which she will have her own room where vocalists can visit her for a 30 minute 1 to 1 session.
Some additional details regarding the vocalists' course timetable:
- The ensemble session before lunch (1200 - 1330) will be dedicated to group singing led by both Pete Churchill and Guillermo Rozenthuler. Each day we will feature a different genre of choral music - some taught by ear and some from notation and the focus will be on the appropriate learning process for the music in question. For some this session will also serve as a master-class in vocal arranging.
Group singing is an important part of the day. Learning to blend as an ensemble raises important issues of time and feel not to mention aspects of intonation and diction. It is hoped that as well as serving to foster a feeling of community amongst the participants each singer can also take what they learn from this session and apply it to their individual song performances.
- The skills session (1430 - 1600) will cover different aspects of the singer's craft. There will be a strong focus on the ‘song’ itself and through analysis we will gain a greater appreciation of the available repertoire. With a greater understanding of the ‘song’ - especially the text - singers can, if they so wish, progress to writing their own lyrics to existing instrumentals.
In this session we will also learn where to look for the best songs and how best to prepare them for the rhythm section. This ‘skills’ session is all about becoming more self-sufficient.
- The song masterclass (1630 - 1830) offers the chance for all singers to take what they have learned from the Ensemble and Skills classes and to apply this to their individual performance. In a ‘Master-class’ situation each singer will work with an expert accompanist (Nikki Iles and Pete Churchill on piano and/or Guillermo Rozenthuler on guitar) to prepare repertoire for the evening ‘jam-session’.
It is in this session that we have the opportunity to deal with the practicalities of working with the rhythm-section including count-ins, intros and endings. Also there is a chance here to focus on the text, to talk about believability and how to connect with your material in performance.
Evening concerts at the end of each day are followed by nightly jam sessions which provide opportunities to listen and play with others. The week culminates with a final public concert in which students and teachers participate.
Disclaimer: Global Music Foundation exists solely to promote understanding of music and the arts. Any personal views which may be expressed by individual tutors or students at GMF events do not necessarily represent those of the Global Music Foundation or its directors.