News / Saskatoon

Music Lessons, life lessons at the Saskatchewan Jazz Fest

If you're in the music department in the education building at the U of S this week you’ll hear New Orleans style jazz, or maybe some jazz improv or someone’s voice saying “Yeah man, you gotta really lean into those notes.”

What you’re hearing is the TD Jazz Intensive - a weeklong workshop enabling high school and university students to learn the intricacies of playing jazz from internationally acclaimed musicians.

“Its a win-win scenario for them (the students) because they get a whole bunch of instruction that they just don’t get during the year.” said Mark DeJong, workshop coordinator and faculty member. “A lot of band teachers just don’t have time to get into the improv stuff,” he said.

For Soren Nissen, a current clinician and a past participant, the workshop allowed him to see “how amazing music is, as an expression.”

“It teaches a lot of things about jazz that are hard to find in Saskatoon. It’s a very unique program and teaches in a very unique way,” Nissen said.

DeJong says a significant aspect of what the students learn comes from the daily interactions between faculty and students.

“None of the faculty comes in with an attitude – no one has an ego, and the students need to see that,” said Dejong. “That’s also part of our philosophy too. For them to understand that for the greatest players, there is no room for egos or that kind of thing.”

Anna Wheeler, a grade 12 student from Aiden Bowman High School says that the opportunity to learn from the clinicians is fantastic.

“They bring so much to the table. When they talk to you and share their stories, you learn so much,” she said.

Students and faculty of the TD Jazz Intensive ,will play a final concert on Saturday June 30 at 1 p.m. at The Basment. You can also see the faculty play as the Outer Bridge Enemble, hosting jam sessions at the Basement on Friday June 29.

Photo Gallery

  • Metro/Jane Caulfield

    Bass instructor, and former TD Jazz Intensive participant, Soren Nissen teaches students the art of improvisation. The workshop runs parallel to the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival and features a final concert on Saturday June 30 at The Basement at 1p.m..

  • Metro/Jane Caulfield

    Workshop faculty member and accomplished pianist Stephen Hudson was working through some theory to room of captivated students.

  • Metro/Jane Caulfield

    Drummer Jerome Jennings gets students to listen to music before playing, pushing them to "feel the groove." Here, students were getting a chance to do a 12-bar solo.

  • Metro/Jane Caulfield

    Legendary trumpet player James Delano Zollar was teaching a group of students how to play New Orleans Style jazz.

  • Metro/Jane Caulfield

    Here, faculty and TD Jazz Intensive workshop organizer Mark DeJong plays the alto sax with students.

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