From philosophy, auditions, and lesson planning to improvisation and literature selection, this diverse group of nationally recognized educators at all levels discuss these topics and more. Each director practically walks you through a rehearsal! Whether you are a seasoned vocal jazz director or someone looking to get started, the authors’ concepts on running an outstanding vocal jazz program has something for everyone.
There are different vocal timbres that we expect to hear in different styles, and I believe that there are ways to produce a variety of sounds in a healthy way with sound technique.
Niles North High School, Skokie, IL
When starting a vocal jazz ensemble, I keep the literature on the easy side so concepts of style, tone, vibrato, balance, and blend can be focused on without pounding out notes.
Professional Composer and Arranger
As with any language, one of the fastest ways to learn about different styles, genres, and other idiosyncrasies is to immerse ourselves in the language.
Glenbrook South High School, Glenview, IL
I think of the audition process as a necessary means to help me ‘cast’ the ensemble.
Western Michigan University
My overall philosophy is that teaching jazz is extremely important. The creation of this music is unique to America, and it is imperative that we keep our youth informed.
We don’t really ever ‘finish’ a piece or arrangement, do we? We work on the repertoire and the music arrives to an artistic place.
University of Miami, Frost School of Music
Jazz is a genre that has to be primarily learned from listening. Exposing students to a wide variety of jazz and contemporary styles is one of the most important things we need to do.
—John Stafford II
Kansas City Kansas Community College
My jazz singers are the best music readers in the department, and I never do any sight singing with the jazz choirs. That is all done in the traditional choirs.
Fairview High School, Boulder, CO
It takes a good amount of work to achieve a unified sound; however, within working on the minute details and repetition, it is those moments of victory during the rehearsals that make it all worth it.
—Gaw Vang Williams
Sacramento State College
Vocal jazz encourages personal expression through which improvisation has become a hallmark trait of the genre.
Grass Valley Elementary School, Camas, WA