We’re continuing to get to know the staff in blog form! This week we had a sit down with Dan, Head of Course Curriculum & well known teacher.
1. How long have you been with JMI?
I’ve been with JMI since 1998 when my father Greg changed the company from being a CD and record store to a teaching facility. We started with an Advanced Diploma of Music and I was teaching for a couple of hours. From there it developed into what it is today.
2. What’s your role here?
I’m Head of School. I’m in charge of Course Curriculum as well as teaching 1st year Jazz Improvisation studies, History, Ensemble, Private lessons and the Jazz Orchestra.
3. What do you love most about getting to perform that role at JMI?
The thing I love the most in my role is seeing the development of the students. A couple of weeks ago I saw Alumni of JMI playing a gig outside of JMI and I was sitting there listening and was knocked out with what they were playing. At the same time I was remembering what all of them were like in their Auditions and first year and it made me so proud to see how far they’ve come. They’re really carrying the torch for their generation in Brisbane.
4. What’s your favourite part of educating the next generation of musicians?
Educating the next generation of musicians is exciting as they learn history. The only way forward is to learn from the past. All musicians regardless of style and genre when studying music are studying history. There is no future without the past. It’s easy to learn less about something and it requires effort to learn more about anything. Educating the next generation equips them with the tools to learn more.
5. Why jazz?
Jazz is a way to articulate music. Jazz is about integration. Integration of lots of different music and cultures. For me, jazz brings together the best musical elements and puts them together at the same time.
6. Any bragging rights? (Great gigs, working with heroes, getting involved in the community, contributing to a good cause, etc.)
I’m very fortunate to have a personal relationship with Wynton Marsalis. I send him text messages and he gets back to me. I feel so lucky to have that, but I created that opportunity for myself so I’m also proud of making that happen.
I ticked off one of my bucket list items when I was in New York. I was at a jam session at Small’s Jazz Club and a trumpet player who I admire and whose records I have started to walk toward the stage when I started to play. When I finished playing I looked at him with admiration but he did not look back at me with the same feeling. He then took a solo and was amazing but when the tune finished he looked at me and said “who are you” and we started talking. When he realised I wasn’t a threat to him as I was a tourist passing through we became mates and had a beer together. We still communicate via social media.
7. What are you most excited about seeing at JMI over the rest of the year?
In the next few months we’re going to have some amazing people coming through from Jazz at Lincoln centre in New York City including Vince Gardner, Jerome Jennings, Joe Farnsworth and Harold Mabern. These guys are spending a few days at JMI and each time they come I learn so much from them, musically and personally.
8. What is “Covfefe”?
All I know about that word is that it was tweeted by the current President of the United States. While I don’t know him personally I have no time for him and refuse to put his name into words.