The Jazz Playground Joining the Fall Roster at Art House Astoria


It’s been a summer of Jazz at Art House Astoria! The Jazz Playground played two concerts for local kids and their parents, exploring the rhythms and themes in jazz music – some of the audience members were only a year old! The Jazz Playground also held lunchtime concerts for our summer camps!

And in Fall 2018, the Jazz Playground will bring a new class to Art House for 6 weeks on Saturdays from September 8 to October 13 at 11:30 AM. The classes are for kids of all ages (and their parents!) and the duration of each class is 45 minutes. 

For pricing, signing up, and more information on the classes email info@arthouseastoria.org, call (347) 738-4148, or drop by Art House this week from Tuesday, August 21 – Thursday, August 23 from 3-7PM, or join us at our Open House on Saturday, September 1 from 10-3PM to tour our facility and take some sample classes.

The Jazz Playground Syllabus
WEEK 1 – BLUES. Originating in the southern united states in the 19th century, the Blues drew upon African-American spirituals and work songs, combined with elements of European folk music. As well as looking at how the blues influenced many genres, including modern rock, pop and R&B, in Week 1 of the Jazz Playground, we explore how many of the key elements in jazz were born out of the blues and how jazz and blues continue to be closely linked today.

WEEK 2 – SWING is a form of popular music developed in the United States that typifies the ‘Jazz Age’ of the late 1920s through to the 1940s. Designed as music to entertain (and more importantly to dance to!) in this class students will be exposed to the rhythms and feel of swing through the music of such iconic artists as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Glenn Miller.

WEEK 3 – BEBOP is a style of jazz that was developed in the mid-1940s as so-called ‘musician’s music’. Seeking new creative challenges beyond the dance band gigs of the day, artists such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie used complex chord progressions and fast tempos to showcase their virtuosity, turning jazz into a form of art rather than simply entertainment. In Week 3 we discover that despite the complexities of bebop, the same accessible elements of the blues and swing remain at it’s core.

WEEK 4 – LATIN JAZZ is, as the name would suggest, a style of Jazz drawing upon Latin-American rhythms, most notably from Brazil, and Cuba. We look at how Brazilian musicians such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto teamed up with stars Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra to once again bring jazz to the fore of popular music. We also explore how the Afro-Cuban Clavé contributed to a new generation of ‘dance’ music within jazz and laid the foundations for fusions with other genres.

WEEK 5 – BOSSA NOVA is a Brazilian genre that was popularized in the 1950’s and 60’s. Literally meaning ‘new wave’ or ‘new trend’, it was a lyrical blend of the feel of Samba with the timbre and harmony of Jazz. Typifying the ‘peace and love’ era of the late 1960’s, we look at how Brazilian musicians such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto teamed up with stars such as Stan Getz and Frank Sinatra to once again bring jazz to the fore of popular music.

WEEK 6 – JAZZ – A WORLD MUSIC. Though Jazz began as a quintessentially American genre and art form, as we discovered in Week 4, jazz musicians have continually looked to other styles and sounds from around the world for inspiration. From South Africa, to India to Scandinavia, In week 6 we explore how World Music continues to influence jazz and how, in turn, the core elements of Jazz have come to be used by musicians all over the globe.

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The Jazz Playground is an early-childhood jazz education program and concert series for kids of all ages. We invite participants to sing, dance and swing to the rhythms of jazz as they learn about the core concepts, instruments, and the great performers of jazz.

Each class features a live jazz performance where children and parents can interact, learn about music and participate in an organic way. The band is comprised of a drummer, bassist and a saxophone, trumpet or piano player depending on the topic of the class.

Art and music is a fundamental part of a society’s culture and development. Learning to play an instrument enhances skills needed for education and social interaction. It allows a child to learn discipline, patience and find their own creative space and develop their imagination. It is scientifically proven that children involved in music activities improve in other fields. Music has a way of enhancing a child’s brain, and yes, it involves more than just listening.

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