Resources for Learning Jazz
Down here in the Home Counties there are many resources for the aspiring jazz musician. This agency is based in Brighton, and in this town alone I can think of several jazz schools.
Pianist Wayne McConnell runs Brighton Jazz School, which runs courses for beginners on various instruments. Here’s Wayne’s description of what his core aims are:
“Brighton Jazz School is a self funding, community based arts organisation that provides year-round musical, educational and cultural courses and events to anyone who is interested. Our students are from diverse backgrounds and all ages and abilities. We provide a supportive, encouraging and fun learning environment to anyone who has an interest in the art of jazz improvisation. Pianist Wayne McConnell founded the school as a means to help develop the jazz scene in Brighton and beyond.
We provide high quality physical and online courses that have the sole purpose of making you a more authentic improviser. We are not an academic institution but rather a vocational one. Our ‘learn-by-doing’ approach ensures that you achieve your goals in a fun and supportive environment with direct application of learnt skills. The emphasis across all of our courses is that students understand, respect and apply the rich cultures that make up jazz. Jazz teaches us so much, not just about music but about how to live life with more diversity, acceptance, mindfulness, and happiness. It also helps us to live being comfortable with not knowing what the future holds. It teaches us how to problem solve and improvise solutions as we face important but unexpected situations in life.
In addition to our two main courses: Learn to Play (Tuesdays, 11am & 6pm) and Jazz Weekenders (Saturdays 11am & 2pm) we run regular masterclasses with top visiting jazz musicians. Recently we have had: Geoffrey Keezer, Joe Locke, Cathy Segal Garcia, Tim Garland, Jacob Collier and more. We also run regular jazz weekend courses for those who cannot commit to a weekly course.
Another Brighton resident, Paul Richards, runs a jazz guitar course:
“My course gives students a structured approach to learning jazz guitar. Covering all aspects of of playing, including chord melody, building lines etc. They explore a concept in depth each session and rinse it for all its worth. I provide countless ways of practicing it to make practice fun & rewarding. Learn more here http://paulrichardsguitar.com/sussex-jazz-guitar-school/ “
Brighton Jazz Co-op runs a weekly course too. Here’s some info http://brightonjazzco-op.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1
Jason Henson is a Brighton guitarist who teaches privately. He’s accomplished in the fields of be-bop, swing and gypsy jazz. Contact him via his site at http://jasonhensonguitar.com/
Further west popular gypsy swing guitarist Jonny Hepbir is teaching young hopefuls on Skype, cos he’s all modern an’ that. Here’s a pertinent link http://jonnyhepbir.co.uk/gypsy-jazz-guitar-lessons/
There are many resources across the land, and indeed the world, for aspiring jazz musicians. YouTube has a plethora of informative instructional videos, mostly free. If you really want to get into it I would recommend finding a professional teacher, somebody who can be a mentor, listen to as many records and gigs as possible, and transcribe the things that inspire you. If you have your own tuition program, tell us about it and we’ll fit you into our blog. Thanks for reading!