Music Education

The Max Perkoff Band is dedicated to working with teachers and administrators to contribute to quality music education in our nation's schools. Pianist and trombonist Max Perkoff has many years of experience teaching music in the classroom to all grade levels. Large assemblies, improvisation clinics, rhythm section clinics, can all be scheduled either separately or on the same day. Our goal is to work with music teachers and other school personnel to assist and support music education at each school site.”
Dear Max, On behalf of the IAJE Executive Board and International Staff, thank you for your outstanding services as an IAJE Artist Outreach Network clinician. From reading your evaluation comments, I see that your sessions were a smashing success and well received by the students in attendance - Bravo! I am please and grateful that you continue to play a vital role in the jazz education arena and wish to extend you the best wishes for continued success in the future.” - Gregg Carroll, Director of Education

International Association of Jazz Educators

Jazz Listening Guide

No list can include all the great and the near-great, but this one will come close enough for someone new to jazz. YouTube these artists and listen as much as possible.  Please support your local jazz musicians as well.  There's no substitute for hearing the music live and in person! Top 11 Most Influential Artists (in chronological order) 1. Louis Armstrong, trumpet/cornet 2. Ferdinand "Jellyroll" Morton, pianist, composer 3. Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington, pianist, composer 4. Billie Holiday, singer 5. Lester Young, tenor saxophone, 6. Ella Fitzgerald, singer 7. Charlie Parker, alto saxophone, composer 8. John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, trumpet, composer 9. Thelonious Sphere Monk, pianist, composer 10. Miles Davis, trumpet, composer 11. John Coltrane, tenor & soprano saxophone, composer. Without them, jazz and so many other styles of music would not exist. Most improvising musicians (in my book, musician means instrumentalist or vocalist) compose as well, as did each person on this list.” - Max Perkoff

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Jazz is so rewarding! It is music that can express every human emotion. The people's music, as Duke Ellington called it, is flexible enough to combine with any other musical style, and yet it keeps certain core attributes. The Blues, improvisation, the widest - possible definition of swing and soulful feeling are always present in any style I personally consider to be jazz. Essential Steps to Be a Good Player • Memorize all 12 major scales. Practice with a metronome, beating on beats 2 & 4 of a 4/4 measure. Be sure to play them at widely varying speeds, from very slow, to very fast. Ideally, you should play them from your lowest to your highest note, or a minimum of two octaves. For beginners, two octaves will be very difficult on certain scales. Learn one octave, and expand to two and beyond as soon as you are able! Always go for quality over quantity - beautiful tone, accurate rhythm, clean articulation, all at slow to moderate speeds. • Listen to live jazz as often as possible. There is NO substitute for hearing music live, up close and personal. Check your local paper, internet listings, my gig schedule, etc., for details. • Listen to recorded jazz as often as possible. Here's a great way to learn a lot from any recording: First pick one you really like. New to jazz? Start with "Kind of Blue" - Miles Davis Second, listen to one tune all the way through while focusing ONLY on one instrument. Your mind may wander, but stay focused on the bass, drums, piano, trombone, violin, voice, or whichever instrument you pick. Third, do it again focusing on a different instrument, repeating until you've focused on each one. Use the same tune. You'll be amazed at how much you learn about how jazz is played, the functions of each instrument and section. Step 4: Start with the blues. Learn to play and sing (instrumentalists too!) the blues. Sing along with recordings of Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Joe Williams, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, etc. Memorize the blues scale: 1 b3 4 #4 5 b7 starting on all twelve notes. Apply it two ways: First, if the chord is C7 play the C blues scale. Second, play the A blues scale. This functions as the relative minor blues scale, and works beautifully! Step 5: Learn jazz by learning & memorizing jazz tunes. [Each step is done in a steady tempo. Start as slow as you need to. Gradually build speed, never sacrificing musical phrasing. Use a metronome. The click or tone of the metronome should be heard as every beat in the bar, and also heard as beats 2 & 4 of a 4/4 measure.] a) Learn the melody (& words if there are any). b) Play these patterns over the chord changes: Roots; 1-3; 3-1; 1-3-5; 5-3-1; 1-3-5-7; 7-5-3-1; 1-3-5-7-9; 9-7-5-3-1 (up to 11 & 13). All combinations you can think of. c) Riff over each chord. Make up one bar riffs (short melodic fragments). d) Play a scale over each chord. Play from the root (1) up to the 7th tone; reverse directions; 1 to 9; 9 to 1, etc. e) Listen to as many recordings of the tune as possible. f) Whenever possible, improvise with a play-a-long recording. If you can, make your own., or you and your friends make it for each other. g) Practice all of these steps with other musicians. h) With other musicians: Play bass lines for each other, chords if possible. Call and response thru the changes.” - Max Perkoff

— Jazz Improvisation