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Esperanza Spalding Re-Invents Young Jazz Education

Esperanza SpaldingIn a recent article by the LA Times bassist Esperanza Spalding revealed how she is teaching young children about jazz in new and engaging ways with band mate Leo Genovese. She has introduced free jazz improvisation to young children with a Cops & Robbers spin: Leo musician plays a lead, and Spalding tries to catch him – if she succeeds the kids clap.

Spalding had the following comment on her strategy: “So Leo will play a phrase and maybe it’s really crazy and I can’t follow him and I’ll go ‘Awww.’ And if he plays a phrase and I catch it and answer, they clap! They get it! That’s a very oversimplified version of what happens in the music and improvisation, but it’s also kind of the core of it. I feel like if a 5-year-old can get that … maybe something’s wrong with the way [free jazz] is being presented.”

As you know from our earlier report, Spalding has a new album coming out in August. After that her next project will be Radio Music Society an album scheduled for a 2011 release. Radio Music Society will explore her hip-hop, rock and funk influences.

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