Wednesday, March 29, 2017
   
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Great teachers make the difference for jazz camps

Jazz fans have decided what they liked most about jazz in Ottawa-Gatineau in 2013, in The OttawaJazzScene.ca Jazz Favourites Poll. These poll results are part of the complete report that OttawaJazzScene.ca is publishing this week.
Find out more about this poll and view all the results.

Favourite jazz camp: Carleton University Jazz Camp

Runner-up: JazzWorks Summer Jazz Workshop and Composers' Symposium

©Brett Delmage, 2010

How the poll defined this category: “A jazz camp is a multi-day/evening workshop that improves musicians' facility in playing jazz through intensive teaching and live performances with a variety of instrumentation and other players.”

The Carleton University Jazz Camp, which will mark its fifth anniversary this August, came out well ahead in votes over older camps in this category. The main reason stated: its faculty.

“The teachers are welcoming and friendly,” said one. “Incredible faculty every year, good location, great mix of class types,” said another. “Great faculty and program,” said a third.

“Great guest artists (Joel Frahm, André White) who gave inspiring masterclasses. Great concerts every night and getting to work in a small group under the direction of Joel was huge.”

The camp's in-town location – at the university, using its music department facilities and Kailash Mital theatre – was also appreciated by some: “It is cheaper and easier to get to,” said one. “So much opportunity to play, great location and facilities,” said another. One respondent appreciated its “strong Carleton University connection”.

The camp accepts musicians from age 13 up; attendees regularly include high school and university students through to more experienced musicians. “One of the best experience in all camps I went to. The best for all ages all levels,” said one former student. Another said that “both years I [attended] were extremely enjoyable.”

JazzWorks: "such a fun hang"

The runner-up, the JazzWorks Summer Jazz Workshop, celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. It has many loyal attendees who have returned year after year, and has encouraged a number of musicians to undertake professional careers.

Its faculty, which has remained relatively constant over the years, consists of experienced jazz musicians from Ottawa and other parts of Ontario and Quebec, with occasional guests from NYC. Again, they were a major plus for the camp: “Masterful teachers.” “Really great faculty.”

The camp is held at the CAMMAC Music Centre, in a rural location in Québec, a two-hour drive from Ottawa. Respondents praised its “open air atmosphere”, its campgrounds, and its “remote location”. One person described it as a “beautiful and inspiring venue.” Another said, “I love the setting at CAMMAC. Beautiful surroundings and comfortable accommodations and food.”

While older teenagers do attend, the camp is oriented towards adults, which several people appreciated. “It's for grown-ups mostly. And it's just such a fun hang. And you get to meet really amazing people.”

“The camp is wall to wall learning and having fun. I look forward to Jazz Camp every year.”

The enjoyable experience of playing with “passionate participants” was mentioned repeatedly. “Love the late night jams. It's my mini vacation every year.” “Great fun to be off site and make music with like minded people.”

But equally important was the opportunity to improve as a musician: “JazzWorks was essential in my development as a jazz vocalist.”

Bells Corners Jazz Camp: "more personal attention"

In OttawaJazzScene.ca interviews with young university-age musicians from Ottawa, the Bells Corners Academy of Music and its Summer Jazz Camp was cited as their introduction to jazz and to improvisation.

Commenters said this camp's smaller size meant that students received “more personal attention”, and appreciated its “lots of one-on-one time with the instructors”. One person noted that “Yves Laroche is really good at getting kids started on improvising.”

The Favourite jazz camp nominees

  • Bells Corners Academy of Music Jazz Camp [info]
  • Carleton University Jazz Camp [info]
  • JazzWorks Summer Jazz Workshop and Composers' Symposium [info]


   – Alayne McGregor and Brett Delmage

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