Glenville, W.Va. – Glenville State College Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Woodwinds and Jazz Studies, Dr. Jason Barr, will be published in an upcoming issue of Teaching Music, a magazine that provides music educators with a forum to collaborate and become more effective teachers.
Barr’s article, which is set to appear in the spring issue, discusses the importance of incorporating improvisation into jazz band rehearsals. “Many college jazz bands, restricted by short rehearsal time and the need to prepare music for a concert each semester, often must forgo instruction in the most fundamental part of jazz, which is improvisation. This article introduces and describes a very brief warm-up that helps to not only teach jazz improvisation but also to reinforce swing style and articulation,” said Barr.
The warm-up that Barr writes about in his article is one that he developed specifically for the Glenville State College Jazz Band. “Most of our students come from small band programs and ours is the first jazz band they ever participated in. Jazz/improvisation performance, history, and composition make up a significant part of the music education standards for public schools all across the country, so it is crucial that our music education students learn effective methods with which to teach these concepts once they are directing their own school jazz bands. That is what this exercise is designed to do,” said Barr.
Recalling the words of his former saxophone professor, Dr. Bingham, Barr stresses the importance of always focusing on the students. “Everything we (educators) do is for the students. Rewards and accolades are all nice, but always make sure your priority is the students.”
Teaching Music is released quarterly and is one of several different periodicals published by the National Association for Music Education.
Before coming to GSC in 2011, Barr had accumulated over fifteen years of experience as part of the house band for the Myrtle Beach House of Blues. In addition to his work in the Department of Fine Arts, he has previously hosted performances and historical discussions of jazz and different styles of playing at the Gilmer County Historical Society.