The Powers Jazz Project Picks Up Where Schools Leave Off

The Powers Jazz Project Picks Up Where Schools Leave Off

From Powers faculty member Todd Brunel:

The Powers Jazz Project is a unique jazz opportunity for students to dive into a full immersion chamber music setting where they learn improvisation skills and jazz repertoire. We encourage all instruments to apply, especially strings and winds who are not given this option in their schools. There are two ensembles - Ensemble A is for those who have never played in a jazz combo before who want to dive into this thing called jazz, while Ensemble B is a more advanced class for those who have experience in jazz projects, but are looking for a more intimate chamber jazz experience. In both ensembles, we play music, we learn about chords and scales, and we work on exercises designed to help encourage creativity in music.

Many of the high school and middle school jazz programs seem to have forgotten great jazz violinists like Stephan Grapelli or Ray Nance and great jazz clarinetists like Benny Goodman or Barney Brigard. There are great jazz musicians who play cello, french horn, oboe and of course the instruments we widely associate with jazz bands, saxophones, trumpets, guitars and percussion. What if your music student had an opportunity to play in a group with all of these instruments?

The most powerful music today comes from smaller groups where the individual is heard and recognized for their creativity and that is what we encourage at Powers.

There are many benefits to an early jazz education. If you have classical training, a background in jazz training can help you utilize the etudes, scale and arpeggio exercises to express your music in a whole new way. When you understand that jazz musicians also use patterns to develop their solos, a lot of the mystery is removed. It is this kind of examination of music that helps students recognize chord structures (like dominant 7th chords) in the classical pieces they play and to play stylistically different. The jazz tradition embraces syncopation (or emphasis on the weak part of the beat) and “swing” style creates a whole different idiomatic musical approach. Jazz training is encouraged in every major university that has a music program and students of jazz have tremendous love and passion for music. Developing improvisation skills is fun, exciting and is slightly irreverent to the mainstream musical establishment.

If your music student is looking for an exciting musical adventure, an opportunity to start a new musical journey or to cultivate their jazz talent, The Powers Jazz Project is here. For more information about the Powers Jazz Project, contact Todd Brunel at


PO Box 398 Belmont, MA 02478  |  Phone: 617.484.4696  

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