The Detroit Jazz Workshop, now in its 10th year will accept applications in January, 2018.
The DJW, created in 2008, is a week-long day workshop in July designed to teach jazz to anyone interested, no matter the age, background, experience, or instrument. Through classes and clinics in jazz theory, composition, improvisation to master-classes from guest-clinicians, students receive a well-rounded, fun, education in jazz. Besides the classroom learning, students play and rehearse in combos, designed to teach teamwork. As performers and educators, the faculty and staff strongly believe in passing along the tradition of jazz, while at the same time, encouraging creativity and free expression, helping students move forward to a point where they can achieve the goals that they set for themselves. Whether these goals are modest or if they want to push themselves to the highest level of instrumental or vocal mastery in jazz (or somewhere in between), the faculty and students pursue and explore possibilities, and enjoying themselves in the process.
Our 9th annual workshop in 2017 was an incredible step forward!
We had a great student group ranging from professional musicians to young amateurs. More importantly, the quality of the education increased with the addition of mentors. These mentors are musicians, mostly stand-out jazz-studies majors in local universities. We moved to the MSU Detroit-Center in Mid-town Detroit. Hosted by their Community Music School (CMS), we were treated to great facilities and an extremely helpful staff.
Our guest artists, saxophonist Janelle Reichman, trumpeter Jimmy Smith, and drummer Nate Winn all conducted great master-classes for the students.
The Middle-School Jazz Workshop was on fire last year. John Hill, with the assistance of Tony Buccilli, conducted the middle school students. They gave students a taste of improvisation, while working with them on the fundamentals of music. They participated in the master-classes, and had a blast putting on a great performance at Cliff Bells Jazz Club.
The Composer's Workshop within the main DJW, was a great success. Advanced jazz students and beginning composers met every morning for a couple hours within the general High School/Adult workshop. Instructed by Russ Miller, they did so mainly to work through their compositions as a group, accepting advice from Russ, and their fellow students. All of the works were played by the composition rehearsal group and discussed thoroughly in hopes to improve or kickstart their journey in composing. This rehearsal was supplemented with instruction in arranging, reharmonization, orchestration, and analysis.
Besides a student/faculty jam session at Cliff Bells on Tuesday night (Session I), the students got a chance to perform for family and friends on the Sunday and Monday after the workshop at the great jazz club, Cliff Bells. In a packed house, students performed with the combos they rehearsed with during the week; singers performed individual selections with a professional rhythm section. It was great to meet afterward with families, and confirm my suspicions why the students at the workshop were so motivated. This concert alone gives me enough inspiration to keep moving forward with the Detroit Jazz Workshop. 2018 will be even better!