This October we are celebrating some amazing student achievements here at Jazz Workshop Australia.
- Eight students, all members of our jazz combos (jazz band and improvisation coaching) program have successfully auditioned for the jazz performance degree, B.Mus. (jazz), at the prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music.
- Two students, one a current and the other a former combo member, got into B.Mus. (composition) at Sydney Conservatorium.
- Two younger students this have won offers of music scholarships to private high schools
- One of our primary school-aged students won a jazz scholarship from Central Coast Leagues club for double bass
Theses are wonderful student achievements – congratulations to the students and teachers involved. Hard work and great teaching should be celebrated. There have been other excellent achievements too, of course. One student, Michelle, already studying improvised music at the Sydney Conservatorium successfully auditioned for the practical jazz improvisation course in the jazz department there. And, a very young student at the very beginning of his jazz journey, Michael got into the Senior band at his primary school after only one term of electric bass lessons.
All these students are JWA jazz combo members. In the combos they learn the unique skills needed for playing small-group improvisational jazz, play tunes and learn repertoire, and have fun jamming. They also receive structured coaching in jazz improvisation. Several also take private lessons. Their amazing teachers include Jack Stoneham (sax), Gavin Ahearn (piano), Deven Rahman (trumpet), Yutaro Okuda (guitar), Saul Richardson (guitar & bass), and Jacques Emery (bass).
Not every student who learns jazz wants not become a professional musician, and not every professional musician has studied jazz at university (although there is a misleading and unhelpful jazz myth that none do). There are multiple pathways to musical success. Equally, there are many people whose learning enables them to play and enjoy music throughout their life, no matter what career they go into. This is just as important. Maybe the headline and the real story should be:
81 students of all ages and levels enjoyed learning and playing in JWA jazz combos this year
We are particularly proud here at JWA that our programs provide access to achievement to anyone who can be involved. Anyone can succeed if they do the work, learn the right kind of things and skills, develop the right kinds of habits and put in the time. This is for everyone, and that is important.
Congratulations to these high-achieving students and their teachers as well as to everyone who has chosen to be part of our very special musical community here at JWA.