Jazz Keyboard Workshop – An Experience in Improvisation 

The Jazz Keyboard Workshop has proved to be an inspired addition to CASSA’s summer schedule. Derek Stoll, who teaches jazz piano at Mount Royal University, leads these popular workshops each July. This summer Mark Limacher will join Derek as an instructor. 

The workshops cover the role of the piano/keyboard in jazz, including comping, the rhythmic chording provided by the pianist. Sessions also focus on soloing since improvisation is often considered to be the most difficult element to master when playing jazz. Participants study recorded works by the most renowned pianists in the genre, in order to better understand how styles and solos are developed. Workshop participants also play in a trio with a bass player and drummer to further develop their skills for the closing Cabaret evening.

While a minimum skill and knowledge level is needed to take part in the Jazz Keyboard Workshop, participants have often commented how the sessions are structured so that everyone learns at a similar pace. No one feels left behind since the instructors always ensure that everyone understands before moving on to the next topic. The sessions are also flexible enough to adjust to each person’s requirements, if needed. Many participants appreciate the positive attitude of the instructors, along with their encouragement, patience, and willingness to provide feedback. Some participants have also commented how they are encouraged to step out of their comfort zone, especially when building up enough confidence to perform in public. 

The Jazz Keyboard Workshop is now firmly established as part of CASSA’s summer program each July and promises to be around for some time to come.

Further details and registration are available at http://www.calgaryartssummer.com/programs/Campsandworkshps/jkw.html 

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