July 4, 2014 3:01 pm

Halifax Jazz Fest workshop helps nurture up-and-coming local artists

HALIFAX – Nicholas Dourado fiddles around with his tenor saxophone, improvising a tune.

The 25-year-old has been playing the instrument for 10 years and is considering whether he should pursue it as a career.

Helping him with that decision and his journey as an artist is the Creative Music Workshop, an educational component of the Halifax Jazz Festival, which kicks off Friday.

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Dourado has done the workshop two times previously and will be returning for a third time this year.

“We get to work with so many different musicians of different ages,” he said.

“It’s getting a chance to understand their perspective of the practice from going through it for so many years.”

The workshop is a chance for up-and-coming artists to work intimately with experienced jazz musicians. It started Thursday night and runs through to next week.

Founder Jerry Granelli said the purpose of the workshop is two-fold: to cultivate the jazz community here in Halifax and also to help young artists hone their craft.

“To be more risky and to realize that discipline, creative and discipline, are the two things you have to put together,” he said.

Granelli said the workshop is meant to teach younger musicians the art of improvising, and that is something Dourado appreciates.

“In this school of music, listening is the foundation of improvising music because you’re not working off a score. Listening is the foundation of what you have to do,” the tenor sax player said.

Faculty members said they can see a shift in the workshop participants as the program progresses.

“It is night and day in a lot of aspects. Some people break down. Some people just rise up from here,” said faculty member Simon Fisk.

Fisk adds that he notices many musicians have breakthroughs during the workshop, be it with their music or on a personal level.

“It’s not just about finding things on your instrument with your fingers. It’s about finding what’s in here,” he said as he points to his heart. “And learning how to express that.”

 

© Shaw Media, 2014

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