Alaska Jazz Workshop

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About Alaska Jazz Workshop


Alaska Jazz Workshop-AJW
Mission and History
The Alaska Jazz Workshop is a non-profit arts and service organization founded in 2000 to
cultivate a support and educational system for jazz music and increase the community awareness of jazz music. It’s mission is to provide music education and performance opportunities, and to network and complement programs offered by other jazz organizations in communities throughout Alaska. The AJW provides music education resources not available elsewhere in Alaska to underserved communities of music students seeking to further their knowledge of music and jazz improvisation beyond their initial exposure to music in the public schools. The AJW programs encourage students to develop imaginative thinking, creativity, a positive self image, teaming skills, and a respect for the diverse cultural heritages in Alaska and around the world.

The Alaska Jazz Workshop idea was started by John Damberg and Kerry Maule the
Summer of 1995 as the Small Combo Jazz Improvisation Class. They wanted to provide a means to share their love and passion for the great American art form of Jazz with the future generations of potential jazz lovers. They knew that the art form of Jazz emphasizes self expression, working together as a musical collective to create something that is artistically inspiring, a deep understanding of the language of music through the study of music theory , ear training and an appreciation of the rich culture and history of Jazz music. The initial classes were such a success that John and Kerry decided to offer the classes on a year round basis at UAA on Friday afternoons. So the jazz classes have been running consistently on a year round basis since the summer of 1995. The workshop classes have provided an opportunity for over 2000 Middle and High School students to expand their creative and musical skills while networking with other like minded and impassioned music students. The student combos, which give regular concerts open to the public, have continued to develop the appreciation for jazz music in Alaska.

Class offerings
Small Jazz Combo Improvisation classes for Middle and High School students are held at the UAA Arts Building in rented classroom space during the school year on Friday afternoons from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Beginning, intermediate, and advanced sections are offered. Students work in small groups of 6-10 members. They mentor with Alaska Jazz Master artists/educators including: John Damberg, Kerry Maule, Mark Manners, Karl Wilhelmi, Rick Zelinsky, Andy Mullen, Don Cosgrove, Bob Andrews, and Dirk Westfall. Topics covered include: basic to advanced improvisation skills development, music theory, song forms, Jazz History, repertoire, teaming skills, and developing music business skills. Students perform two concerts per semester during the school year.

July and August
One Week Summer Intensive Jazz Camps
Featuring internationally acclaimed guest artists including: Bobby Shew, Michael Davis, Denis Diblasio, Oscar Stagnaro, Allison Miller, Carl Saunders, Jovino Santos Neto, Barney McClure, Peggy Stern, Jon Goforth, Joshua Davis, Mimi Fox, Paul Lucas, and Nadine Shanti. Middle and High School students receive 20 hours of instruction four hours per day Monday through Friday in small combo settings from the guest artist and the Alaska Jazz Master Artists listed above. Student groups are featured in a Friday evening Student Recital and the guest jazz artist is featured in the Saturday evening Instructors Recital. These concerts are open to the general public and are well attended. The average attendance for the Student Recitals ranges from 80-125 people. The attendance for the Instructors Recital ranges from 150-245 people. Classes and concerts are held at the UAA Arts Building.

Alaska Jazz Workshop joined the JazzTimes community on Feb 09, 2011