Music | Masters of Jazz: The Next Generation

Talk Back: How Has Jazz Education Changed Your Life?

OPB | May 10, 2013 10:30 a.m. | Updated: May 22, 2013 2:42 p.m.

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“The human qualities that (jazz) music demands are so crucial just to grow up to be a good, responsible, capable adult in whatever you choose to do.” – Esperanza Spalding

“My job in life is to teach people the way I was taught. To give them what I was given. You can’t keep it unless you give it away.” – Thara Memory


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Grammy Award-winning musican and composer Esperanza Spalding is the star of a new generation of jazz musicians who are breaking down barriers and introducing new audiences to the world of jazz.

Spalding credits her early jazz education with longtime teacher and mentor, trumpeter Thara Memory, with giving her a foundation in the music that has changed her life. His American Music Program continues to prepare young musicians for some of the top performing arts colleges in the country and gives them a deeper understanding of the art of jazz.

Spalding and Memory’s musical relationship and collaboration was showcased this spring when they accepted accepted the Grammy Award for their arrangement of the song “City of Roses” from Spalding’s 2012 album “Radio Music Society.” The recording features a number of musicians from Memory’s Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra.

We want to know: How has jazz education changed your life?

  • Have you had a mentor or program that helped inspire you as a musician?
  • Why is jazz music education important to you?
  • Where is the next generation of jazz musicians coming from? Are cuts in music education funding making it harder for students to rise to the highest levels?

Tell us about your experiences and share your thoughts in the comment box below.

Then join us May 29th for an online screening of Masters of Jazz: The Next Generation.

We will continue this discussion with a live online screening of Oregon Art Beat’s special presentation, Masters of Jazz , followed by an online chat with Thara Memory, Jazz Professor Ronald Carter and Jazz House Kids CEO Melissa Walker. Considered by the industry as jazz education experts, Thara, Ron and Melissa will answer your questions and talk about how jazz has changed their lives and the lives of their students. Join the screening and discussion here. You can also post your questions for the panelists now in the comment box below.

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