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Jazz Education in Portugal

Jazz in Portugal: another proof that no matter how bad or how good the political, economical, and cultural surroundings are, jazz thrives because of its own inbedded, ingrained, immanent powers.

The Hot Clube, yes it is spelled correctly 'clube', is probably one of the eldest pillars under jazz in Europe. Despite dictatorship, economical and financial crises, and now booming economic growth, jazz in Lisbon, in Porto and elsewhere in Portugal, is doing excellent.

The Hot Clube is both a school in the western part of Lisbon and a jazz club in the center.

Close to the Hot Clube School is the University Lusíada which has jazz department as well.

In the center Lisbon, in Benfica, close to the stadium of the famous football club, the ESML is located. This is a school for higher music education of Lisbon, which is part of the IPL, the Institute for Polytechnics of Lisbon. The ESML  has both a classical and and a jazz department at university level. Eexcellent jazz performance and jazz education studies are combined with high-level jazz research. 

Imitation, assimilation, innovation in music

Imitation, assimilation, innovation in learning a style of music

A style in music is a set of musical conventions. The conventions determine every aspect of that particular musical style: melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color, dynamic and also instrumentation, repertoire, expressions. In jazz two musical aspects are important as well: improvisation and swing.

Imitation

Music has many parallels with languages. One of them is the way music is learned. The first steo in learning a musical style is by repetitive imitation. Similar to learning to say ‘dada, mama, papa’ all aspects of a style are imitated at first. This means that melodic motives, phrases and sentences have to be learned by imitation, as well as the harmonies and their progressions, the rhythmical patterns, the usage of musical colors and the use of dynamics.

Assimilation

Not until a certain quantity of musical aspects is learned, the musician feels at home in a musical style, feels a kind of ownership of that style and has a natural way of being able to play in that style. The style is no longer coming form outside in but from inside out. At that stage the style is assimilated by the musician. Once the style is assimilated, the head-hand-hart collaboration works in a balanced way. The musician knows the music, has the technique to play the music, and is able to be expressive in playing the music.

Innovation

Innovation follows after imitation and assimilation. The word is rather deceptive: innovation ranges from showing evidence of clear, personal and advanced assimilation of a style to having the ability to add new and formerly unused aspects to the style. Once the new added aspects are essentially different form the aspects used before and the innovations are seen as being essentially different, a new style is created. For the musician who has made the innovations, the new aspects are already assimilated. Musicians, who have not made the innovations, have to learn them, have to assimilate to the innovations.