Birch Creek Online: Studio Sessions

Whether you are a music student preparing for a musical career, an amateur musician wanting to learn more, or a professional musician wanting to glean from cohorts in the trenches, Birch Creek’s studio sessions will provide current, relevant and important information for you! These one-hour instructional Zoom sessions are tailored for today’s student and adult musicians and are taught by Birch Creek’s nationally and internationally known professional musicians. You will take away valuable insights and practical tips regardless of your musical genres.

Jazz Studio Series
Featuring Birch Creek’s Big Band Jazz Session Faculty

Register for All (4) Jazz Studio Sessions – save $20

From Artifacts to Artistry in Jazz

Todd Williams | Tenor Saxophonist, Clarinetist, Flautist, Clinician, Composer, Professor
Known for recordings and live performances with Wynton Marsalis’ Quintet, Septet and Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra | Performed at nearly every prestigious venue from the White House to Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl

Saturday, October 24, 2020 | 10:00 AM (CST)

Register Now

Select blue bar below for description and full bio.

October 24 - From Artifacts to Artistry in Jazz with Todd Williams

Presenter:  Todd Williams, tenor saxophonist, clarinetist, flautist, clinician, composer, professor

Description:  Learn about the essential musical contributions of America’s past found in today’s jazz music.

Williams will discuss:

  • the “ways of jazz expression”
  • how we came to know jazz as a distinct style
  • some of the influences which have shaped our current musical expression

This will be an exciting exploration into some of the key musical ingredients which give us the jazz sound!

Todd Williams hails from among the finest woodwind artists in today’s music scene. As such he is sought as a saxophonist, clarinetist, flautist and clinician. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Education at Indiana Wesleyan University where he serves as director of the IWU Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Combo, and many other duties. Williams has appeared as a guest lecturer and conductor for the Juilliard Jazz Orchestra, and he is currently pursuing his doctoral degree in music education at the Jacob School of Music, Indiana University. Originally known for his saxophone and clarinet work with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Septet and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Williams has been honored with such positions as Assistant Professor at Queens College in New York City and Music Director of Times Square Church where he has penned a wide variety of contemporary gospel choral works. His flagship composition, “We Proclaim Him,” has been a featured international favorite since 2003. The same may be heard, among other originals, on the TSC Music label. Todd has performed at most every prestigious venue in the U.S. and abroad from multiple performances at the White House to Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl. He has been a featured artist in most of Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Canada, Mexico and South America. Extensive recordings with Marsalis decorate his list of accomplishments as well as guest appearances with such artists as Sir Roland Hanna, Harry Connick, Jr., Jon Hendricks, Scotty Barnhart, Terrell Stafford, Jon Faddis, Jeff Hamilton, Marcus Roberts, Michael Mossman, The Newburgh Symphony Orchestra, The Marion Philharmonic, Darin Atwater, Slide Hampton, and Grammy Award winner, Christian McBride. Williams is a four-time recipient of ASCAP’s Plus Award for Composers. His latest jazz recording, Lift Up Your Heads, is now available at CD Baby, Barnes & Noble, as well as Amazon.  www.toddmaxmusic.com

Register Now:  From Artifacts to Artistry in Jazz – 10/24/2020

$35 per session; $120 for all four jazz sessions (save $20)

Limited to 100 people on Zoom. High Speed internet required, and for the best experience at least an 11” tablet or laptop. If you use a tablet or phone, download the free Zoom app. A Zoom link will be provided after registering for the class(es). Classes are live at 10 a.m. CST. The link will be live 10 minutes prior to the start time to allow for timely class admittance. Be sure to mute yourself upon entry to the Zoom site.

From the Practice Room to the Stage: How to Play a Solo Like a Pro

Doug Stone | Saxophonist, Teacher, Composer, Arranger, Professor
Toured with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and his Big Bop Nouveau Band | Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at LSU

Saturday, October 31, 2020 | 10:00 AM (CST)

Register Now

Select blue bar below for class description and full bio.

October 31 - From Practice Room to the Stage: How to Play a Solo Like a Pro with Doug Stone

Presenter:  Doug Stone, saxophonist, teacher, composer, arranger, professor

Description: In this presentation you will learn one jazz tune, live and in real time, using a systematic approach that can be transferred to any other tune. You will learn the melody and harmonic material related to the tune and be offered several strategies for improvisation. Every step of the process is transferable to hundreds of tunes!

