The Jazz Institute and Suzuki School continue to teach music in Sudbury



Sudbury Symphony Orchestra Expands Educational Offerings for Children

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The Sudbury Symphony Orchestra has expanded its teaching offering to include hepcats and preschoolers.


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The SSO Conservatory of Music now includes both a Jazz Institute and a Suzuki School – the former introducing musicians with a background in classical music to the joys of swing and bebop; the latter applying a unique teaching method to introduce children to a variety of instruments from an early age.

“We launched this in September,” said Matt Gould, guitar professor at Cambrian College and member of the SSO Conservatory. “I’ve been teaching at the conservatory for a while and wanted to see a few things expand.

He noted that Cambrian Music Academy aligned with the conservatory a few years ago, but there was room for more teaching programs, especially with the loss of the University’s music department. Laurentian.

“When I got on board, there were two areas that I thought the city could use to strengthen itself, and one was very high level preschool education for three or four year olds,” he said. -he declares.

Suzuki’s approach to classical music training is “absolutely the funniest around, but it’s also rigid and students are held to results,” he said. “The language is really special but they really learn to play, for lack of a better word, correctly, for real.”

Violinist Max Gould performs during the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra tour.  Provided
Violinist Max Gould performs during the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra tour. Provided

Typically, a child won’t start studying music until “about eight years old, when they become a little independent,” he noted. “So what was missing was this training for young children that holds them accountable for what to do, as well as the parents, because the Suzuki approach is based on this idea of ​​a triangle between the teacher, student and parent. “


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Developed over 50 years ago by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki, the method applies the basic principles of language acquisition to learning music.

“It’s called the mother tongue approach,” Gould said. “We learn to talk by watching people talk and listening to them talk, so when you study Suzuki early on, all the little ones learn by ear. One of their jobs is to listen to a song every day, and they sing those songs long before they play them. So they learn without notes or scales.

He said the first piece children learn is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, but from there they go through 10 stages to tackle complex works by Bach, Mozart and others. . Participants do not need to be miracles; the idea is that any child can develop musical abilities.

SSO violinist Beth Schneider-Gould – principal violin of the orchestra, not to mention the better half of the guitarist – has learned through the Suzuki Method herself, and husband and wife are both certified instructors.

“At first we were the only ones here, but this summer the symphony paid other teachers for specialized training,” said Gould. “So we now have five Suzuki teachers. “

Classes are currently being offered for violin, guitar, viola and cello, Gould said, although there are plans to “expand to voice and a wind instrument next year.”

Group classes are held weekly at the SSO office on Larch Street, with individual classes also held at the instructors’ home studios – except for times when COVID-19 issues prohibit an in-person session, in which case in-person instruction. online is offered – and interest has been strong in the program, which comes in three 12-week segments.


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“The violin is packed and the guitar is almost full,” Gould said. “But we are accepting more students for both and we are trying to develop the cello. It’s pretty much wide open because it’s the newer area and not often chosen by people. There are around 90 students at this stage in the conservatory but we have room for more.

There is also a lot of interest in the Jazz Institute, although the form of teaching is a little less structured (much like jazz itself) and still evolving.

“It’s a softer launch,” Gould said. “We lost (the music program at) Laurentian University and the thing with jazz is that it’s really hard to start from scratch – the faculty and most musicians usually start with a classical education. before they acquire a taste for jazz, then they have the theory and the chops to play.

Matt Gould, Cambrian guitar teacher, left, and Beth Schneider-Gould, principal violin of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, perform with the Suzuki group during a music class with RL Beattie.  Provided
Matt Gould, Cambrian guitar teacher, left, and Beth Schneider-Gould, principal violin of the Sudbury Symphony Orchestra, perform with the Suzuki group during a music class with RL Beattie. Provided

Gould said he is always looking for ways to introduce young people to this style of music, but at the moment the main goal of the Jazz Institute is to provide musicians with the opportunity to “play with other people in the world. small combos, such as guitar, drums, bass and a wind instrument, for example, or a piano.

Participants can be of any age but must have classical training or jazz skills.

Gould also hopes to develop a curriculum with Jamie Dupuis, a Cambrian graduate and acclaimed harp guitarist, that could allow those with less formal training to familiarize themselves with the world of jazz.

“He’s developed a book to study guitar and is supposed to launch it in the spring, so I’m interested to see if that will work to start someone younger,” he said.


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Meanwhile, the institute also offers monthly jazz talks at venues downtown where “we have players coming in to talk about great jazz people,” Gould said. “They play a bit and talk about their influences. “

A recent jazz conference, for example, focused on American guitarist Charlie Christian, who performed with Benny Goodman and is considered a key figure in the development of bebop and cool jazz.

“We want to make it known that here in Sudbury we have two locations,” said Gould. “Jazz Sudbury seems to be the place that really puts on concerts and performances, and we want the conservatory to work with them to train some of these people, because you’re going to turn people on when they hear you play, and they want to learn. to do it.

Some private jazz lessons – on guitar, saxophone, and drums – are already offered by the SSO Conservatory, but the biggest effort right now is to provide the combo opportunity and generate interest through the talk-and-play events.

“The idea is to put it out there and put it on the map,” Gould said. “These guys from the jazz scene around here are still playing, so between them who play a lot and us doing more formal discussions, we hope to generate interest this year. And hopefully by next September. , we’ll have an answer to this dilemma of when can we start people on it.


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