"Chepaitis is a national treasure who has yet to be recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, because a category encompassing the gonzo, musically omniverous brilliance, and beatific, introspective sensitivity of the man has yet to be invented." -Kitty Montgomery

Workshops: OverView

How it works

The art of improvisation in music depends on a direct connection between the player's inner ear (the inner musical self) and the arms, hands, and breath which make the sounds. This connection must be so direct that it functions without being filtered through an intellectual thought process.

My workshops in improvisation are structured to help jump start this process. The intellectual part, while important, can develop a little later.

The workshops start with the whole group learning a musical framework (or "Tune") in fragments by rote. The fragments are then put together in a specific order to create the overall form, which will become the structure for the improvisations as well.

By the time the students have mastered the "tune", they will have an inner understanding of its form and also some harmonic knowledge about it, based on the notes they are playing in each fragment. They will also have gotten their eyes away from the page and opened their ears instead.

Now they can begin the process of recycling this same form through group and individual improvisation.

The students will then learn how to play improvisations on each part of the form of their tune. They will learn how to create a swinging feel with a bow. They will learn how to phrase and converse with other musicians in call and response. They will learn how to connect fragments and phrases into longer improvisations. 

What to bring

These are completely "hands on" workshops, so instruments will be out and played most of the time. While I do not recommend bringing notebooks to write stuff down, some sort of recording device would be helpful to capture the basic accompanying frameworks. Students can then practice with them later.

What to expect

Expect to have fun, do lots of playing and listening, and come away with a much better sense of who you are as a musician and how you can express yourself through your playing. Expect to learn about the social and cultural history of the music we call Jazz, and learn how you can participate in it.