Steve teaches clinics on many topics.
Language of Jazz Music
This clinic offers an original approach to Jazz music theory and interpretation based on the concept that Jazz music is a language that can be taught – and learned – just like spoken word languages. Comparing the alphabet to scales, and words to chords, Steve illustrates how basic language learning blocks are effective tools to teach or learn music theory.
Using poetry as a metaphor for interpreting a jazz chart, Steve demonstrates the power of interpretation - how texture, color and shading convey meaning in the spoken word as well as in the language of music.
Fluidly Speaking the Language of Jazz
Designed as the follow-up to “The Language of Jazz Music”, the course materials move deeper into the essential skills necessary to fluently speak the language of jazz.
Two topics specifically addressed in this presentation are Improvisation and Music Transcription.
“Improvisational skills, learned over the course of a lifetime, are essential to expressing one’s original and ever-changing voice,” Steve says. But how can one gain and continuously sharpen these skills? Steve shares insights on performance gained through his 30-year career in music.
“Transcribing enables one to understand the core elements of a composer’s voice and style,” says Steve. He proposes that the successful practice of transcription is a valuable tool in developing and maintaining improvisational skills. As in studying the forms of great poetry, this illuminating process leads the transcriber to a greater awareness of the essence of a composition. Revealing some of his transcription techniques, Steve transcribes a jazz standard during the class, thereby demonstrating how the fruits of this labor relate to interpretation and improvisation. Thus the class participant gains useful tools to enhance his musical literacy.
Class exercises include navigating a jazz chart and following along with Steve’s performance. Why does a sense of time matter in Improvisation? The reading exercise challenges one’s “inner clock” and reveals its importance in clear and intelligible ways.
Steve demonstrates how the knowledge of altering chords, melodies and rhythms helps the student discover their own voice.