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Swingin' into the holidays: OMF's improvisation workshop with NQ Jazz

At OMF, we love exploring all styles of music and discovering new skills, so we were delighted to welcome our friends from NQ Jazz to lead us in a jazz workshop over the winter holidays. We were treated to an inspiring evening led by Nadim (saxophonist) and Sam (double bass player), who introduced our young musicians to the exciting world of improvisation, and helped us to explore the wide variety of colours and musical effects available to each of our students on their own instruments.

Each student was encouraged to introduce themselves by making up and playing something short on their instrument. In doing so, we learnt that improvisation not only takes creativity and musical skill, but it also requires courage to take risks and try out new things in front of an audience! We then discovered that guidelines and parameters are sometimes useful when creating music on the spot - even our youngest studetns found it easier to improvise when provided with a jumping off point, such as certain notes, melodies or rhythms to build from.

A highlight of the evening was watching each student take their moment in the spotlight, performing alongside Nadim and Sam, who showed us how listening is every bit as important as playing when improvising together. The children had so much fun learning how to bounce musical ideas off each other while experimenting with tempo, pitch, rhythm, dynamics and texture to create some truly unique musical masterpieces!

Of course the evening wouldn't be complete without some toe-tapping tunes - Nadim and Sam treated us to a performance of some beloved jazz standards, and as a bonus festive treat, threw in some Christmassy improvasations on our favourite Christmas carols! We loved hearing familiar songs come alive with Nadim and Sam's expert riffing and incredible ensemble skills.

Thank you so much to Nadim, Sam and the team at NQ Jazz for making this workshop possible! We all had so much fun developing a new skillset and learning how the scales, exercises and pieces that we practise in our lessons and at home can feed into this exciting new world of creative possibility.

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