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Presidents' Letters


Community

Community by Todd Stoll Let’s talk about “community.” Google defines community as a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common. Additionally, it is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals. When I was young, about 11 or 12 […]

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Dave Brubeck: 20th Century American

Dave Brubeck: 20th Century American by Darius Brubeck December 6, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of Dave Brubeck’s birth in Concord, California. He died at his home in Wilton, Connecticut a day short of his 92nd birthday, having lived for most of the twentieth century. Visitors to the Jazz Education Network Annual Conference in New […]

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TEACHING IMPROVISATION

TEACHING IMPROVISATION by Todd Stoll As I meet with jazz educators around the country, my go to question is, “what is the one thing that would help you be more effective teaching our music”? Ninety percent of the time the response is, “how do I teach improvisation”? This question is always a bit puzzling to […]

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ARE WE DOING THIS ALL WRONG?

Are We Doing This All Wrong? by Todd Stoll For those of us who work in jazz, whether it’s performing, teaching, advocating, or retail sales, we hear or say “how’d did they sound” at least ten times a day. We can be referring to bands, individuals, auditions, gigs, solos, recordings, videos; the list goes on […]

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JAZZ CONDUCTING

Jazz Conducting by Todd Stoll  As the new school year begins and aspiring musicians head back to the classroom, the air is full of the anticipation and enthusiasm one would expect. Directors have programmed their year full of great music to be heard at concert performances, festivals and competitions. My mind goes to the part […]

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WHY DON’T WE TEACH LOUIS ARMSTRONG?

WHY DON’T WE TEACH LOUIS ARMSTRONG? by Todd Stoll Why don’t we teach Louis Armstrong? Nearly 20 years ago, after attending a lecture commemorating the centennial of the birth of Louis Armstrong, I asked a very well-regarded trumpet player and a renowned scholar, why don’t we teach Louis Armstrong? “Well..” he stammered, “it’s just too […]

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DIVERSITY

DIVERSITY by Todd Stoll A year ago, my second President’s letter addressed a topic I feel is vital to the future of our music and our country; diversity. Unlike my eleven other messages, it was met with a deafening silence; I received only two communications from colleagues in support of (or against) my position. Part […]

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TAKE YOURSELF TO SUMMER CAMP!

TAKE YOURSELF TO SUMMER CAMP! by Todd Stoll Ahhhh…warmer weather, sunshine, languid days, kids heading off — all signs that summer is just about here! While perusing a popular jazz magazine, I noticed there were almost 25 pages of summer camps for students.  That’s an amazing resource for musicians with a desire to improve their […]

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SOME THOUGHTS ON JAZZ COMPETITIONS

SOME THOUGHTS ON JAZZ COMPETITIONS by Todd Stoll It feels a little odd to be discussing competitions in the days right before I host one of the most competitive and perhaps well-known events in the country, Essentially Ellington. Or maybe it’s perfect.  I’ve experienced almost every level of participation at our jazz competitions, from “loser” […]

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WHY TEACH JAZZ?

WHY TEACH JAZZ? by Todd Stoll Happy National Jazz Appreciation Month! I encourage all of our members to go to the JAM website to find ways to celebrate and share the music we support and love. Our close friend and colleague, John Hasse,  Curator Emeritus of American Music at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History […]

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