Editor’s Desk Benjamin Pierce (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Any jazzer will tell you that Rich Matteson was the real deal. Great jazz is about chops and a vocabulary in the language; it’s not about choice of instrument. Getting tuba and euphonium players interested in playing jazz is tough because we don’t have a place in the big band, much as the euphonium has no regular place in the symphony orchestra. While a lucrative career as a jazz euphonium or tuba player might be rare, there is no doubt a strong edge to be gained by rounded musicians with jazz chops. For freelance players, public school educators, and college teachers alike, a knowledge and working ability to play in a jazz style and improvise is of great benefit. At the collegiate level, music teaching jobs are becoming, for better or worse, more hybridized. To be competitive in the academic marketplace will for most people mean bringing more skills to the table, and jazz is a great one to bring.
Best of all, if you can play jazz you can “hang.” I envy folks who sit down on concert stages or in lounges, pubs, and conference afterhours jams and just play great music with likeminded individuals, folks they may or may not have ever met before, with whom they may not have rehearsed. It is music with a deep history that affords tremendous creative potential and a strong spirit of collaboration.
For those of us non-improvisers, there are various inroads available. I am truly pleased to bring Joe Dollard’s series of jazz articles to the ITEA Journal. I think you will find that Joe’s style is easy to read, and his instructions are pedantic and make good sense. He has a knack for explaining theory as it serves music making and practice technique. I urge you to set aside some time each day for improvising and developing your ear. For a fantastic way to get started, go back to the Summer 2013 ITEA Journal and read Joe’s first article.
Unfortunately the ITEC 2012 Rich Matteson improvisation competition was canceled for lack of entries. In order to generate interest and encourage participation, two anonymous individuals have donated prize money for the 2014 Rich Matteson competition. Further, we have decided to extend the deadline for entering the jazz competition all the way to March 31. Please spread the word and either enter the competition or encourage jazz players you know to do so.
On a different note, I would like to apologize for the late delivery of our last issue. For various reasons, most members did not receive their Journals until December-obviously too late for a fall edition. We are working on speeding things up; in fact I predict that you will be reading this current issue in a much timelier manner.
I am happy to feature my friend and colleague Carol Jantsch on the cover of this ITEA Journal and in our “From the Back Row” feature. Carol made headlines worldwide seven years ago when she became the first woman to win a position as tubist in a major American symphony. More importantly, she is a fabulous musician with a great amount to offer listeners, students, and in this case, ITEA Journal readers.