Vermont Jazz Center offers online classes

Center plans limited live concerts ‘carefully and responsibly‘

BRATTLEBORO — During the week of Oct. 12, the Vermont Jazz Center (VJC) will launch its 2020 educational season.

According to a news release, the VJC says that this fall's new offerings “make good use of the Jazz Center's summer faculty as instructors can now Zoom in from afar to reach students from all around the world.”

VJC's expanded educational programs includes online options as well as onsite opportunities for local participants run in accordance with local and safety guidelines.

New online classes include a Rhythm Lab with Brian Shankar Adler, Ear Training and Theory with Michael Zsoldos, Good Bass Practice with David Picchi, Singing the Standards with Jay Clayton, Jazz History with Haneef Nelson, and a monthly Zoom Tunes Jam with Franz Robert, Malik McLaurine, and Ben Barnett.

“These recent offerings bring a breath of fresh air - increased opportunity is the silver lining of Zoom,” the VJC says. “Most of the new classes were presented in abbreviated form at the VJC's summer workshop and were rated highly by workshop participants.”

For a full listing of the VJC's fall program, including old favorites, visit

COVID-19 changes at VJC

Vermont Jazz Center is once again hosting a few onsite ensembles at its venue in the Cotton Mill.

The organization assures that the weekly musical forays will be held “carefully and responsibly' - all participants will wear masks and follow distancing rules laid out on the Vermont Department of Health's website.”

VJC personnel put into practice protocols and ideas for how to safely run collaborative music ensembles after discussions with administrators of other music school programs while making reference to the Colorado State University Aerosol Emissions Study (

This semester, the VJC says, it “will sadly forgo the participation of vocalists and wind instrumentalists during onsite ensembles.”

The Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Blue Note Ensemble, the Guitar Ensemble, and the Samba Percussion Ensemble will hold live classes with stringed and percussion instruments only (piano, guitar, bass, drums, percussion, violin, cello, viola, vibes, etc.).

The Soubrette Jazz Choir will take place completely online.

Because indoor jam sessions with horn players and vocalists are unfeasible at this time, the Jazz Center will utilize Zoom Tunes, an online version of a jam session that is as inclusive as possible. The format was devised and is run by VJC's junior faculty.

Zoom Tunes will take place on the last Sunday of each month. For each session, participants will individually play a “tune of the month” using iReal Pro, a $13.99 app available for iOS and Android, as a source of accompaniment.

Each participant will play a version of the given tune and will receive guidance and support from the other attendees and Zoom Tunes coaches.

Singers are more than welcome and are encouraged to use iReal Pro's “transpose” feature to adjust the song's key to suit their vocal range. Backing tracks, lyrics, and sheet music will be found on the Jazz Center's Zoom Tunes page.

Upcoming songs of the month include Duke Jordan's “Jordu” on Oct. 25 and Stanley Turrentine's “Sugar” on Nov. 29.

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