10am - 12.30 with breaks
12.30 - 1.30pm
Tutor Performance and Q&A
1.30 - 2.15pm
2.30pm - 4.00pm
How much experience should I have?
Our workshop is aimed at improvers/intermediate level jazz musicians. You do need to be able to find your way around your instrument (so equivalent to Grade 3 level for those who have done grades). The tutors are adept at arranging the music so that everyone can play at their level and stretch themselves.
To ensure you get the most out of this course please give us as much information as possible about yourself on the booking form, together with your tutor preferences if you have any. If you are worried about whether you are good enough, please give us a ring to chat it over. We want everyone to enjoy themselves and stay the course.
The week will broadly incorporate the following:
For part of the week you’ll be put into a group of up to ten musicians, consisting of rhythm section and frontline. Tutors teach you various tunes in a variety of styles – these may be standards or ones you write as a group. There will also be time spent on how to construct solos and on practising soloing. A few tunes will be chosen for the final performance.
Instrument Specific Session
Each of the tutors will teach a session targeted specifically at improving your jazz playing techniques on your instrument. So sax players will get tips on breath control, sneaky alternative fingerings that can make life easier, developing fluency. We bring in external tutors for piano and drums as well as for any other instrument not covered by our tutors (in the past this has been for violin, viola, cello, vibes).
We focus two of the sessions specifically on your improvisation skills. Each of the tutors teach these sessions on a specific topic - so in the past these have included sessions titled Hone your Latin Rhythms, Developing a melodic line, New Orleans style, Scat Singing, Soloing over the Blues. The hard part is choosing which ones you want to go to.
Jam Sessions (New for 2024)
We are introducing afternoon Jam sessions this year. These will be in your groups but will be run by a different tutor each day. You'll play simple tunes that are quick to pick up and improvise over.
Tutor Performance and Question and Answer sessions
Each of the tutors will present a musically illustrated talk about an aspect of jazz or performance that they are interested in. These have proved very popular and are a wonderful way to appreciate how professionals tackle jazz as well as easing everyone into the afternoon session.
If you are feeling particularly creative you have the chance to enter our Composition Competition during the workshop. The tutors will judge the entries and will arrange and play the winning piece during the Friday night performance
Friday Night Performance
We will hold the Friday evening performance at the beautiful Oaken Grove Vineyard, just outside Henley (see photograph below). This promises to be a magical evening where we will enjoy food and drink together with friends and family, listening to each group's best pieces. The tutors will also perform a short set to round the night off, including a performance of the winning piece from our composition competition.
What happens next?
Friendships and musical contacts formed during the workshop often last well beyond the final day. Bands are formed, jam sessions created and gigs put on. Liz and Carol are always happy to pass on information about gig dates and venues to all who have signed up to the participant mailing list. You are sure to bump into Henley Jazz Workshop alumni at many a jazz event in the locality.