  • learn a tune and play a solo, starting from scratch and finishing like a pro
  • use this systematic approach to learn any jazz tune
  • for jazz enthusiasts of all ages and ability levels; students and teachers are welcome

Doug Stone’s career has involved work as a touring musician, primarily with jazz trumpet legend Maynard Ferguson and his band, the Big Bop Nouveau, as well as with the “world-jazz” group Panoramic, and with a number of ensembles from Chicago, Illinois. His time on the road has taken him to virtually every corner of the United States as well as Asia, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada. As a member of groups at Northern Illinois University, Stone had the opportunity to perform with Frank Foster, Benny Golson, Frank Wess, Jimmy Heath, Rufus Reid, Larry Ridley, and Carl Allen. As a member of the Birch Creek Academy Band he has performed with jazz luminaries Dennis Mackrel, Harold Jones, Derrick Gardner, Tanya Darby, Reggie Thomas, and Clay Jenkins. He spent six years working full-time as a freelance saxophonist and woodwind player, teacher, composer, and arranger in the rich musical environment of Chicago. Stone can be heard on recordings from the Sam Craine Quartet, the Dave Hoffman Sextet, the NIU Jazz  Ensemble and Jazztet, the Jazz Arranging Syndicate, Birch Creek Academy Big Band, the Ed Breazeale Group, the Ji Young Lee Quartet, the Stuart Mindeman Group, the Ian Torres Big Band, the John Burnett Orchestra, Panoramic, Quintopus, the Rick Holland Little Big Band, the Rich Thompson Quartet and Trio, the Westview Project, the John Nyerges Quintet, the Bob DiBaudo ensemble, the Eric Schmitz Sextet, and the Tom Marko ensemble. Stone has four recordings to his credit as a co-bandleader: Doug Stone/Josiah Williams “The Early Riser”, Stone/Ziemba Duo “In the Zone”, Nick Fryer/Doug Stone “Quartet”, and The Stone/Bratt Big Band “SBBB”.  www.dougstonejazz.com

Register Now: From the Practice Room to the Stage – 10/31/2020

$35 per session; $120 for all four jazz sessions (save $20)

Limited to 100 people on Zoom. High Speed internet required, and for the best experience at least an 11” tablet or laptop. If you use a tablet or phone, download the free Zoom app. A Zoom link will be provided after registering for the class(es). Classes are live at 10 a.m. CST. The link will be live 10 minutes prior to the start time to allow for timely class admittance. Be sure to mute yourself upon entry to the Zoom site.

Getting a Grip on Harmony for the Improviser

David Bixler | Saxophonist, Composer, Educator
Host of podcast Liner Notes with David Bixler | Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green University

Saturday, November 7, 2020 | 10:00 AM (CST)

Register Now

For “Student Bundle” pricing ($100 for up to 10 students) and registration, you must call 920-868-3763 or send an email to registrar@birchcreek.org.

Select blue bar below for class description and full bio.

November 7 - Getting a Grip on Harmony for the Improviser with David Bixler

Presenter:  David Bixler, saxophonist, composer, educator

Description: This session will help an individual that is at the beginning of their jazz journey to understand common harmony that is encountered as an improviser. The amount of harmonic information in front of a young musician can be overwhelming and this session will focus on recognizing, both aurally and theoretically, common harmonic formulae.

Participants will be equipped to:

  • reframe the study of harmony
  • turn harmony study from drudgery to a gateway to freedom as an improviser

Alto saxophonist and composer David Bixler has recently embarked on an artistic reemergence with the release of two new recordings; In the Face of Chaos (2019) with Bixler, Boccato, Cowherd, and Sturm, and Blended Lineage (2020) with the Bixtet. A traumatic brain injury suffered by his youngest son necessitated a shift in Bixler’s priorities during the last decade – a period in which his family devoted much of its energy to the care of its youngest member. Through this new lens, Bixler’s repurposed creative approach is evident in his most recent output. For the recording In the Face of Chaos, Bixler has assembled a band that understands the message of resilience and hope despite the odds that this music was intended to convey. Pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Ike Sturm and percussionist Rogerio Boccato are sensitive interpreters of Bixler’s music. Their combined effort produces music that is challenging for the listener without being afraid to embrace its beauty.

