• You are #1—It is very important that we treat each of you as an individual and tailor your schedules to fit your needs. We want you to get the best education you deserve.
  • WHY MUSIC SCHOOL? To learn ” How to Play Your Instrument ” and Be Able to Convey Clearly what you want to say. Then, ” How To Break Away from those Skills! “
  • It‘s easy to be like everyone else; set a new standard for yourself! Work harder, pay attention to detail, and try to set a new standard of excellence! Work on developing something new, different, special, serious, and lasting! With depth and substance! The result will be an audience, a career, a life in music, and the development of your own voice.
  • Remember you are the best from all over the world, coming together to create, to grow, and to build a last- ing artist‘s life and career! There still must be a top and bottom! Sometimes this is difficult to deal with, since you were the top in your region. Work harder, you‘ll get there!
  • You are very important and special! The world would not be the same without you! When you are in a class- room or a rehearsal and someone leaves, the feeling in the room changes! THAT‘S HOW IMPORTANT YOU ARE!!!
  • It’s Important to not allow Commercial Pressures to Weigh too Heavily on the Music You Select for Concert Performances. My Formula is: “Art Music for a Wide Audience,” or “Intelligent Popular Music!” OF COURSE THEY ARE THE SAME THING!
  • Develop a positive attitude! Turn around a negative situation and make it positive! It‘s in the “tude”—some students can be dark, bitter, negative, and angry! Be focused! Know what you want! Be positive! Have respect for others; others‘ property; and others‘ feelings, thoughts, ideas. There isn‘t only one way to see or do something.
  • Take an artist approach to music! Art has many meanings—look for the deepest!
  • Music, Painting and Poetry are essential nutrients that help people sustain Healthy Lives! They are tools that help us grasp the diversity of the world and its history, and explore the emotional capacities with which we navigate that world! They illuminate, they humble, they nurture, they inspire. They teach us to use our Eyes, Ears, and Hearts, and to know ourselves by knowing others!
  • You are all drummers!
  • Time has Sound and Sound has Time!
  • Practice listening one hour per day! Copy from the Masters! Use a repeated listening technique! First for overall feel and oral picture! Then focus on individual instruments and their relationship to other members of the ensemble. Are they fulfilling their instrumental roles? Do you know what the role of each instrumentalist is? Seek the answers!!
  • Learn the standards and jazz classics so that your improvising can go to the next level of musical statement! Learn to tell a story!
  • (12) Twelve tunes say it all: Blues. I‘ve Got Rhythm, Cherokee, Sweet Georgia Brown, Indiana, How High the Moon, Out of Nowhere, Perdido, Honeysuckle Rose, Whispering, All the Things You Are, Night and Day, Lover!!!
  • The key to a successful performance is: Focus and concentration. Work for listen- and-match concepts – you perform music with your ears and hearts!! Listen and match pitch; dynamics; phrasing; articulation; note duration; and up-beat, down-beat relationships!!
  • Student Semester RUMORS TO AVOID!! I‘m taking too many classes.

Maybe you just need to work harder; become more efficient; and organize your hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly schedules!!

  • Remember the Joy in Making Music!! Be happy and positive, but have FUN!!
  • We believe in the University of the Road. PLAY!! PLAY!! PLAY!! PLAY!!
  • You practice this music with other musicians! Jam, hang, play, play, and play!
  • Create playing opportunities for yourself!
  • We are very interested in upgrading and expanding the ART OF JAZZ!
  • The secret to success and developing your own voice is:
    – Work a little harder than everyone else
    – Pay attention to detail.
  • Can you make a living in music? Can you make a living in jazz? The answer is YES!! You are running a business. You are a small-business person. Your business is you!!
    Some questions you need to find answers to:
    Why should you be hired?
    What do you bring to the gig?
    What do you have to offer?
    What are your unique, different, or individual strengths?
    Are you prepared? Are you dependable? Can you be trusted?
  • Remember—No one takes your dream from you! You give it up!!!
  • Make everything feel like a GROOVE!!! This includes your music, lifestyle, how you carry yourself, and how you relate to other people. This “tude” leads to success and happiness!
  • Work hard, with a terrier-like intensity; but find time to read; attend music and dance concerts and theater, and visit museums and galleries. Challenge yourself! Stay conversant with a cultural and artistic life!
  • A Jazz Musician is inspired by all things creative!
  • Jazz is the synthesis of all artistic resources!
  • Lastly. ..Thank you for being who you are!!!

Thoughts On Big Bands

  • A Big Band is the only place where a jazz musician learns about orchestral music, blend, balance, section playing, rhythm, time, phrasing, articulation, dynamics, and how to listen!!
  • This leads to a better understanding and concept of building a story- telling solo.
  • There is something missing in a player who hasn‘t had Big Band experience.
  • It is a great vehicle to continue to develop! The true American orchestra!
  • It teaches you how to play in a recording studio, TV show, Broadway shows, acts, performing with singers, etc.

Thoughts on Directing a Music Program For Band Directors

  • It is Important To Have ” INDEPENDENCE In A MUSIC PROGRAM! “
  • It is Difficult to Achieve this Goal, but with Persistence and Belief, it can be Achieved!

