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Jazz Master Class at Syracuse University

April 15 I conducted a master class for jazz students and voice majors

at Syracuse University‘s Setnor School of Music in conjunction with a

concert I performed on April 18: “Tish Oney–The Peggy Lee Project

featuring esteemed guitarist John Chiodini. Having directed

collegiate-level vocal jazz ensembles for a number of years, I most

often am asked to provide coaching for an entire collective group at

once. However, since the SU Vocal Jazz Ensemble (directed by pianist Bill DiCosimo) had already completed

its final concert of the school year, I instead offered a soloist’s

master class and worked with individual students in the jazz combo

setting (accompanied by piano, bass and drums). We focused on jazz

stylization, interpretation, mic technique, improvisation and whatever

else I felt the students needed in the short twelve minutes I had with

each. Most of these students had almost never worked one-on-one with a

microphone, which was a surprise to me–with shrinking university arts

budgets, this particular ensemble did not have a budget for upgrading

their equipment or PA system, so they seldom

performed with microphones. I was glad to at least provide a bit of

coaching and opportunity to learn about singing with amplification for

these aspiring soloists. The day was well-spent–the students were

well-prepared and excited to learn from me, and it was a bonus to have

members of the voice faculty there as well, attuned to learning about a

style with which they were only slightly familiar. I am thankful that

there are some universities and colleges able to provide these artist

residency learning experiences for their students, even during these

tough economic times.

WSTM-TV interview

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