Blended Lineage, a four-movement work for nine musicians includes trumpeter Mike Rodriguez, pianist Jon Cowherd, bassist Luke Sellick, percussionist Fabio Rojas, and a string quartet comprised of violinists Judith lngolfsson, Heather Martin Bixler, violist Josh Kail, and cellist Rubin Kodheli. This piece is the product of a commission addressing the concept of modem-day tribes. Because the word “tribe” can appear divisive, Bixler framed the concept from the point of view that we all have groups or tribes to which we belong. The exercise of identifying these tribes is the first step in breaking down the barriers that separate them and finding where they intersect. In his piece, Bixler identifies four tribes of which he is a member: the human race, a Wisconsinite, a musician, and those who recognize the spiritual as a reality of life, and the music serves as a reflection of each of these four groups. The first piece, Origins, is written for the beauty and diversity that exists through all of humanity. Motherland is an homage to his native Wisconsin. Trenches is dedicated to the musicians in NYC who choose musical rewards over monetary ones. My Soul Swoons Softly, the final piece, takes its title from James Joyce’s, The Dead, and is a reflection on the Divine existence beyond what can be seen and touched. Bixler is the host of Liner Notes with David Bixler, a new podcast centered on conversations with jazz musicians as well as serving as Director of Jazz Studies at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. As both a Selmer and Vandoren Artist he is active as a clinician and performer throughout the world. Bixler and his family reside in New York City.  www.davidbixler.com

Register Now:  Getting a Grip on Harmony – 11/7/2020

$35 per session; $120 for all four jazz sessions (save $20)

Limited to 100 people on Zoom. High Speed internet required, and for the best experience at least an 11” tablet or laptop. If you use a tablet or phone, download the free Zoom app. A Zoom link will be provided after registering for the class(es). Classes are live at 10 a.m. CST. The link will be live 10 minutes prior to the start time to allow for timely class admittance. Be sure to mute yourself upon entry to the Zoom site.

The Blues and Other Compositional Elements in Improvisation

Clay Jenkins | Trumpeter, Educator
Eastman School of Music, Professor of Jazz Studies & Contemporary Media and Trumpet Instructor  | Toured with big bands of Buddy Rich and Count Basie Orchestra

Saturday, November 14, 2020 | 10:00 AM (CST)

Register Now

For “Student Bundle” pricing ($100 for up to 10 students) and registration, you must call 920-868-3763 or send an email to registrar@birchcreek.org.

Select blue bar below for class description and full bio.

November 14 - The Blues and Other Compositional Elements in Improvisation with Clay Jenkins

Presenter:  Clay Jenkins, trumpeter, educator

Description: We will share ideas on how to incorporate the elements of the Blues – including form, nuance, language, style, groove, space – into soloing on any tune, arrangement, and/or composition. We will also discuss the inclusion of other compositional elements (in addition to melody, harmony, and rhythm) in soloing, exploring the possibilities of pitch, duration, timbre, and volume.

The goal is:

  • to address and emphasize “How to Play” in addition to “What to Play”

Clay Jenkins earned his master’s degree in jazz studies from the University of Southern California. He has taught at many schools including the Foundation for the Junior Blind, the University of Southern California, California State University at Northridge and the California Institute of Arts. Jenkins has performed and presented at clinics all over the United States and Canada, as well as in Japan, Italy, Korea, Germany, Portugal, Russia and South Africa. He is an esteemed jazz artist and Associate Professor of Jazz Trumpet at the Eastman School of Music. Jenkins performs with the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Joe La Barbera Quintet, Trio East and the Eastman Jazz Quartet. He is a professional artist for the Edwards Instrument Company located in Elkhorn, WI.   www.clayjenkins.net

Register Now:  The Blues and Other Compositional Elements in Improvisation – 11/14/2020

$35 per session; $120 for all four jazz sessions (save $20)

Limited to 100 people on Zoom. High Speed internet required, and for the best experience at least an 11” tablet or laptop. If you use a tablet or phone, download the free Zoom app. A Zoom link will be provided after registering for the class(es). Classes are live at 10 a.m. CST. The link will be live 10 minutes prior to the start time to allow for timely class admittance. Be sure to mute yourself upon entry to the Zoom site.