Jazz Education Concert/Master Classes: July 2013, New Comments!

During the 2013 NCJF weekend, for the seventh year, we continued our practice of bringing some of our all-star musicians to Roland Grise Middle School for a concert/workshop on Friday afternoon.  David Boeddinghaus, Kerry Lewis, Dan Levinson, Kevin Dorn, Jonathan Russell and  David Sager joined Ed Polcer for this event.  We had an audience of over four hundred 6th, 7th & 8th graders, these youngsters will be the jazz musicians and audiences of the future!

The Trumpet MCLater Friday afternoon we hosted four workshops/master classes for local music students given by:  Bucky Pizzarelli – guitar; Jonathan Russell – violin; Bria Skonberg – trumpet; and Adrian Cunningham – woodwinds. More than 60 young musicians took advantage of these free opportunities to learn from the “jazz pros”.

 The master class students were invited to attend the Friday night performance, thanks to the generosity of Linda Chandler, Donna & Richard Schmetterer, Barbara Hinkson, & David Merkle, Valerie Lingo of JAMAICA COMFORT ZONE, GENKI SUSHA & JAPANESE RESTAURANT, and SZECHUAN 132, who provided the funding for their tickets. 

July 2013 Comments


Galen Hunsucker

Thank you for allowing me to bring students to the Bucky Pizzarelli Master Class for the third year.  As a full time professional guitarist and music educator for over 30 years and someone who has conducted numerous clinics myself, I know a good master class when I hear one.

What you are doing, providing this class, is truly a gift.  A gift to each guitarist attending, as well as contributing to the community as a whole.

Each student who I have brought to this has conveyed to me that they not only have they learned a lot, but more importantly, were greatly inspired.  To me, when someone can inspire young people to be better and work on their craft as he has, well that is PRICELESS, and life affirming, possibly life changing!  Thank you – Galen Hunsucker

Comments:  We keep getting comments from students and teachers alike. Here are some new one’s for our May 2013 update!

The master Classes run by the North Carolina Jazz Festival were a tremendous success for my students at NewHanoverHigh School.  Students were exposed to some tremendous ideas by the clinicians, from a traditional blues scale improv to the many thought processes that go into playing an instrument. Students were invigorated to try these ideas once we returned to school and they are much less intimidated by the thought of improving. Many kudos to the NCJF for providing this extra service to the students in the Cape Fear Region.Tim McCoy –

 I really learned how not to fear playing improv and just letting go.Rachel McCoy, Trumpet.

Playing in the master class helped me to gain a better understanding of the blues scale and how to use it as i improve.Tristan Burns

Violin Master ClassThis was the second time that I have attended Jazz Workshops offered by the North Carolina Jazz Festival for young violinists with Jonathan Russell.  I was especially pleased this year because the Hilton provided more rooms for the classes and therefore the violin students had the whole time with Jonathan.  I also witness the growth of Jonathan as a teacher.  He was wonderful because he knew what they would want to play and improvise upon. Their favorite was “Master of the House” from “Les Miserable’s”. 

There were a few students who were too shy to improvise in the beginning, but without pushing, at the end even the student who openly expressed herself as having a disease called “FEAR” was doing it solo! I really feel that because he is so close to their age, they loved him and he understood them.  I also believe that all of my students are now following him on YouTube.  I am now implementing jazz rhythms into the classical repertoire that they are working on and it has brought a lot of enjoyment into their learning and has also expanded my teaching skills.  Thank you for giving us
this wonderful opportunity.

Lorraine Westermark
Director: Suzuki Talent Education of Wilmington and Saint Mary School
Suzuki Violin Program

Saxophone Master ClassI had a great time at the NCJF annual jazz master class.  I am a saxophone player that has been playing since 6th grade.  I have never learned so much about my instrument and music!  I learned from a true professional point of view.  He made me comfortable and told me a few techniques in perfecting my music.  I can breathe properly and I learned how to hold out a note for almost forever (circular breathing).  It was extremely tough, but I learned a lot about it.  I enjoyed the master class and I hope that I can do this again.
Philip Njapa -  age 14

The positives of this event were that when we were playing a steady beat, and each person had to play a solo, I felt the rhythm.  That helped me build confidence into my solo that I made up/improvised, which not only sounded good, but sounded jazzy in the right tone. 

The negatives were that everyone was 3 steps ahead of me, because  they’re in high school and I’m in middle school, which makes it impossible to catch up with the rest of the group.  I needed a little bit more training at “my level” before I can join anybody else.  If it was easy everyone would be doing it, young kids learn from special professionals and play difficult songs that are not easy, but that’s what makes it a fun task ahead of you, and a goal to reach.
Kenneth Njapa – age 12 – clarinetist