Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thomas Mullins Accepted into A-JAM Program for 2014/2015!

A-JAM auditions were held last week. And--drumroll please--trombonist Thomas Mullins was accepted into the program for 2014/2015. He was accepted as a trombonist, but is also a competent classical guitarist. His home campus is Northwest Vista College, but he also studies trombone performance with Dr. Armin Marmolejo at Palo Alto College.

Thomas Mullins' debut performance as an A-JAM member will be next Monday 12/1 at 11 AM in Recital Hall 107 of the Palmetto Center for the Arts at Northwest Vista College. The performance is part of an end-of-year student recital. Dr. Aaron Prado, a new full-time teaching fellow in music at Vista, will accompany Thomas on piano. They will perform two jazz selections ("Blue Bossa" by Kenny Dorham [1963] and "If I Should Lose You" by Ralph Rainer and Leo Robin [1936]). 

Join us as we congratulate Thomas, welcome him into the A-JAM family, and wish him a fruitful and exciting year! 

Since its inception, A-JAM has worked to enable an outstanding Alamo College student and a member of our distinguished applied faculty in jazz to participate in a prestigious annual international jazz meeting, to be held this year in Lisbon, Portugal.

The intercollegiate intercultural A-JAM program is open--by audition--to students from any of San Antonio's five Alamo Colleges and Trinity University. Auditions are held each November. During the spring semester, the A-JAM combo performs locally and is coached by regional professionals and visiting artists. One grand prize recipient is invited to the annual meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) in late June or early July, where s/he performs with fellow students from all over the world for one intensive week. The meetings are hosted by a different school each year. Singer Jeané Gaines, Northwest Vista College, participated in the IASJ meeting in São Paulo, Brazil in 2011 as the first A-JAM grand prize winner.

Thanks to all who participated in this year's auditions. If you didn't make it this time around, listen, practice, stay tuned, and audition again in November 2015. It could be YOU next year...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

AUDITIONS - Audition Assessment Criteria 2014/2015

Wondering how judges assess your audition performance? For academic year 2014/15, A-JAM is using rubrics designed by the Massachusetts Music Educators Association. They are very clear and specific. You may view and download the adjudication forms here. There are separate forms for jazz saxes and brass, drum kit, and rhythm section instruments.

Glancing at these simple one-page forms may help you prepare for your audition. But, as you know, the main thing is to come in prepared and try to let your enjoyment of the music shine through.

If you're grappling with audition anxiety, and even if you're not, I'd highly recommend looking at Gerald Klickstein's wonderful book, "The Musician's Way." It's beautifully written and full of wisdom. And he has a free resource site: http://www.musiciansway.com/

Don't forget to breathe! Ahhhhh.....


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cape Town 2014 - The Final Session

Liebman's parting words...
Always an inspiration.
Take the time to watch!


David Liebman, Artistic Director of the
IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz), speaks at the final session of the international jazz meeting in Cape Town, South Africa 2014. He speaks to every year's crop of talented and eager students from all over the world who have participated in the meeting, held at a different school each year. This is the first time in the history of these meetings (since 1989) that his talk has been filmed. You are very lucky to hear it right now. Watch all of it, at your leisure, and be inspired. Even those of us who have heard him speak for years come away inspired anew. He has something right-on and new to add each time. This is what the A-JAM program is about, and what the jazz life is about, from the perspective of a bona fide Jazz Master who has made a brilliant career as a performer, band leader, and international jazz educator.

It could be YOU next year, representing A-JAM at the jazz meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in June 2015...

Improv - A Mini-Lesson

Improvisational fluency flows from a  theoretical and technical background that can be summoned subconsciously. But to get there requires careful fully-conscious practice and patience. Art is built on craft. You have to love the process itself, which most of us do! Luxury, for many musicians, is time to practice and develop our ideas...  

Read the article linked below from JAZZed Magazine by alto saxophonist Bobby Selvaggio...

"THEORY: You need to have a strong sense of outlining chords (functional, nonfunctional, modal, et cetera) using chord tones, the understanding of jazz language and how it works, and the history and tradition of jazz – learning repertoire; unconsciously knowing what all the jazz chord symbols mean and what tonalities go with them. To get started, you need a basic knowledge of jazz theory, such as modes of the major scale, the diatonic ii V I progression, and chord tones. These ideas are the building blocks to jazz improvisation. You will eventually need to be unconscious with all of these elements."

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

IASJ International Jazz Meeting - A School Representative's Perspective

Martin Mueller, who administers the jazz program at the New School for Social Research in New York City, has participated in the international jazz meetings our program feeds into since their inception in 1989. His is currently a board member of the IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz), the sponsoring organization. Check out this video interview to gain his perspectives on the meetings and the organization.

Could be YOU at this year's meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, June 2015!