Earlier this month a group of classically-trained adult musicians came together to launch the Game Symphony Workshop. The program is designed to unlock and unblock creativity, ease fears, build community, and generate new music.
The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony (which is on sale until Friday, June 15th on Amazon).
The bridge of George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” is a chain of dominant chords that moves around the circle of fifths:
I had an exhilarating and inspiring weekend with thirteen musicians for the maiden voyage of the Game Symphony Workshop!
The event brought together a diverse group of musicians, including professional orchestral players, band directors, university students, and amateur musicians. The two day workshop at Seattle Pacific University culminated with the premiere of sixteen original pieces. The performance featured an improvised film score, abstract soundscapes, meditative minimalism, musical settings for poetry, solo improvisations, and Soundpainting, a sign language for live composition.
I’m fascinated with how artists reconcile creating art with earning a living. Being a starving artist isn’t inevitable, but being passionate and skilled doesn’t entitle us to earn a living. The saying “do what you love and the money will follow” just doesn’t cut it!
A reader sent me a thoughtful series of questions:
I’ve been reading through The Living Jazz Tradition and thinking about what you and many jazz educators write about: the importance of being able to play what you hear. I understand that in terms of playing jazz heads, simple melodies, tunes etc…. But I was listening to this interview with Lee Konitz and he raises a good point that the interviewer in turn seems to struggle with the answer:
As players and teachers, many of us obsess over what to practice, how to practice, and how many hours to practice. This often puts the cart in front of the horse.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Jason James
I want to share a writing exercise from composer, pianist, and author W.A. Mathieu. If you feel overwhelmed or frustrated with trying to measure success by someone else’s model, this prompt will help you define a personal musical vision.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/alexanderward12
The Playing Changes series presents and expands on concepts from my book, The Living Jazz Tradition: A Creative Guide to Improvisation and Harmony published by CMA Press.
Hearing, internalizing, and improvising over secondary dominant harmony is essential for playing jazz repertoire from the 1920s through the 1950s.
The mindset for creating a body of original work is simple, yet enormously challenging.
Photo courtesy of Flickr/Florence Ivy
No shows booked at the moment.