“A weeklong holistic jazz workshop that incorporates meditation, yoga, and tai chi to enhance creativity” is how camp director Fred Haas (pictured) describes the innovative Interplay experience.
“Our approach engages the whole mind, body and spirit of the students and teachers as well,” Haas continues in a press release. Since the conception of the workshop 10 years ago, Interplay has grown from 18 students and seven faculty members in 1996 to close to 100 students and over 20 faculty members this year. In order to reduce the size of each session and maintain a more intimate atmosphere, Interplay is holding three separate workshops July 22-Aug. 5, located at the Endicott College campus in seaside Beverly, Mass. Beginning & Intermediate Improvisers runs July 22-25, the Jazz Vocal Workshop will be held July 26-29, and Intermediate & Advanced Improvisers runs July 30-Aug. 5.
On Haas’ official Web site, trumpet legend Clark Terry asserts, “You won’t find a more capable jazz player and teacher than Fred Haas.” A testament to the success of Interplay, over half of this year’s participants are returning students, and the majority of the faculty has been with Haas since the start of the program.
Haas notes the long- and short-term benefits of the program. “Students get nervous before performances and their heart rate goes up, and you can’t be creative in that state. At the workshops, students develop tools and techniques to reduce nervousness and become more in touch with their creativity. There are very positive long-term effects as well; students feel like healthier individuals,” he says.
Haas is also a teacher of jazz improvisation, jazz history, music theory, saxophone and jazz piano and directs several jazz combos at Dartmouth College. However, he feels his academic instruction is “not as intense as jazz camp where the sole purpose is to learn about jazz. Jazz camp is an all-encompassing experience where we often go from 6:30 a.m. to midnight. At school we have class for an hour and a half and then I don’t see my students for a couple of days.”