Improvising with jazz

Earlier this term St Swithun’s pupils studying GCSE and A level music, and pupils in the school jazz band, attended workshops given by Simon Allen, Head of Jazz at The Purcell School. U5, L6 and U6 students learned Mo’ Better Blues during their workshop while M5 learned to play Pencil Full of Lead by Paolo Nutini and the jazz band learned Happy People by R Kelly. Each group had a rhythm section of piano, bass and drums and each group learned about improvisation techniques. Everyone took a turn improvising in front of their group. The workshops culminated in performances of all three pieces at the start of the school’s spring concert where everyone involved improvised in front of a large appreciative audience. The standard of playing and speed at which the pieces were learned was impressive.