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New York Jazz Academy, New Jazz School for Kids and Adults, Opens on Manhattan's Upper West Side

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New York Jazz Academy, New Jazz School for Kids and Adults, Opens on Manhattan's Upper West Side

NEW YORK, NY -- The New York Jazz Academy, the Upper West Side's newest music school, will soon be opening its doors, and is now accepting summer and fall 2009 registration inquiries from all interested parents and students. This new jazz school offers the highest quality jazz music instruction to New York City students, ages 4 and older. Recognizing the lack of opportunity among many NYC students to play in school jazz ensembles, the New York Jazz Academy offers low-cost weekly big band rehearsals, sectionals, jam sessions, and jazz improvisation seminars to students from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Programs are available for high school, middle school, and elementary school students interested in jazz study. In addition to group lessons and ensembles, NYJA also offers in-home private lessons. Adult students are also welcome to take private lessons and attend New York Jazz Academy classes. New York Jazz Academy is currently accepting registration inquiries for all instruments, including saxophone, trumpet, trombone, guitar, piano, bass, drums, percussion, flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, horn, tuba, strings, and voice.

With an emphasis placed on performing, rehearsing, and jamming with other musicians, New York Jazz Academy's weekly sessions include small classes with professional jazz instructors and rehearsals and jam sessions with like-minded peers and pros. Woodwind, high brass, low brass, and rhythm section players meet every week for group coachings ("sectionals"), ensemble jam sessions and big band rehearsals. The materials in sectionals cover fundamental musicianship (proper breath support, tone, articulation, technique, general development and proficiency), preparation for rehearsal, and the study of jazz harmony and improvisation. Students will enjoy the community of musicians while finding new inspiration in their instruments. With the New York Jazz Academy learning model, each student stands a great chance of remaining motivated and enthusiastic about music performance and practice.

New York Jazz Academy program director Javier Arau, an accomplished jazz saxophonist and composer, is enthusiastic about the new school, particularly given today's current economic climate: “For those families who might be struggling to budget for private lessons, our group lessons and ensemble workshops can really help a young musician get off his feet and learn to make some great music. For those students who study privately, our workshops provide the necessary musical context to help motivate the student to reach new heights. Students in the city don't get many opportunities to play jazz music, and we are looking to change that. Not only are we serious about keeping jazz alive, but we also know that playing jazz with peers is seriously fun. I am also pleased to have designed a curriculum that includes options for typically orchestral instruments, including violin and oboe. For classical students interested in exploring some jazz 'cross-training,' we provide a perfect opportunity for them." Jazz improvisation empowers the musician, who, through improvising, becomes equal parts composer and performing artist. Developing an ability to create music in the moment helps develop technical proficiency on the instrument, a deep awareness of rhythmic structure and harmonic movement, hones critical thinking skills, and contributes to a greater understanding of music in general. While improvising can be achieved in private, either a cappella or playing along with a recording, jamming with a group of musicians helps the student to develop and learn by “doing."

The question of whether jazz can really be taught is still occasionally asked among professional jazz musicians and jazz educators. According to Arau, the short answer here is an emphatic “Yes!" He continues, “Unfortunately, many teachers do not teach jazz well, and jazz as an educational discipline is still in its infancy. A common scenario involves a teacher throwing a handful of chords and scales at a student while declaring, 'Just improvise a lot, listen to a ton of recordings, and eventually you'll start to hear it.' I really believe, while this method of pedagogy may work for a handful of extremely gifted players, even the most talented could benefit from a more insightful approach to learning jazz." The approach to jazz pedagogy at New York Jazz Academy involves the most innovative and successful materials on the market, extremely well-written ensemble music commissioned for use exclusively by New York Jazz Academy, and a teaching staff that includes only the most aware, creative, and encouraging instructors.

Those who are interested in signing up for the New York Jazz Academy 2009 Summer Saxophone Workshops or Fall Semester 2009 lessons and workshops may contact the New York Jazz Academy at [email protected] or (718) 426-0633.

This story appears courtesy of New York Jazz Academy Publicity.
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