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Terence Blanchard on teaching the next generation of musicians

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Thursday March 31, 2016

From The Bay State Banner

Terence Blanchard on teaching the next generation of musicians
By: Colette Greenstein

“If you give these kids the tools to handle the stuff where they can look at something else and really appreciate it, but know that what they have is of worth too, then you stand a better chance for them developing and becoming stronger within their own musical personality,” says Terence Blanchard of his students at the Berklee College of Music.

Since the fall of 2015, Blanchard has been a visiting scholar at the nationally renowned college. In a small, jam-packed classroom this past February, nearly 17 musicians were in rehearsals for their Jazz Composition class before the Grammy Award-winning musician and Eric Gould, chair of Berklee’s Jazz Composition Department. Blanchard was back on campus during that final week in February visiting classes, holding rehearsals and giving private lessons.

For many of the students who are not composition majors, this course has been about challenging themselves to think and to write as composers, as well as producing new musical ideas within their own performance skills. “It’s an invaluable experience to have 17 musicians in a room reading your music for free,” said Blanchard of the rehearsal process.

And for Blanchard, teaching this course has been an opportunity to pass on his knowledge and experience. Seeing how the “light goes on” and how the students are becoming more comfortable with the sound and music that they create has been eye-opening for the accomplished composer and bandleader.

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