Blog #1: Young Women's Jazz Workshops 2012
Hi and welcome to a behind the scenes look at the SIMA Young Women’s Jazz Improvisation Workshops for 2012!
Over the next few weeks we’ll be taking a look at some of the unique participants, the incredible work of founder Sandy Evans, the diverse array of expert tutors and most of all, how the course is so important to Jazz in Sydney. This first entry is simply an introduction to the course itself and a little bit about yours truly, Holly Conner.
Now for those of you reading and wondering, "what actually is the Young Women’s Jazz Improvisation course?" I think the answer is very well summed up by the course’s founder Sandy Evans:
“Sadly Women are still very under-represented in jazz – professional and tertiary courses. This course provides a supportive environment for aspiring female jazz musicians to explore their creativity and develop their skills in this exciting and challenging musical genre.”
More specifically, this supportive environment comes from playing with a group of like-minded and musically talented young women guided by professional tutors.
So with the course in its 10th year now, it’s been up and up! The course is now run in association with the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, supporting a total of 39 musicians from ages 16 to 25, with 4 instrumental groups and a vocal group. Alex Silver, Zoe Hauptman, Monique Lysiak, Jess Green, Elena Stone and Virna Sanzone make up the 'All Star' tutors list, with Toby Hall and Sandy Evans herself also making regular appearances. For the past 2 years now the course has run at the Conservatorium of Music with the end of course concert at its Music Cafe (this year’s concert is on the 20th of September, one for the diary!).
So now for a little bit about me...
My name is Holly Conner and I’m an 18 year old drummer from Sydney, fresh out of high school! I’ve been playing drums and percussion since primary school and I hope to continue this musical passion through to both a tertiary and professional level. My passion for music has come from a culmination of factors that were actually set in motion by the 2007 Young Women’s Jazz Improvisation Workshops. I was in year 8 and wasn’t even aware the course existed until one of the course drummers dropped out! Luckily my friend alerted me to this fact, and I was able to take up the place. I started the course in the beginner's group with Zoe Hauptman and was instantly showed a new world of possibilities for my music. It was hard and challenging but I wanted (and needed) that! This was also the first year they’d ever had a singer, which in-turn started a domino effect with a huge group of vocalists participating in the 2012 course.
Since 2007, I’ve come back to the course every year, making this my 6th time. Each time I come back with increased confidence and ability, more able to express myself and interact with my ensemble. The tutors are fantastic, choosing great repertoire reflecting their own musical tastes as well. You will definitely not just be playing standards! I’ve actually come full circle now, back as a member of the advanced group with Zoe Hauptman as my tutor once again.
Thanks for reading and please stay tuned for the next blog update... The next entry will include the origins of the course and a chance to 'meet the tutors!'.