This 40 minute long session for children in the recital rooms at the Glasgow City Halls was pitched just right for the younger ones. Most of the kids attending were probably well below age 9 and attended with enthusiastic parents. As a parent I take my hat off to Glasgow Jazz Festival for having sessions such as this and other family friendly events in their programme. In the current climate of of cuts to music lessons in schools I feel affordable sessions like this are important to expose the young ones to as much live music and music education as possible so we went along.
Paul Towndrow and Michael Owers led this interactive session for children. The promise was they could take part in a fun-filled music lesson with two of the top jazz musicians on the Scottish music scene. Both Paul and Michael perform in multi-award winning four piece horn section Brass Jaw and are integral members of Scotland’s flagship jazz orchestra, The SNJO as well as being involved in other music projects. Towndrow has toured and performed with a wide range of artists including Ben E King, Jack Bruce and Martha Reeves, with Owers has played alongside the likes of Capercaillie, Hue and Cry and Texas.
We were treated to a potted history of the roots of jazz and told what improvisation is with excellent examples including a story about Spiderman stuck down a well! (You can see a short video of that here). We also learned about the different types of instruments that are popularly played by jazz musicians and we were treated to the story of the drum kit (which is a thing that jazz musicians invented apparently). Then the main, noisy attraction, getting to play the instruments! Some tips on how to use your mouth and facial muscles to get the correct position on the mouthpiece and we were off! There were a few naturals in the room and lots of effort and enthusiasm was displayed by the wee ones.