I have just finished a fantastic three day course with Julian Joseph Jazz Academy (JJJA) at Trinity Laban. This was a much smaller course than the summer school I took part in with Kinetika Bloco and was a jazz course rather than samba. A wide range of instruments took part and I was surprised to see that there were violin players there aswell as I have never considered them as jazz instruments but I guess they were jazzy instruments in this case. Something that also surprised me was that the most common instruments there turned out to be trumpets/saxophones!

I am there somewhere - I'm the small trumpeter.
I am there somewhere – I’m the small trumpeter.

This week, I was one of two trumpets in a group along with an alto sax, double bass, electric guitar, two drummers (who took it in turns to play) and a pianist. Our two leaders were Lily and Steve. All the tunes were learnt and performed by ear, which is something I have done a bit of at Saturday jazz band but Steve had a different approach to it; he played a short phrase which we echoed – I found this easier than hearing a whole piece played through. There was a strong focus on improvisation and we were expected to know which notes to play based on the appropriate blues scale for that piece. The group leaders were fantastically supportive and encouraging throughout the three days, helping when there was a tricky rhythm, a complicated transposition etc.On the final day, all four groups performed to parents and friends.

Top tips

  1. In jazz, it’s particularly important to listen; ears must be alert at all times.
  2. To picture the scale in my head and to hum the note I want to play before playing it.
  3. Just have a go!

I’ve enjoyed the three days and definitely think it has helped improve my confidence with improvisation. I’d recommend it to others who are interested in playing jazz.

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6 thoughts on “

  1. Wow! You’re getting such an amazing variety of experiences this summer. How brilliant to actually learn how to improvise and play by ear – such a useful skill and something so many of us (me included) can’t do and are too scared to try!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for sharing your amazing experience.

    Improvising music and play by ear must be quite difficult and you succeeded, well done.

    Hope you will enjoy your future in music.

    Liked by 1 person

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