Monday, September 28, 2015

"What Dreams Are Made Of" - Thomas Mullins' Summer Abroad Experience

Thomas Mullins spent one intensive life-changing week abroad this summer as the 2015 A-JAM delegate to the prestigious international jazz meeting of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ), held this year in Lisbon, Portugal. It was the 25th anniversary of unique global jazz meeting, and an unforgettable experience for all involved. Hosted by a different member school each year, students, teachers, and school representatives from all over the world gather to learn, perform, exchange ideas, and generally live and breathe jazz. Fresh from the trip, Mullins shared some of his insights and experiences.

"My participation in at 25th annual IASJ Meeting in Lisbon, Portugal was unlike anything else I’ve experienced in all my life.  The sights of the city were like stepping into a postcard.  Everyone involved was unbelievably welcoming, eager to share their friendship and love of music.  There, I met people from all corners of the world, brought together by the uniting force of music.  I had the privilege of talking with David Liebman, founder of the program.  When I commented on what an amazing experience he has provide to all with talented students and educators he responded, 'Good people, great music.  Where else are you going to get this?'”

"I would be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed at times," Mullins continued.  "There I was, far from home, surrounded by unfamiliar sights and faces.  I would leave the master classes feeling as though I knew nothing about music.  I would leave rehearsals thinking we would never make the deadline.  My mind was constantly screaming, “Fight or flight!” (Given that the flight was a literal 19 hour flight, fight it was.)  I would find myself questioning my abilities and my right to participate with these caliber of musicians, but through my conversations and experiences with my fellow students, I learned that I wasn’t alone.  And that was the beauty of it all.  None of us were truly alone, despite what we felt at times.  We were together in our pursuits, ambitions, struggles, and triumphs.  The international meeting is what dreams are made of."

Thomas Mullins, a 2015 graduate of Northwest Vista College, entered the UTSA music program with a full scholarship in composition in fall 2015. A student of classical guitarist Dan Smith, he auditioned on guitar. He studies trombone and improvisation with Armin Marmolejo of Palo Alto College. As a composer, Mullins received a Jack Stone Award for New Music in 2013, while at Northwest Vista College.





Thursday, September 17, 2015

Mark Your Calendar! A-JAM Auditions - Week Before Thanksgiving, Nov 16-19

Audition to become part of the 2016 A-JAM program! Make your appointment today. Auditions are the week before Thanksgiving. That's Nov 16-19, 2015. Call Katchie Cartwright at 210-486-4828 for more information or to schedule your audition. Check our Facebook page for breaking news...

Auditions are open to all fulltime students at any of the five Alamo Colleges and Trinity University.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of a college-level course in improvisation. You can be taking one this term, provided you pass the course. :-) If you're not currently enrolled, try to enroll in MUAP 1185: Private Improvisation for Flex II. There are multiple instructors for this course on multiple campuses within the Alamo Colleges system. Contact your music department chair or discipline coordinator for more information.

This year's IASJ international jazz meeting will be hosted by the exciting and relatively new Berklee Global Jazz Institute. One lucky student will get to participate in this life-changing intercultural experience. It could be you this year!


Auditions for the A-JAM program are held annually--the week before Thanksgiving--by appointment only. To join A-JAM in the spring term, you must have successfully completed a basic course in improvisation, which is offered in the fall semester. Contact Katchie for further information on A-JAM audition requirements and dates.

Prepare: 2 contrasting jazz pieces of your choice

Bring: 3 copies of your written music (lead sheets, C-concert)

Scales/arpeggios: Major and minor, all keys

Sightreading: chordal (lead sheet), rhythmic, and melodic