Sounds & Sights
first class of the day is devoted to music theory.
Please keep the presentation portion brief, and have
the students practice what you are teaching them.
(For example, if you present information about scales,
have them play some.)
purpose of presenting theory is so that the campers
can learn how to improvise - both solos and ensembles
- so please keep your theory classes appropriate
to achieving that goal. It is much better to give
them a small amount of information and let them practice
it, than to give them too much information. Have
the students play chords, scales, intervals, modes
- whatever you are showing them. Demonstrate how
you use this information when you improvise, and
give them an opportunity to try it.
it simple, and have the students play as much as
possible. Make it about 20% theory, and 80% practice.
DO NOT GIVE THEORY INSTRUCTION THAT IS NOT IMMEDIATELY
PRACTICAL IN THE CONTEXT OF THE CAMP! Reinforce theory
in band rehearsals.
morning rehearsal session should be devoted to the
needs of the instrumentalists; the vocalist will
not be present until the afternoon. Work on issues
of improvising/arranging ensemble parts, soloing
and accompaniment, intros and endings, modulations
(for interest, or to accommodate the vocalist), and
all aspects of preparing the tunes for performance.
Give the campers ample opportunity to address issues
themselves, and offer advice when they need help.
Rather than leading the band, coach them.
to reinforce theoretical concepts on which you are
focusing, and allow the students to make as many
musical decisions as they can. The primary difference
between afternoon and morning rehearsals will be
the presence of the vocalist in the afternoon. Be
sure that you make good use of the vocalist’s
time, and include the vocalist in the band’s
decision making processes (band name, front person,
suggestions for arrangements, etc.).
the semi-private lesson period, you will be meeting
with two students at a time.
the lesson, concentrate on instrumental technique
and theory that will help the students do a good
job of playing for their bands. What you choose to
teach during this time is, of course, up to you,
but it is prefered that you address issues that are
of immediate importance, such as: playing the band
tunes correctly, voicing chords, how to accompany,
etc. The main goal for this part of the camp program
is to use the challenges presented by the band repertoire
in order to teach the campers things they need to
know in order to make a good performance.
course, you will undoubtedly address issues of good
general technique, warm-ups, exercises, etc. You
can also feel free to give the students information
they can take home to work on further, or suggest
books/programs that they would find useful or valuable.
good starting place would be to find out what is
troubling the students in their band rehearsals,
and help them to find solutions.
night, the campers will perform their blues compositions
for each other, and the faculty will also perform.
The students will perform one of their band tunes
each subsequent night, and will have a dress rehearsal
on Friday night. There will be nightly jam sessions
at which campers can play with each other and with
the faculty. Check the jam session schedule to see
when and where you are assigned.
STJS Jazz Camps include vocalists, and the vocalists
are to be as fully a part of the camp as the instrumentalists
not ask the vocalist to sing in any other key than that
which has been determined for him/her by the vocal instructor
(and this is to be determined only by the vocal instructor).
The vocal instructors will make every effort to put songs
into keys that are appropriate for both the vocalists
and the band. In the case of female vocalists, the key
will usually be a fourth or fifth away from the standard
key, and for this reason it is strongly suggested that
(at least in the lower bands) you have the vocalist sing
the song first, and then have the band modulate to the
standard key, or the key which you have determined will
be best for the band. In more advanced bands, you may
choose to begin the tune in the standard key and then
modulate for the vocalist. It is not necessary that the
instrumentalists take solos in the vocalist’s key.
in mind that the vocalists are, in many cases, young
people who have had minimal training and can easily damage
their voices if they have to force or strain their vocal
the past several years, the camps mission has been to
have the vocalist sing one chorus of as many tunes as
possible. Do not feel that you have to feature the vocalist
and build the entire arrangement around him/her. In fact,
it is prefered that you not do this. Our goal is to include
the vocalists fully in the camp, not to have them dominate
the performances or take up an inordinate amount of rehearsal
Each band has a selection of assigned tunes,
from which you can choose what you wish the band to play.
The band should participate in the choice of tunes, obviously,
so that they will be working on material which they find
interesting (and for other reasons as well). The tunes
have been assigned according to the level of difficulty
and complexity. The goal is to have band one's tunes the
easiest, and that the band ten tunes the most challenging.
At any rate, there are tunes of various types within the
assigned group - trad, swing, up-tempo, ballads, etc. -
and you should be able to find three or four that will
make up a good program for the band. If you wish to use
other material, you may, but please check it with the camp
If you have written arrangements for the
campers to use, or if you want to write arrangements for
them, first, please consider that they will learn more
from figuring out their parts themselves than they will
from simply reading the music. They read music in their
school band programs; they came here to learn to improvise.
They would undoubtedly sound better if they played your
arrangement(s), but the STJS would rather that they sound
a little more ragged, and learn a little bit more. If you
have arrangements that are simply “road maps” with
written intros and endings, and leave room for both ensemble
and solo improvisation, then you may certainly use them;
but please share them with the camp director first.
Each band will have fifteen minutes in which
to present its musical program. This includes getting on
and off stage, so please help your campers learn to be
efficient in this regard. They need to tune up before getting
on stage, have their music and instrument(s) ready when
they are called, adjust microphones and get into position
in as short a time as possible.
The two faculty bands will perform for 1/2
hour each; the Swing Band will open the concert, and the
Trad Band will close it. Please be a good example to the
campers by demonstrating punctuality and professionalism.