Visiting Idaho State University this week from Arizona State University, Dr. Jeff Libman spent a few days teaching ISU students some tips for jazz performance. Dr. Libman attended ASU with ISU Director of Athletic Bands, Dr. Thomas Kloss. Dr. Libman’s undergraduate degree is in Music Education with an emphasis in voice. Because Dr. Libman wanted to be able to sing and accompany himself on an instrument, he picked up the guitar. Soon, he began to spend more and more time playing guitar and transitioned from singing to jazz guitar playing. Dr. Libman received his PhD in Music Education from Arizona State University.
On Tuesday, Libman joined the ISU Big Band and Chamber Jazz ensembles in rehearsals, where he sat in and played and offered musical coaching to both groups. Later that afternoon, he taught a masterclass to members of the ISU music program on how to learn jazz tunes. Libman emphasized the importance of learning how to play and sing both the melody and the bass line parts or a jazz charts. He then taught the group how to do this through demonstration. At the end of the hour, the class was able to sing both parts to the beginning of the piece.
On Wednesday, Jeff Libman held another masterclass for music education majors. In this masterclass, Libman taught steps to teaching jazz even if you’ve never played in a jazz group before. He taught students to have students listen to jazz charts to increase their knowledge of jazz style. He also gave tips for teaching beginning jazz students to improvise in a way to keep them interested in jazz without making them feel embarrassed or put on the spot.
At Portneuf Valley Brewery, Wednesday night, the Idaho Jazz program performed sets with Dr. Libman. The night started with a jazz trio who performed original works by Jeff Libman and ISU student Gabe Loman. Following the trio’s performance, the ISU Chamber Jazz ensemble took the stage. This semester the Chamber Jazz group has been playing original arrangements of Brazilian party music. This group has a unique instrumentation, including flutes and French horn, not usual jazz instruments. Closing out the night the Idaho State Big Band opened their set with a Bach Chorale. They then impressed the crowd so much and encore was called.