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York Music Forum Big Band Fusion Workshop and Concert 02-04 August 2021

We're delighted to announce our Big Band Fusion Workshop

What is it?

The Big Band Fusion Workshop is an opportunity for young musicians to learn together, rehearse and perform some very cool music. They will also have an awful lot of fun over the 3 days of the Workshop!

The aim for the concert is to perform an hour long set of 8 or 9 pieces with accuracy, sophistication and energy.

The workshop will be led by Ian Chalk. Ian has headed up the YMF Jazz Education Programme since it began. The YMF Jazz Education Programme was a finalist in the 2019 Music Teacher Awards for Excellence (Outstanding Musical Initiative category).

The YMF Jazz Orchestra performing at the Royal Albert Hall, Music For Youth Proms 2018

The music for the workshop has been specifically arranged by Ian so you'll be playing arrangements never played or heard before!

When is it?

It's over 3 days commencing on 02 August 2021 culminating with a concert showcasing everything we've achieved during the workshop.

Where is it?

We're thrilled that the workshop is being hosted by Manor CE Academy in Nether Poppleton, York.

We'll be based in the spacious Assembly Hall which has banked seating so ideal for the Wednesday evening concert.

Who's the Workshop for?

It's suitable for any young musician (secondary school age up to age 21) who plays their instrument at an approximate standard of Grade 4/5 or above.

The style of music we'll be playing in the workshop means a much wider range of instrument can be accommodated than in a more traditional Big Band so any of the following:

  • Any brass instrument
  • Any woodwind instrument
  • Any guitars/ bass guitars (notation, tab or chord symbols)
  • Any piano/keyboard players (especially keen on synth players!) - notation or chord symbol readers
  • Drummers/percussionists (we've congas/ lots of hand-percussion and any vibes/marimba players would be a dream!)
  • Strings - violin, viola, cello (haven't written any strings into the scores yet but very happy to do so if the opportunity presents itself)

The music allows space for jazz improvisation but not everyone will feel able to do that and that's completely fine. There will still be lots to get your musical teeth into.

How will it work?

By early July everyone who has reserved a place will receive a link to a Preparation Pack for each tune to help them get ready for the workshop. Given the challenging year we've all faced we're really aware that many young musicians are not feeling particularly 'match-fit' at the moment and the workshop has been designed with that in mind. The musical arrangements have been written in a way that every young musician should be able to get through the days and concert even if they've had something of a break in their playing.

The 'Preparation Pack' includes the following:

  • Individual instrumental parts (including leadsheets, TAB and chord sheets for rhythm section players)
  • Information about the composition and composer
  • A playalong track for those who'd like to practice their improvisation prior to the workshop plus chord sheets
  • The 'Online Mixing Desk' for that tune

What's an 'Online Mixing Desk'?

The 'Online Mixing Desk' is a technology we've developed which allows musicians to become familiar with new material very quickly. It's viewed in a browser and is laid out as a studio audio mixing desk with the demo of the tune preloaded into the mixing desk. Each channel will correspond with a section in the Big Band (brass, woodwind, rhythm etc.) and each channel can be muted/soloed so you can hear just one section or a combination so you can hear exactly how your part should be played/phrased and how it fits with the rest of the band. There's a click track for the pulse (which can be muted) and faders so you can create and download your own mix. It's great fun to play along to and brilliant preparation for the Workshop and will help attendees get back in musical shape.

Preparing for the workshop means we can focus on creating a wonderful tight band ready for the concert.

How much does it cost?

The cost for the 3 days is £120.00 and is payable in advance of the workshop commencing. We'll send you an invoice shortly before and you can pay online very easily.

We hope to be able to offer some subsidised places for young people who benefit from Pupil Premium or receive free school meals. There's an opportunity to tell us about that on the registration form.

How do I register my child?

You can register by clicking on the button below and completing the form.

What's Fusion?

'Jazz fusion' (also known as 'jazz-rock') is a music genre that developed in the late 1960s when musicians combined jazz harmony and improvisation with rock music, funk, and rhythm and blues. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and keyboards that were popular in rock and roll started to be used by jazz musicians, particularly those who had grown up listening to rock and roll.

As with jazz, jazz fusion employs brass and woodwind instruments such as trumpet and saxophone, but other instruments often substitute for these. A jazz fusion band is less likely to use piano and double bass, and more likely to use electric guitar, synthesizers, and bass guitar.

The term 'jazz rock' is sometimes used as a synonym for 'jazz fusion' and for music performed by late 1960s and 1970s-era rock bands that added jazz elements to their music. After a decade of popularity during the 1970s, fusion expanded its improvisatory and experimental approaches through the 1980s in parallel with the development of a radio-friendly style called smooth jazz. Experimentation continued in the 1990s and 2000s. Fusion albums, even those that are made by the same group or artist, may include a variety of musical styles. Rather than being a codified musical style, fusion can be viewed as a musical tradition or approach.