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Presidents' Letters


Remembering Ellis Marsalis

Remembering Ellis Marsalis by Todd Stoll Reprint by Wynton Marsalis This has been a tough couple of months for our jazz community.  Between extreme economic uncertainty, social and physical isolation, and the passing of a number of beloved figures, it feels like one unbearable thing after another. I do thoroughly believe we will get through […]

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Some thoughts on jazz adjudication

Some thoughts on jazz adjudication… by Todd Stoll I attend a lot of jazz festivals…especially those for high school jazz bands, the Essentially Ellington program alone has 23 this year, and while I don’t attend all of them, I do get to many, as well as a few others. I am always equal parts inspired, […]

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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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