The machinations of music are far more than notes. The machinations of music require a mind as open as the Montana sky. Radiohead on the trumpet? Why not.
The big band sound of Rage Against the Machine? Of course.
Jazz has always embraced an open attitude toward music.
While the genre no longer enjoys the mainstream like it did in the 1920s and 30s, jazz is alive and well, insists Chris Teal of the Institute for Creative Music.
The Institute is a group of five musicians and composers from Rochester, N.Y. The group is dedicated to opening “the box” that young musicians often find themselves in while studying the craft in elementary and secondary school.
“There’s a lot of great jazz being written,” Teal and his colleagues said during an interview last week. “The tricky part is finding places to play and make a living.”
Such is the lament of many talented musician, jazz player or not.
Still, if you love playing enough you’re bound to find others that love it just as much as you do and so last week Teal found himself in the Flathead Valley teaching classes to students and adults from Columbia Falls, Whitefish, Flathead, Lincoln County and Stillwater Christian Schools.
Teal is the son-in-law of Columbia Falls music teacher Karen Ulmer. She was able to secure an $8,000 Great Classrooms grant from Plum Creek to bring the Institute, which normally hosts workshops east of the Mississippi, to Montana.
“We’re not just about telling (students what to do),” Teal explained. “We’re receiving a great deal of information from them as well.”
The group was impressed with the music acumen of Montana students. Jazz is alive and well here.
“The fact that we’re out here is a shout out to Montana schools. They care about music,” he noted.
The Institute spent a day working with students from Columbia Falls, mixing it up, learning new pieces, tearing things apart and putting them back together again.
“We’re igniting a new creative vibe in them,” said member Matt Golombisky.
The group also put on an evening concert of its own and held evening workshops for adults and students alike. The event apex was a rousing concert by all the school and the band on Nov. 10 at the Little Theater.
The enthusiasm will continue. Students in Columbia Falls plan on writing their own music for an upcoming Christmas program.
You can learn more about the Institute and watch it perform at its Web site http://www.ifcmusic.org.