On Tuesday, Dec. 3, eight select members of the CVA Jazz Ensemble participated in a day-long, jazz improvisation workshop led by area saxophonist Monk Rowe.
Aaron Barnett, alto saxophone; Juilana Joyce, alto saxophone; Eric Waite, tenor saxophone; William Paddock, trumpet; Nick Higgins, trumpet; Alex Marro, trombone; and Chris Molloy, mallets joined Rowe for the session at Herkimer High School.
Band teacher and Director of the CVA Jazz Ensemble Michael Fenton, said Rowe designed the program to be participatory and interactive for both student and teacher. Unlike a typical band class where students play notes as written, this workshop focused on improvisation—playing from the heart, the head, and the ear. Over the course of the day, Rowe discussed music theory and basic forms used in jazz, blues, and rock and roll. Rowe even taught the students a few classic songs that they can use in their future studies.
“Monk’s program is exactly what jazz students everywhere need at this point in their studies. His approach to improvisation takes what the students already know via their participation in the band program and builds from there. I was so excited to see the enthusiasm they had for improvising once they made that connection,” said Mr. Fenton.
Monk Rowe, a former music teacher at Vernon-Verona-Sherrill school, is a professional saxophonist, pianist and composer and a guest teaching artist at various college and high school programs throughout the Eastern United States.