19 Mar

Here’s a snapshot of several musicians and faculty sharing their experiences from the New York Jazz Academy Summer Jazz Intensives. These summer camps bring you to the heart of NYC, giving you a chance to immerse yourself in daily jazz studies.

Interviews from the New York Jazz Academy Summer Jazz Intensives:

Tom Dempsey (faculty guitar/ensembles):
“One of the things I enjoy the most about teaching at the jazz academy is that the teaching happens the way it should, which is on the bandstand. It happens in the ensembles that we work with, in the rehearsals, and it really becomes what a true workshop is, where you’re working things out right there in the classroom.

“Also, a very unique aspect of this program is the fact that, while they’re getting all this great ensemble experience and great playing experience, they’re also getting one-on-one private lessons every single day. That’s almost unheard of in summer workshops that happen around the country.

“And, then, to be able to do it and experience all that New York has to offer in its jazz community, going to Jazz Standard to hear the Mingus Big Band, going to Smalls to participate in the jam session—I mean, it’s like no other experience, and I think that this program is continuing to develop and make a tremendous contribution to the vitality of jazz, both in New York and throughout the world.“

Ellie (voice, England):
“So I’m Ellie, I’m from London. I’m a vocalist, and this week has been one of the best weeks of my life. The theory and the different genres of music, like, I’d never done a samba before, but I’m trying out a samba funk today.“

Javier Arau (saxophonist and NYJA Program Director):
“The Summer Jazz Intensives in New York City really bring a whole lot to the table that students really can’t find anywhere else. I think one of the cornerstones of a really good summer program is one that doesn’t just introduce students to a lot of other students and get them excited about different teachers and that sort of thing, but also one that really gives feedback. That’s the key word. I mean without feedback, you can’t see learning come to fruition. You really can’t go all the way with your artistry taking you from one level to the next.“

Dave Ambrosio (faculty bass/ensembles):
“I think another great thing about these summer weeks that we do here is that the students really—it really is intense for them. They really get to experience every single teacher. I’ve gotten to teach not only bass lessons, but also I did private lessons with vocalists and guitar players and all kinds of different instruments. All the teachers here teach ensembles, so at some point, everyone gets to work with each one of the teachers, which is great because you get all of their different input, everyone is going to have a different way of saying the same thing and thinking about the ways we approach music and playing music together. Yeah, it’s really great.“

Miku (piano, Japan):
“This workshop was really fun for me, especially the jam session. It was a wonderful time for me, because I had another experience in Japan, and it was very…interesting.“

Harrison (bass, NYJA intern):
“One of the amazing things I find about the Jazz Academy is that I, myself who am a somewhat experienced jazz musician still can walk into any of these classes—any of these theory classes, any of these melodic workshops or the rhythm workshop—and still pick up awesome, awesome stuff that I’m learning every day. So, I’m fortunate that I get to work here and, kind of, simultaneously go to school here.“

Hanley (piano, Connecticut):
“This is my second time at the Jazz Academy, and it’s been an incredible experience each time. I’ve learned so much about the theory, about group playing, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a great jazz experience overall.“

Joost (drums, Netherlands):
“My instrument is drums, and I like it a lot, not only just drumming, but also all the other parts of the program, like theory and ensemble rehearsals, so, I like it a lot.“

Micah (saxophone, North Dakota):
“It’s the first time in New York City. It’s been a very, very good experience. I’ve been to several jazz pubs and listened to the professionals here, and I’ve been exposed to a wonderful set of teachers, and it’s just been an experience unlike any other. I’ve learned a lot this whole week here.”

Javier Arau (saxophonist and NYJA Program Director):

“When you see an arc that goes from that Monday to Friday, you know what’s going to happen on that Friday? You’re gonna say, ‘Ah! I can’t believe it’s over!’, because it went so fast. The good news is, if it’s early in the summer, then you’re here for another week. If it’s late in the summer, then we’ll see you either during the school year for a whole lot of great programming that we run, or we’ll see you next year.”