Thursday, February 18, 2010

This weekend: Arpeggio teaches kid-friendly Jazz!

The Junior Jazz Festival continues this weekend with loads of kid-friendly, interactive jazz performances! Read on for more details from Francis Coates, Music Coordinator at Please Touch Museum.

Pinky: Who is performing this weekend and what's their background?
Francis: This weekend's performer is no stranger to Please Touch Museum. Arpeggio Jazz Ensemble has been entertaining and educating the children of Philadelphia on Jazz for many years now. Warren Oree, the band leader, is a very accomplished musician. The group performs all over the country and all over the world. You can hear the influence of the different cultures and regions they have visited in the music they perform.

Pinky: How is the band adapting their music so it is kid-friendly and fun for the whole family?
Francis: The wonderful thing about Arpeggio is that they don't perform jazz standards. Most of the music performed is original music and is very positive and uplifting. A few featured selections from Arpeggio's Man Bites Dog album are "Joy Song" and "Better Than B-4," which are all super positive and kid-friendly, making them highly enjoyable for the entire family.

Pinky: How will kids be able to engage in the performances?
Francis: It all starts with movement. One of the things we all like to do when we hear good music whether it is Jazz, Rhythm & Blues, or Country is to clap our hands, tap our feet, or just get up and dance! Children and parents are encouraged to enjoy themselves during the performance by dancing in their seat, or in the designated dance areas in the theater. Music is for everyone to enjoy and Jazz is no exception. Also, Arpeggio really likes picking volunteers from the audience to come on stage and play different instruments so be prepared to have a short solo.

Pinky: How fun! I'd love to jam with Arpeggio! So how else are the performances interactive and educational?
Francis: Arpeggio does a great job of explaining basic concepts of jazz during the performance in ways that both children and adults can understand and retain. One of the ways Arpeggio starts their performances is by creating a new song right on stage. The audience is included in this process by either playing instruments distributed by the band, or clapping to a certain rhythm. This reinforces one of the main concepts of Jazz music, which is improvisation, and being able to create music right on the spot.

For more details about this weekend's and all other Jr. Jazz performances, click here.

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