Eagle County students attend Jazz Goes to School | VailDaily.com

Eagle County students attend Jazz Goes to School

Daily staff report
Vail CO, Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s free education program for 4th and 5th graders, returns to Eagle County this week, featuring a trio of professional musician/educators who travel to 14 elementary schools to present an interactive lesson on jazz and American History.

This third session of the four-part program examines the distinguishing characteristic of jazz music: Improvisation. This ability to “create as you go” is essential for any musician wishing to play jazz.

“Jazz in the beginning was very simple,” said Tony Gulizia, who leads the educational program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. “In this lesson, we travel through history from ragtime to modern jazz, and examine how the music has become much more complex. Jazz is unique because jazz musicians can carve their own path through the music, expressing their own musical voice using improvisation.”

The Jazz Goes to School musicians, which include Gulizia on piano, Joey Gulizia on drums and Andy Hall on bass, introduce the blues scale to students in this session.

“The 12 bar blues form is one of the most widely used progressions not just in jazz, but in all music,” said Gulizia.

The trio demonstrates styles of rock, folk, country and jazz, all of which use 12 bar blues. As a follow up, fifth grade students are assigned to work in small groups to compose a 12 bar composition using the blues scale, lyrics and a rhyme scheme. A medley of these blues compositions will then be performed by the Jazz Goes to School Quintet at the fourth and final session at the Vilar Performing Arts Center on April 13.

“Jazz Goes to School fills a critical need in our elementary schools,” said Tracy Tutag, a member of the United Way of Eagle River Valley, which helps fund the program. “We understand the need for arts education in our schools, and in its 11th year, Jazz Goes to School has a proven formula that works for Eagle County students.”

The Vail Jazz Foundation’s executive director, Mia Vlaar, cited some of the benefits of the program.

“Jazz Goes to School provides a comprehensive curriculum, including pre- and post-lesson plans, follow up activities, and of course the sessions in the classroom with our musicians. Most kids would never be exposed to jazz, much less understand its development and relevance to American history without this program,” Vlaar said.

For more information, visit http://www.vailjazz.org.

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