The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

    Jazz Improv students produce and record their own songs

    Jazz Studio / S. VanOmmeran

    Even with only six (now five) students, Honors Jazz Improv is recording their original songs like professionals in the music studios.

    Jazz Studio / S. VanOmmeran
    Jazz Studio / S. VanOmmeran

    Thanks to the longer classes from the new block schedule this year, the Honors Jazz Ensemble class, under Mr. Emanuel Del Pizzo, is trying a new project to experience what it is like to be a professional musician.

    Earlier this school year, Del Pizzo came up with an idea while he was thinking of how to prepare his students for college music classes and potential careers in music. This idea was a project in which his students, using the jazz skills they learned all year, would create their own music and record it in the Duffy music studios.

    “A huge part of my learning,” Del Pizzo explained, “has always been recording, listening back, and trying to make it perfect.”

    Del Pizzo purposely made independence a large part of the project, because he believes that learning how to make your own decisions is an extremely important characteristic for musicians. This independence was well received by the students, as each student had a chance to record and play the song that they want.

    Students feel that the project has really simulated a career in music. Bass player Rob DiCicco ’16 said, “the recording process has made me feel like a professional musician, and Mr. Del Pizzo has given us real world experience that a recording artist would experience in the music industry.”

    The recordings really did simulate the professional recording process, as students experienced many of the same issues recording that professional musicians have.

    Students prepare the studio to record. “They have to set up all of the microphones, get a sound check on everything, and do a couple of practice runs before they even start recording,” said Del Pizzo.

    The goal is to get the recording done in one class, so that other students can use the studios and the class as a whole can move on to another project. But as DiCicco explained, “the most challenging process is getting the recording down in one try, to make the song the best it can be.”

    Students also had to deal with other issues while recording their songs. Scheduling the recordings was an issue because of students’ busy school schedules and AP exams.

    The recordings are the result of all of the hard work and dedication to learning Jazz that the students learned all year. For the recordings, the students produced their own song using chords, melodies, and improvisation tactics they studied all year.

    “Jazz is the American classical music,” explained Del Pizzo. “It has an aspect of improv in it, and based on the melodies the performer is supposed to interpret the music in his or her own way, on the spot without preparation.”

    This aspect of creativity that goes along with jazz allows the student to make the song his own and learn to make quick, spontaneous decisions. This creativity is highlighted in the recorded songs during the musician’s solos that they perform for the first time while the tape is running.

    “Musicians make up their own interpretation of a song as it is going for their solo,” said Del Pizzo. In a typical song the musicians play the melody of the song a couple of times, then a solo based on their interpretation of the melody, and then go back to the melody.

    The musicians and the Malvern community alike are excited to hear the final product of the Jazz Improv recordings.

    “I’m excited to hear what the Improv players come up with for their solos in their song recordings,” said jazz ensemble piano player Brett Mastrangelo ’17. “It will give me inspiration for my own playing.”

    Songs performed by Malvern Jazz Improv Students

    My Funny Valentine / R. Rogers / Performed by Alex Mankowksi ’16

    My Foolish Heart / V. Young / Performed by Steve Van Ommeran ’16

    Blue Bossa / D. Gordon / Performed by Tommy Pero ’17

    Cherokee / R. Noble / Performed by Rob DiCicco ’16

    Autumn Leaves /  J. Kosma / Performed by Jimmy Canuso ’17

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