JD’s Random Thoughts

  • Young jazz musicians today have something in common with doctors and lawyers: they need to be academically certified. A masters and a doctoral degree have become an essential credential.
  • The proverbial artist, struggling alone in a practice room and waiting for the phone to ring has given way to an alternative model: the conservatory jazz artist.
  • This does not mean a growth in the amount of first-rate jazz being created in this country. In fact, many critics feel that jazz schools are directly responsible for a decline in the quality and the level of jazz.
  • When I go to conventions, concerts, etc., all I see is “jazz-school-art.” The jazz sounds academic; basically it sounds like homework, learning how to follow the teacher‘s rules!
  • In truth, where are the innovative sounds in jazz?
  • While jazz schools have flourished since the 60s, they have become lodges in the institutions and critical theory has been elevated above craftsmanship.
  • Whereas once students learned skills by attending jazz jam sessions, copying from recordings, and the teacher/ student relationship, today they sit subverting the hierarchy.
  • Does anyone spend three or four years on a work of art these days?
  • Schools have taught a generation of jazz artists how to create jazz without laboring in their practice rooms! It‘s all about intellectual strategy. You assemble scales into riffs and motifs and create a solo; say the word story, and they are done.
  • The jazz school has fostered its own conceptually driven style. Its invasion of the jazz world has been abetted by the commercial media, where an obsession with novelty and the business of jazz makes every recent graduate a potentially hot property.
  • Many of the students in jazz schools have already recorded CDs, and it‘s not unusual to find record producers trolling the school halls and jazz conventions in search of the next 20-something sensation.
  • I don‘t think that young jazz artists today are any less sincere than artists 50 years ago, but they are facing a historically unique situation. This is at a time when the jazz scene is market-driven; when clubs, presenters, promoters, and record producers are obsessed with finding the next hot name. Schools are producing far more musicians than the system can possibly absorb. The pressure to create trendy work maybe greater than ever. The rise of the 80s jazz star changed everything, and changed it for the worse.
  • I‘m not interested in critical theory elevated above craftsmanship. The way to become a jazz artist and develop your own identity is to play and play and play. Don‘t be lazy. Work harder than everyone else. Try to do something better and on a higher level.
  • Set a high standard for yourself! Do something so well that everyone knows there is something special happening! Pay attention to detail, do the little things that make a difference, be a little different, work a little harder— this is the key to success. Our focus is on performance, not on academics and critical theory. The study of theory and the theoretical principals will help plug the holes and will make you a better artist. But critical theory is important in learning how to think.
  • My primary focus is on the student, advancement, career development, and a Life in Music!
  • Things do not happen if one does not make them happen!
  • Take care of business and respect others! This will help to guide you in your future and help to build a successful life and career.
  • Create a daily, organized, well-disciplined study and practice schedule for yourself. Listen, take notes, be aware, be respectful. Your private teachers and faculty will be glad to help you in improving these areas of personal development.

What should you get out of college?

  • Students should emerge with a capacity to think and ex- press themselves with clarity!
  • To be able to think critically about issues, to analyze them and to come up with their own conclusions; under all circumstances!
  • To be successful in this complex world, you need to be able to work with a diverse group of people and handle all challenges.
  • Learn to move intellectually within an array of views. This is difficult and requires moving outside your own little way of seeing the world.
  • Primary skills should be analytical skills of interpretation and inquiry. How does one distinguish truth from fiction, etc.? The ability to understand the other side, even when you may not share it, is necessary.
  • You should not be dependent on the sources of information provided by the media or any other venue; have an independent capacity to ask questions and evaluate answers.
  • A college education has to create a lifelong habit of curiosity, as opposed to becoming more convinced that you are the authority. It should provide the capacity to have a deep enjoyment of all aspects of human expression that are not commercial and of art that is not blockbuster and/or money-making!
  • Finally: develop a sense of value that is beyond material gain, beyond wealth, fame and power.
  • In the end, it‘s about the way you conduct your life both as a private individual and as a citizen!

Learning How to Learn!

Mastering the art of learning is by no means an easy accomplishment. The task demands an eagerness—better yet, a passion—for learning itself; a mind open to complexity, ambiguity, and opposing points of view; the insight to formulate the right questions; the thirst for answers; and the independence, once all this is done, to arrive at one‘s own conclusions.

The Contemporary Jazz Artist

  • Endless pursuit of the unknown has long been a point of pride among Jazz Musicians, and a way of distinguishing themselves from what many see as the old, out-of-touch traditions!
  • If a Jazz Artist knows what he/she will produce, they are not a contemporary jazz artist!
  • If the audience wants a sure bet, go and hear “Classic Jazz”. There they will hear what they expect!!
  • Many Jazz Musicians are eager to give their music longer lives! This idea applies a museum curatorial approach to live art practice rather than “In the Moment” Performance!!
  • A museum approach is a way of holding onto something that by its very nature cannot be held onto!
  • Jazz Musicians need to have a sense of a constant evolution that we need to be supporting and energizing! Not running forward, but still looking backward and worrying about what they have already missed!

Making It Beautiful

Artists need beautiful things around them. Beautiful objects stimulate you, they inspire you.
Submerge yourself in beautiful music, people, paintings, literature, sculpture, clouds, trees, birds, flowers, sunshine, etc.

The Creed

Be true to yourself!
Make each day a masterpiece Help others
Drink deeply from good books
Make friendship a fine art
Build a shelter against a rainy day