[JPL] regarding exposing young people to jazz

Lenora Helm zenzalai at aol.com
Sat Jul 18 12:23:35 EDT 2009


Jae, Lenore, Ron,

I think more information about these successes can be circulated, to  
encourage those who are doing  the same, and to inspire more to get  
started exposing young people to jazz.  Before I moved from New York  
City to North Carolina, I traveled through NY's five boroughs  
presenting two jazz residencies and auditorium programs, "Jazz Giants"  
and "Armstrong, Ellington and Ella" to middle school and elementary  
school youth.  My trio and I must have easily done 200 shows and  
residencies, all presented and sponsored by Young Audiences of New  
York.  Time after time, the students would come forward with stories  
of "changing" their minds about Jazz.  One 6th grader made up a jazz  
comic strip about Duke Ellington and he wanted to publish it!

Once the teachers saw the performance, and understood how to infuse  
their curriculums with jazz history, anecdotes from jazz biographies  
and of course jazz music, these schools seemed to become "jazz  
schools" and created an atmosphere throughout the school in which  
every department wanted to participate.  It was really, really  
fulfilling.  I have some of it documented on video.

  It's true, the exposure, and education of the school administration  
and students, leaks to the parents. Jae, I love your story about the  
conversation with the high school student.  You are so on, and the  
sceanario mimicked so many of my experiences with jazz and that age  
group.  Kudos to each of your for your work....

With Music,

Lenora Zenzalai Helm
www.LenoraHelm.com
917 826 7979
zenzalai at aol.com



On Jul 18, 2009, at 11:42 AM, Jae Sinnett wrote:

> JAZZWEEK SUMMIT 2010: JUNE 17-19, RADISSON RIVERSIDE HOTEL,  
> ROCHESTER N.Y. -- Mark your calendar!
>
> ******************************************************************************
>
>
> Lenore, Ron,
>
> That's a great age group to reach. You see it in their faces. High  
> school age is a radically different story. I had a senior recently  
> ask me in a discussion why he should like Duke Ellington? He didn't  
> like the music I played. Fair enough. I told him he didn't have to  
> like Duke's music but there are valid reasons why he should respect  
> and appreciate his life and accomplishments.
>
> My theme of that class was "choices"...the choices we make and how  
> they affect us and those around us. I held up a photo to him of Duke  
> wearing a suit. The student had the baggy pants on down to the crack  
> of his bojankski with the hat on sideways IN the classroom (One  
> could debate the teachers role here but that's for another  
> discussion). I told him that the choice in what he wore to school  
> that day would bring the appreciation of only those that dress like  
> that...consequently making his world limited to this concept. Now if  
> you dressed like Duke in this photo you will be perceived as being  
> intelligent, sophisticated and business like. The conversation then  
> quickly turned to "insecurities." The student said..."well, that's  
> not my style. No one will look at me any differently if I dressed  
> like that." I said okay but that's your "choice." If you think  
> small...you stay small.
>
> I told them jazz is about thinking big from the artists perspective.  
> It's not about repeating fads or trends but finding an original  
> voice...or should be. It's not about repeating history or shouldn't  
> be but finding new avenues of expression with new and familiar  
> material. I asked the student what was totally unique to him? He  
> really couldn't answer the question. I said when you hear Duke's  
> music...you hear "Duke's" music. That was unique to HIM but again he  
> didn't have to like his music. I also told him that everyone won't  
> embrace new ideas or thoughts or originality but like a jazz  
> musician you have to have courage to believe in what you're doing  
> and accept the fact that everyone won't like it or you but at least  
> you're driven by YOUR thinking.
>
> I've always felt that a student can appreciate the "other" aspects  
> of the artist and in that they can perhaps see the bigger picture.  
> The music is only part of it.
>
> Jae Sinnett
>
>
> --- On Sat, 7/18/09, ron-gill at att.net <ron-gill at att.net> wrote:
>
>> From: ron-gill at att.net <ron-gill at att.net>
>> Subject: Re: [JPL] regarding exposing young people to jazz
>> To: jazzproglist at jazzweek.com
>> Date: Saturday, July 18, 2009, 10:47 AM
>> JAZZWEEK SUMMIT 2010: JUNE 17-19,
>> RADISSON RIVERSIDE HOTEL, ROCHESTER N.Y. -- Mark your
>> calendar!
>>
>> ******************************************************************************
>>
>>
>> On Jul 18, 2009, at 9:51 AM, Swingin Fox wrote:
>>
>>> JAZZWEEK SUMMIT 2010: JUNE 17-19, RADISSON RIVERSIDE
>> HOTEL, ROCHESTER N.Y. -- Mark your calendar!
>>>
>>>
>> ******************************************************************************
>>
>>
>>    Great story, Lenore. Exactly the point I
>> was making here.
>>
>>    Ron Gill
>>>
>>> I remember a statement from a high up at Disney when I
>> presented my story "Sandy's Sound" ( a jazz fairy tale) to
>> them.
>>>
>>> The "higher up" said it was a great story but that
>> "jazz is an acquired taste"
>>>
>>> Fast forward about ten years and Marcia Hillman's and
>> my show "Scat Cat's Adventures In Jazzland"
>>>
>>> It is a live show teaching YOUNG kids about the
>> history of jazz with a great little story and original
>> music. The kids were about ages 4-8yrs.
>>>
>>> At the end they all get to scat and participate. Two
>> of the kids got up in front and scatted like crazy. One
>> child's father called me two weeks later saying that the
>>> child hasn't stopped and whenever anybody visits he
>> tells them he can scat and does so. PS...he has just cut his
>> first jazz album at age 12.
>>>
>>> So...these kids all started out with no jazz
>> knowledge...acquired taste???? NO.!! Exposure. I have seen
>> it time and again. When they hear the music, they love it.
>>>
>>> The fix?? Not sure, but what about petitioning the pre
>> schools and elementary schools to present jazz in a music
>> course? I think parents today need to be educated too.
>>>
>>> Let's do something positive instead of complaining.
>>>
>>> If anybody wants to hear my "Scat Cat" story on a disc
>> told by a 10 and 6 year old who are really into the music
>> because that is what their dad plays.  contact me. We
>> are raising funds to record the music.
>>>
>>> Lenore Raphael
>>> e mail lraphael at att.net
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>>
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>>
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>
>
>
> --
>
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