Top Berklee College of Music tutors on way to Cape Town for CTMA Music Winterschool in Stellenbosch

Where: Stellenbosch University Conserve

When: 15 June (Schools) & 17- 20 June (Students, Pro’s & Teachers)

The course is free of charge – fully booked.

After the success of the first winter school programme held in Stellenbosch in 2017, the Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA) has once again partnered with Berklee College of Music’s City Music Unit (Boston USA) and Stellenbosch University’s  Unit for Community Music to bring 6 top Berklee City Music Tutors to Cape Town to present a week long focused workshop in various aspects of jazz music. This year an optional hip hop component will also be added. This exciting new offering will be looking at the influence and collaboration between the music styles of jazz and hip hop.

CTMA programme manager Vicky Davis says: “We are thrilled to have esteemed music tutors from Berklee Music to facilitate this workshop.  It is great to see our vision becoming a reality in terms of providing learning opportunity for musicians and students in the Western Cape who are interested in developing their skills.  The programme is fully booked and participants are excited to learn from the best.”

Berklee Vice President and head of City Music, Krystal Banfield,  says that they are looking forward to the workshop: “For young people, the creative and performing arts—particularly music— is a contributing factor that can positively bolster their identity, instilling a sense of purpose, and spawning inspiration for innovative ideas that can uplift their communities.  The Cape Town Music Academy is a champion for young people, teaching mentors and educational programs, providing specialized training & performing opportunities in contemporary music that promotes creative thinking, and mastery skill development.  What a privilege it is for Berklee City Music to be invited to return at the invitation of CTMA to continue to build upon the achievements of “Learning to Live Music,” through collaborative programming at Stellenbosch University. We are enthusiastic to engage with CTMA, which supports their vision to deeply connect and positively empower young musicians and their teaching mentors.”

The multi Grammy winning musician and producer, Prof Prince Charles Alexander will be coming to inspire participants with his electives on music production. He is a sought-after recording and mixing engineer whole clients include Mary J. Blige, Destiny`s Child, Faith Evans, Sting, Usher, Aretha Franklin and many more. He teaches advanced production and mixing at Berklee. Alexander was an early innovator of wind synthesis and a part of the “punk-funk” generation that incorporated many of the devices that would propel rap music to the forefront of the American music scene. He says:

I want to create, in my classroom, an environment that closely mirrors my experience in the real world. If you`re going to take advantage of this educational process, you need to investigate as many of those tangents as possible. You never know when one of them might be the one that opens the door.”

Bass tutor Prof Ron Mahdi teaches in his classes that a great ensemble player comes from different angles. “You have several options of doing things so that you don’t get bored and so others don’t get bored with your response to what’s coming at you. It’s like saying the same thing over and over when you’re having a conversation. It would be nice to say something different. That’s what it boils down to.”

The music of pianist Leo Blanco pulses with global rhythmic elements influenced equally by his South American roots and European classical traditions interwoven with improvisatory developments. He says: “Early on in my career, I discovered that the power and magic of music from geographically diverse areas gave me a new understanding of the world. I am exceedingly grateful for this discovery because it has been infinitely inspirational and a bountiful resource of the development of my music as both a performer and a composer. It is my goal to share my enthusiasm for and understanding of world music elements.”

Danielle Scott (vocalist and hip- hop producer) and Chris Rivelli (drums) also join the renowned Berklee team. At a young age, Scott discovered her true creative identity in the expression of hip-hop. Between classical piano lessons and dreams of becoming an author of fiction, she found hip-hop was the perfect blend of her passion for music and storytelling.  Chris is a 1998 honors graduate of Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Performance. He studied for several years with the legendary jazz drummer/educator Alan Dawson. Following Berklee, Chris did post- studies in music education at Bridgewater State University.

Arin Canbolat and Misael Martinez will also be part of the Berklee tutor-team and Oscar winner Frasier Boy en Critics Choice Award winner Al Kapone will be Skyped in on some of the hip hop sessions.

What to expect:

True to Berklee City Music’s holistic approach, the “Learning to Live Music,” is designed to expand each participant’s knowledge base and vision for use of their authentic voice through music cultural infusion, improvisation, study in music literacy and technology, as well as performance and career applications in music. Berklee City Music fully immerses students in their music making to inspire the student voice/self-identity with professional purpose through an exploration of music’s social cultural context, and with observations, study and practice in jazz, this culminates into an opportunity for reflection and a community wide performance.

For school learners and their teachers, a one- day workshop will be held on Saturday 15 June. 

For students in jazz, professionals, lecturers, teachers and mentors, a four -day workshop will be held Monday 17- Thursday 20 June. Evening activities include a voluntary jam session and music documentary screening and the series will conclude with a public concert at the Conserve on the final (Thursday) evening. 

Krystal Banfield

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