Jazz House Kids is playing through the changes.
Every year, the Jazz House Kids summer program culminates with the Montclair Jazz Festival, this year’s People’s Choice pick for Best Music Festival, and a summer highlight for thousands of area jazz fans. Due to social distancing, Montclair Jazz Festival cannot take place this summer, but Jazz House Kids continues to deliver programming that engages and excites students, promotes harmony and collaboration and builds musicianship. This summer promises to be no different with two offerings, eight weeks and 100 hours of programming … all online for 2020.
The goal remains to offer students caring, consistency, and continuity—precious commodities that are essential to maintaining a sense of security and peace of mind. And since mid-March, Jazz House Kids has barely missed a beat, moving all instruction online and conducting 17 sessions and masterclasses for 175 students each and every week.
“We are hearing from both students and their parents that our online classes are providing much more than music education: they are offering routine; a chance for students to socialize and stay connected with their peers; and a likely therapeutic opportunity to focus intensively on something other than the pandemic,” said Jazz House Kids president and founder Melissa Walker.
Taking the learning experience all online was not an easy decision, says Ted Chubb, director of summer programming. However, in a year of tremendous disruption, Chubb is excited about the new robust online summer programming not only for students in our own backyard, but friends around the globe who usually join the Workshop in person.
Students ages 10 to 18 from across the globe are invited to register for two programs – Jazz in June, an offering of 90-minute individual afternoon classes held Mondays through Thursdays from June 1 to June 25 and Jazz in July, a comprehensive half-day program held July 13 through August 7, with rotating daily in-depth focuses, masterclasses and live-streamed concerts by esteemed guest artists and Jazz House Kids artistic chair, six-time Grammy Award-winning bassist, Christian McBride.
JAZZ IN JUNE (June 1-25)
These individual classes are designed to give students a jump in their musicianship on and off the bandstand. Class offerings include a piano intensive for beginners, two levels of music composition, gigs and repertoire, a new production and recording class, a vocal workshop. All classes run once a week for four weeks from 4:00 – 5:30 pm ET.
JAZZ IN JULY (July 13-August 7)
This intensive half-day program gives students an in-depth musical focus, including a deep dive into the technical aspects of their instrument, a chance to sharpen their improvisational tools, develop as a composer, and participate in a virtual big band. Daily concentration includes instrumental technique; improvisation and theory; composition; film scoring and home recording; and virtual big band taught by Jazz House Kids faculty. Highlights include a noon-time masterclass with Christian McBride, special guest artists, live-streamed concerts, and a weekly history/culture class. Morning or afternoon placement is based on level and availability.
ADULT SUMMER CLASSES
Jazz House Kids isn’t just for kids. Starting June 1st, Jazz House Kids will offer four new online weekly classes for adult musicians from 6:00 to 7:15 PM in ensemble skills, improvisation and theory concepts, recording projects virtually, and an introduction to Latin Jazz. Each class runs eight weeks. For more information, reach out to Daniela Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Walker, plans in the works for a September Spectacular to be announced soon. In the meantime, every Tuesday at noon on the MONTCLAIR JAZZ FESTIVAL Facebook page features JAZZ HOUSE LunchTime Live, a concert series featuring faculty members, friends or alums in performance.