How cool is to be able work transatlantically with 2 jazz orchestras and a selection of jazz combo classes from the comfort of my own living room in Paris!? Super exciting.
I'm especially grateful to the Nebraska Arts Council for their commitment to Virtual Programming over the past year. Thanks to a grant from the NAC, UNO's Pete Madsen was able to "bring me in" not once, but 3 times to work with 3 different groups to lend them a fresh perspective on their music making so far this year.
Careers in Music
with MAYJO - Metropolitan Area Youth Jazz Orchestra
High School Talent
This talented group draws from the cream of the crop of Omaha area High School students. This offers them a rare opportunity to work with others who play at a similar high level, and therefor dig into some more challenging material which they mightn't otherwise at their local high school.
They form an excellent ensemble, for their age - and watching their recent concert on YouTube brought me back to similar experiences I had at All-State during my Midwestern youth. Most of these kids are on the verge of college and career decisions - and MAYJO is probably the closest any of them has gotten to tasting a real-life professional quality performance experience, which is always extra exciting at any age.
Have a listen
Metropolitan Area Youth Jazz Orchestra (MAYJO) Concert - February 24th 2021
Bringing your A-game every time
So as we talked through the strengths, as well as room for improvement, of various elements of their concert performance, I framed the conversation in terms of what specific shifts — in groove, in attitude, in musical/emotional intention, etc. — make the difference for a quality sustainable professional career in the performance arena.
Lead with your strengths — Keri's notes and comments while watching MAYJO's concert opener.
Comments and dialogue about each piece they'd performed was followed by Q&A which mostly centered around the choices they're facing in the coming months and years — pros and cons of music minors and/or majors... music business/engineering vs. performance... importance (or not?) of a 4-year degree...
As always - I aimed to lead with gentle-yet-brutal honesty, based on both my direct personal experience - as well as "what I wish they'd told me when I was your age". 😉
"Great job again today. This was a fun way to mix it up a little for my MAYJO kids! Thanks!" - Pete Madsen, Coordinator of Jazz Studies, University of Nebraska, Omaha