The Jessica Jones Quartet is committed to community outreach and education. Jessica and Tony Jones organize events, workshops and community programs through their non profit platform Rare Earth Vibration Association.
I love teaching kids, it's like the inverse of playing, like the Bizarro world of music. It keeps my perspective fresh and reminds me how magical the opportunity to play music is.
I've been teaching since I was 16, with a focus on guiding kids in jazz, improvisation, ear-training and composition. It's a great privilege to be able to introduce kids to their musical selves.
I have founded and run several music programs for kids, including the Youth Jazz Camp at Feather River, an Oakland, California based camp that was based entirely on oral tradition methods of teaching. I have done consulting for several youth music programs including Jazz Camp West and Cazadero Performing Arts Camp.Cazadero in particular has had a huge influence on my teaching. I worked for ten plus years for CAMPS Incorporated, which ran the camp and had an emphasis on what they called "threshold ensembling," which engaged beginning musicians in ensembles as a way to learn instrumental music. A decidedly non-Western approach, this included African drum ensembles, steel drum bands, Capoeira, Balinese Gamelan, Brazilian percussion groups and Phillipino Kulintang among other instruments. There is a distinct difference in the way you perceive music and one's role in playing with others when you learn in an ensemble. It emphasizes community values over individual virtuosity. Out of this environment come musicians who can hear, are respectful, and value all kinds of different strengths in music. Often they do develop their individual virtuosity as well, but they understand it as a piece of something larger than themselves. This kind of training, to me, sets the stage for peace in our communities. We tend to be a very "American Idol"-heavy culture, and can use all the community we can get.
I currently teach at a Quaker school, which has a stated mission of valuing in a community much of what I value in a musical ensemble, so that's a good match for me. I have built a 6-12 grade jazz program there, and have been able to do all kinds of interesting projects with the students and the school. Here you'll find both my credentials and my adventures in teaching.
For more information about lessons and classes:
Mentioned in the press . . .
From Hot House magazine, June 2017
From the New York Times, 2016