Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Music teachers selected to teach jazz improvisation
By William Kincaid
CELINA - Celina Middle School music teacher Everett Kalcec remembers when he was a young jazz musician struggling to learn improvisation in school because his instructors were not knowledgeable on the subject.
Working with his wife, Angela Kalcec, - a band instructor at Celina middle and high schools - the two developed a series of improvisation exercises over five years to help others teach the concept.
The pair will present a clinic on teaching jazz improvisation at the Ohio Music Education Association's Professional Development Conference on Jan. 27-29 in Cincinnati. Clinicians for the event are selected from all over the country and represent the leading music educators in the industry, according to Celina High School band director Chuck Sellars.
"Over 5,000 of Ohio's music educators attend the conference each year," Sellars wrote in an e-mail to the newspaper. "This is quite a professional achievement, and we are extremely fortunate to have teachers of their caliber in our school district."
In improvisation a musician makes up music on the spot while adhering to musical rules and conventions, Everett Kalcec said. The exercises taught by the couple are intended to help other instructors teach the technique to students.
"It is difficult to teach, and Angela and I have over the years put together six exercises to help teach this skill to students," Everett Kalcec said.
Most of jazz comes from oral tradition and little is written about the art of improvisation, he added.
Improvisation is a new concept for seventh-grade music students at Celina, and it can often times be scary, as they have no music in front of them, Angela Kalcec added.
For the clinic, the couple will show footage of their own students while teaching the six exercises.
The first exercise focuses on the pentatonic (five-note) scale and developing comfort with improvisation, while the second exercise is based on a single scale and a single chord, according to Everett Kalcec. The other exercises, each building on the previous lesson, become more difficult and incorporate chord changes, such as the blues progression, he said.
The couple will present their 50-minute clinic for the first time ever at the conference.
The two said they are nervous but excited to help others. Also, anyone interested in using the Kalcecs' exercises for teaching purposes can contact them at Celina City Schools.