Friday, 10 April 2009

Fwd: Simon's thoughts


I would like to respond to this, I do feel rather insulted. I was
offering a gig to the co-op to use as you see fit. It could have
featured workshop bands, and the whole lot of you on a couple of
charts like the one I did with you all. I wasn't suggesting you come
and play a few long notes on one of my tunes, therefore giving ME an
audience. There was no agenda, I was simply offering something to aim
for. My thoughts on the workshop as a learning vehicle are for the
benefit of the members. I have no interest in doing a season myself as
I don't have the time. I know of no other workshop that has two week
tutors, and quite frankly I don't feel it benefits the participants. I
have been doing the workshop for the past 9 years and i'm sorry to say
the level hasn't really changed by that much. You guys get a lot of
information, (some of it conflicting) and it lacks direction.

I fully realise the up side for the workshop of having different
tutors. It keeps things "fresh" and the "interest up" for the
participants. However I do feel Steve you have a tendency to pigeon
hole tutors, I refer to our conversation the first week. You mentioned
Terry does arrangements, I do Guide tones, Julian does pentatonics,
etc. This is rather one dimensional and on a personal level
patronising. For my part I bring five years of Jazz academia to the
table. Berklee, Leeds, Guildhall. Plus of course my playing
experience. I always give good value for money, come prepared and with
a lot to give (not a guide tone in sight this time) and for the most
part try to cater for all levels. But without a set goal, or an
overall direction it proves very difficult to give an honest,
informative two week session that is of any REAL value to the
participants. I am not going to stand in the middle of the room
recounting jazz anecdotes, and telling you all how fantastic you are,
its dishonest and not fair on you, me and more importantly the music.

Finally, I found it most interesting that when I first offered the gig
to the co-op, the chairman's priority was to hustle a gig for his own
band!! I have no shortage of high quality frontline players wanting to
do the gig, I felt it was a nice idea to feature BJC for a night, Tim
obviously did not. How many other tutors turn up with a program of
study, on time, overrun, and offer a gig?!!! (not one committee member
thanked me for the gig offer)

Whilst I realise this email means I wont be offered BJC again, I do
feel I couldn't not respond. Please forward to as many co-op members
as you think fit, or not...


1 comment:

Steve L said...


I'm sorry that you have decided to take offence. None was meant by anyone and an examination of what was said clearly indicates that no offence was intended. I do feel that you have a tendency some times to missinterpert things. For example the person that asked you for a gig for a Co-op band after you had made the offer(!) was not the committee chair and, even if he was, what difference does it make. You ran two good workshops and were both paid and applauded for them. The fact that you made a proposal to radically change what the BJMC does and it was not accepted is just democracy in action really. Not something to get offended over! I seriously doubt any of us would want to stop booking you. We are really up for a debate actually but lets keep it rational and not emotional as that is not in anyone's interest.

The comments about the different ideas that different tutors bring to the workshops were examples. They are all excellent ideas and of real value. I know that many members start to incorporate these ideas into their practice routines.

I have seen many players develop and often then move on to bands or more demanding environments. I could name you half a dozen jazz pros that started at the BJMC. Of course the overall standard is not going to change that much. The BJMC is not a band. It is a workshop and learning environment. It is one of several learning opportunities in the locality and the large attendances reflect that it fills a wanted niche. In fact I think the current standard is higher than it has been for several years but that does present newcomers to improvisation with a problem if we are only going to meet the needs of those players.

I think that there is a place for a practice band that caters for the more advanced players. This would need consistent tuition along the lines that you propose. Why not start one up? That's what other people like Simon D'Souza have done. I think there would be a lot of takers.

Best wishes