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  • Writer's pictureVictor Haskins

Improvisation workshop for Winter Blues Jazz Festival 2023

A couple Saturdays ago I presented an improvisation workshop for the Winter Blues Jazz Festival—it is entitled The Storyteller’s Approach to Improvisation. As with any teaching situation, I never give a boilerplate lecture—I always address everyone where they are. That, in turn, allows everyone in attendance to get something valuable (including the onlookers/nonparticipants).

This was another situation where a bunch of skills I have learned/taught myself over the years came to be valuable—we had two young trombone players from Jamestown High School who needed an introduction to the blues, so we dealt with that, along with practice techniques. We had a pianist digging into ideas about how to flow more. My phone camera died before capturing a bassist who was discovering the function of the bass in an ensemble/conversation. And finally, someone whose New Year’s resolution is to learn to play the trumpet, which she brought to the workshop…however, she *almost* left and didn’t play at all because of nerves, but thankfully, Robert Walters (aka blues musician Bobby Blackhat) caught her and encouraged her to come participate. Lucky for her that she did, because she got to leave the workshop understanding the proper way to breathe, form an embouchure, and make a nice starting sound on the trumpet.

Good times sharing knowledge and experiences!

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