Â By David Burton and jordan freisleben
Music teacher Shawn Costantinoâs jazz classes were taught for a day by a world-renowned jazz musician. The classes performed various songs from their upcoming winter concert for Marcus Miller (Julian Miller â09) who recently returned from touring in Europe and Asia.
After observing the classes perform, Miller took a greater role by teaching the class how to weave basic jazz techniques into the music. Through technical music terms and lively jazz expressions, Miller stressed how the different aspects of the music can be played together in a way that certain points stand out. He focused and built upon individual parts of music, and then joined them together into one ensemble piece.
Miller first worked to perfect individual groups of saxophones, trumpets, piano, and drums. He then worked on the all groups as a whole and made sure the musicians understood the importance that a jazz band âlock into rhythm.â
Instead of instructing from the podium, Miller went among the band and taught alongside the individual musicians, focusing on particular segments. Miller also helped various soloists, showing them techniques on soloing and how to lead into a solo.
âJazz is a question and answer thing,â Miller said to saxophone soloist Shawn Feldman â09. âOne [instrument] is the question who needs to be answered.â
Breaking down the music into different sections, Miller singled out different parts such as the melody and rhythm in order for the students to hear and learn how two separate parts of the music can âsmoothlyâ join into one.
âIt helps the kids to have world class professionals come in and show them some of the techniques that they have used throughout their career,â said Costantino.
Helping with transitions and solos, Miller gave tips on how to emphasize the one sound of the band and not the multiple sounds of different instruments.
âItâs amazing,â Miller said. âThis is where jazz is being kept alive. School is where music is kept alive.â