You see Music Teacher Lifestyle. I can’t know what were your experiences with your own music teachers, but you might be wondering…JazzDay? How?
So I came with the idea of creating a Jazz Timeline for you, but mostly for me :D. I would really like to observe the actual unfolding of it. This way, when I’m old and famous for revolutionising music education around the world 😉 and I’ll be interviewed about these beginnings, I’ll already have this draft.
I want to establish a context before lining up all the events:
- There are no other musicians in my family.
- I’ve been selected at kindergarten to join the music school examination to enter it starting first grade. I passed the test, I joined the music school (Liceul de Muzica si Arte Plastice “Sigismund Toduta” Deva). I had to choose between violin and piano. If I had chosen violin, the school would give me one to study on. I chose piano because I didn’t like the sound of the violin and couldn’t bear having it so close to my ear :D. That meant my parents were supposed to buy a piano. My family was poor.
- 2 years later my parents had the money to buy the piano and I didn’t have to walk to school anymore just to study (the school was a 30 minutes walk from home…come rain, come shine).
- I struggled a little, didn’t really feel driven by passion, as some of my classmates did, and I was pretty mediocre. But I succeeded at everything else.
- I managed to make it to high-school, mediocre as I was, but decided to switch to the Music Theory section, which meant piano was a secondary instrument for me and a lot of pressure was off. And this is where everything begins.
My jazz timeline
2001: So I’m 15 years-old, at the Music High-School, Theory was my main focus, piano was secondary and our high-school choir was blooming, but that’s another timeline :).
My piano teacher suggests we play a jazz standard at the exams instead of the Romantic piece… I say… whatever. We start reading the pieces, I start studying at home like never before: I’M HOOKED! The piano finally feels natural for my finger tips. I don’t freeze anymore at the recitals or at the exams.
My first jazz stardard was called JAZZ PIANO 31, that I later realised was “The More I See You”. The music sheet was extremely difficult, everything was written down, including the improvisation, it was so hard to read it and count.
I started listening Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington and Michel Petrucciani.
2002: My first jazz concert was before I was 16. My piano teacher was playing the bass and he had a drummer friend accompany us, me and my other school mates that were involved in the project.
2004: There was also a second jazz concert held in a club…I don’t think I was 18 yet :D. That was fun! I know I have the recordings somewhere, I remember watching them…I have to do something about it ;).
2005: I finish school and I sign up for the Music Academy in Cluj. I don’t know what I want to be, but I know I don’t want to be a teacher…being a teacher is lame…I’m signing up to study Music Composition, because that’s cooler.
I had to catch up a lot, but now I was driven. The teachers were so awesome and so passionate, they made you want to be awesome and passionate. So I got awesome.
I signed up for the jazz module, but didn’t feel the passion and couldn’t afford to waste time with it, since I was a composition student, so I dropped it. But all my free time was lightly entertained by Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Louis Armstrong and so many others.
2007: I’m in my 3rd in year in college (3rd out of 4) and we get a new classmate that joins Music Composition. Everyone whispers about how good he is and that he plays jazz also. I used to be the best until he showed up…now he’s the best…I’m intrigued. And I am also the only one that has to guide him through our schedule. Long story short: I’ve been guiding him through the schedule every day since :D…I know, you’d think he’d get the schedule by now :)).
In between his various jazz collaborations, rehearsals, concerts and competitions and our degree exams, I get to practice teaching in a music school: I’m awesome and natural, like you don’t see much, I feel like I belong there, the pupils love me for it, I love being loved for it, it’s a match made in heaven. Teaching it is!
2009: I sign up for Master and get a job at a private international school.
2011: We get to perform for the first time together at the school’s annual charity ball. Performing jazz in front of an audience is not for me…my singing is fine, but there’s no thrill to it…not for me.
2011: My Master’s degree work is a musical composition that fusions between jazz and contemporary music. I’m very proud of it :). My teacher loved it.
2013: We move to Bucharest and I start working at a private kindergarten…was a little bored, I wasn’t as challenged as I was used to be, so I start the Jazz in Kindergarten project. I gather the best voices in the kindergarten and we rock the stages of Bucharest in competitions or just celebrating Jazz Day.
I wrote two jazz songs for the first Jazz Day concert and performed them myself, among other jazz standards…people seemed to love my songs, I hope to record them and let you all listen. I put together Kids Jazz Day concerts in 2014 and 2015; Kids Christmas concerts (that were also jazzy-ish) in 2014 and 2015.
You can check out my first competition with them here. Yes…of course we won, everyone else was singing about duckies :D, they didn’t stand chance!
2016: I quit my job, I started to focus on finding a new and better one, and on this blog.
The demo lesson I prepared for the next school I’ll be working for starting September featured “Porgy & Bess” by Gershwin and we ended the lesson learning Summertime.
I started the Jazz Appreciation Month and came up with hosting this event after receiving great feedback from you, guys.
So…here we are, 15 years later, still hooked to jazz :).