Jazz Artists Offer Music Lesson to Glynn Middle Students | Local news

A musician, like a mathematician, always carries a pencil.

It was one of many pearls of wisdom that Lisa Kelly, a professional jazz singer, offered to a class of the group’s students on Tuesday at Glynn Middle School. Kelly, along with husband JB Scott, who also plays jazz professionally, spent all day Tuesday and will be spending the day with the students in the school band today. The music education opportunity was hosted by the school and the Golden Isles Arts and Humanities Association.

“How many of you have pencils here?” Kelly asked the class.

Some students raised their hands.

“Musicians should always have pencils. Maths and music, you always have a pencil with you, ”she said. “And make a little note to yourself during rehearsal: ‘When I get home tonight, I want to work on those two bars. “

GIAHA received a grant from the Georgia Music Foundation to make this opportunity possible for students.

Scott is the director of the jazz program at the University of North Florida. He was also the first to graduate from the UNF jazz program, and Kelly was the program’s first jazz singer. Both went on to graduate. They have performed around the world and both were inducted into the Jacksonville Jazz Festival Hall of Fame.

“We try to support opportunities for students to work with professional musicians, as that doesn’t happen all the time,” said Heather Heath, Executive Director of GIAHA.

Heath worked with Alan Wendel, group director at Glynn Middle, to find an opportunity to bring professional musicians to the school.

Kelly’s discussion with the students on Tuesday morning focused on a number of best practices used by musicians.

“Make sure you breathe – breathe, breathe, breathe,” she told the students.

She asked the group to start a song over as many students started a timeless song with their breaths. She asked them to pay close attention to the direction of Wendel.

“Did you hear him breathe?” Did you breathe with him? Kelly asked. “I think some of you did, and some didn’t, and I could tell because the very first note you walked in was not solid and confident.”

Scott and Kelly frequently work with students in schools through clinics and other programs.

“This is our third school in a week and a half,” Kelly said.

Their goal is to give back and help young musicians grow, Scott said.

“It’s something creative and something that really allows them to express themselves,” he said. “Music does that. And it also reaches people in the audience… If someone isn’t having a good day, you are helping them have a better day. If they are having a good day then you are helping them have a good day because you are reaching them spiritually with music.

Their teaching also reinforced what Wendel teaches students on a daily basis, Kelly said.

“It’s inspiring to hear professional musicians come in,” she said. “You can see beyond where you are right now. It helps you visualize something on the go for the students.

GIAHA’s arts education program is constantly looking for opportunities to support programs like this in local schools, Heath said.

“Education is part of our mission, and it’s an important part of what we do. It’s one of those things people might not know we do, ”said Heath. “… We want to provide as many opportunities as possible for students to be exposed to the arts. “

Feedback from professional musicians can be invaluable to students, Kelly said.

“It’s just about sharing experiences and knowledge,” she said.

The advice Kelly shared with the students on Tuesday underscored the individual work that each must do to reach the next level of their ability.

“The property of how you play something is the time you spend on it personally, and the more time you put into music the more you develop a love for it,” she said. “Why? Because you develop the confidence to play, you start to memorize it and you take ownership of the way you play it.

The orchestra hall they trained in should be where the final rehearsals take place, she said. Most of the work begins long before that.

“The group room is where we meet and your director polishes the final product, gives you information on how to perform the music,” she said. “But the time you spend at home on your music is important because that’s where you learn the little things you need to work on. “

Ada J. Kenney