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December, 20, 2017
01:15 PM - 02:15 PM


Meeting Room W192


Teaching Jazz Improv in Your Middle School Ensemble

Clinic Synopsis:

With keen insight into teaching improvisation to middle schoolers, Curtis will share innovative strategies and materials to help you overcome common challenges to getting your students playing “the changes.” Student disinterest, chord theory, rhythm section involvement, modeling, transcribing, and curriculum will be addressed. Whether you are a green or seasoned jazz educator, this clinic will provide you with new ideas and free materials to help each of your kids solo like a boss!

Curtis Winters - Biographical Information

Having struggled for years to learn to improvise over chord changes, Curtis finally “got it” during his undergraduate years at Brigham Young University, and became a featured soloist with Synthesis at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. While finishing his BM in Music Education at BYU, he accepted an internship offer from Orem Junior High School and is now in his 19th year at this small Title 1 school. In the face of constant financial and diversity challenges, Curtis has built a thriving program in which all top ensembles (band, orchestra, and jazz band) are accepted to the annual state festivals. Parents recognized him with the school’s Golden Apple award in 2007, and the Utah Music Educators Association bestowed the Superior Achievement award in 2017. For years Curtis has worked alongside Jazz Educators Network president Caleb Chapman, and currently teaches and tours with the youngest jazz ensemble at his award-winning Soundhouse, the New Bop Big Band (ages 9-14). He has also composed and arranged charts that have been performed and recorded by the Soundhouse’s flagship ensemble, the Crescent Super Band. While earning his Master of Music Education at BYU Curtis was awarded a prestigious BYU Graduate Research Fellowship, allowing him to create the Improv Pathways Jazz Improvisation Method. He has also created many popular beginning band & orchestra materials, including the NinGenius Music iOS app. He has presented clinics on jazz improvisation to music educator conferences in Utah, Colorado, and Ohio. His wife Christie continually inspires him to improve as an educator and as a person, and their six children fill his life with love, purpose, and adventure.