Music teacher Anthony Schulz reports on the highly successful jazz workshop that was recently held at NMIT:
On the 31st of July, this year, the bi-annual jazz workshop was conducted at the Greensborough campus of NMIT. For the second time in a row, we were asked to present a performance followed by a series of instrument/voice specific workshops and finally, a band and student massed performance.
The purpose of the all day workshop is to provide NMIT performing arts music students from both Greensborough and Fairfield campuses the opportunity to firstly, observe a professional and creative ensemble in performance and secondly, to be placed in an environment in which the musicians and students can discuss, in detail, the processes behind aspects such as repertoire development, improvisation techniques, ensemble and performance.
Frock was formed in 1995 and still consists of core members Adam Starr on Guitar (NMIT Music teacher/lecturer), Anthony Schulz on Piano and Accordion (NMIT Music teacher/lecturer), Craig Beard on Vibraphone, Simon Starr on Double Bass and Dave Beck on Drums. Simon Starr is currently living in Israel and is often replaced by Electric Bassist, Chris Hale. In addition, Julien Wilson on various saxophones and Gian Slater on voice provided another dimension to our already full sound.
The performance commenced at 10.30am and for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes Frock performed a set of original composition mainly sourced from their latest CD “Apogee”. Adam provided students with a detailed explanation of the background to each piece and they were able to follow the notated lead sheet as it was projected onto a screen behind the band.
After a very enjoyable BBQ lunch during which student ensembles performed on the Café stage while staff, students and performers mingled, students were divided into instrument types or voice and used the hour and a half provided to learn a set number of pieces to be presented during the final massed performance.
Most importantly, the response from students and performers was extremely positive (see below). The musicians have mentioned to me on a number of occasions that they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and felt that they also got much from the experience.
Feedback from students about the workshop:
“I really enjoyed the interaction between the band members of Frock and loved the way the guitarist Adam Starr explained aspects of the form before performing”.
“I really enjoyed the voice workshop with Gian Slater who inspired me to want to learn to improvise”.
“The highlight for me was listening to professional musicians explain their craft”.
“It was nice to see such a high level of performance in such an intimate environment”.
“In addition to hearing a great band perform, the concert was enhanced by the musicians explaining the background of the songs. I loved being able to watch the music score on the screen while we listened”.
“The performance was full of energy and full of complex rhythms and amazing solos. Workshops like this help to inspire music students and give us hope!”
“The highlight for me was coming together and playing with other students from both campuses”.
“I enjoyed the sharing of new approaches to practicing and developing technique”.
Images from the day: