Jazz Goes to School returns to Eagle County Schools this week | VailDaily.com

Jazz Goes to School returns to Eagle County Schools this week

Special to the Daily/Ed Kosmicki

VAIL ” The Vail Jazz Foundation’s ‘Jazz Goes to School’ musical education program for fourth and fifth graders returns to Eagle County elementary schools today through Thursday. This innovative approach to teaching jazz music and social studies will reach over 1,000 students during the 2008/09 school year. The program, which is in its 11th year, is designed to educate students about America’s own music form ” jazz ” and its role in our country’s history, and to foster an appreciation of jazz music among young people.

“This first unit wets the whistle for the kids, since we talk about where jazz came from ” both geographically and musically,” said Tony Gulizia, who heads up the program for the Vail Jazz Foundation. “Elements of jazz are explored, from its African and European roots to today’s music. The kids really dig the different percussion instruments we present, and they begin to understand the role they play in jazz forms from swing to funk to bebop.”

Three professional musician/educators will present lessons that include age-appropriate discussions of the history of jazz music and the fundamental elements comprising jazz: Tony Gulizia on keyboard and vocals, drummer Joey Gulizia (Tony’s brother), and percussion specialist Michael Pujado.

The participatory format of the Jazz Goes to School lessons allows students to learn by playing various instruments to help them understand jazz rhythms; singing and clapping to demonstrate concepts such as call and response; and playing special melodic instruments to experience improvisation.

JGTS strives to make jazz music meaningful and relevant to the students, and is well received by professional educators.

“My students come to me at the end of fourth grade already knowing what instrument they want to play ” and it’s not based on the way the instrument looks,” said Dave Laub, music teacher at Vail Mountain School. “The JGTS musicians really educate the students about the role of each instrument while connecting with them with great personalities. The students are excited to see the guys for each session, and ecstatic when they run into Tony playing around town days, weeks and years later.”

Parents of local fourth and fifth graders are welcome and encouraged to attend Jazz Goes to School with their student. For more information, parents can contact their child’s school or the Vail Jazz Foundation at 970-479-6146.

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