August 12, 2012 – 2:40 pm
This group of people just spent a week living, eating and working together, performing jazz music in multiple different combinations, composing new music, learning new techniques and approaches, putting on concerts, holding jam sessions until dawn, drinking, laughing and generally having an amazing, creative, exhausting and life-changing time.
A lot of them have done it before. It happens every year. National Danish jazz agency Jazz Danmark hold the annual Summer Session at Vallekilde, and have done since 1969. Each year, professional musicians from around the country (and some from further afield) come to this unique intensive jazz ‘camp’.
Guest workshop leaders – world class players – come along and work with the musicians, new collaborations are formed, minds are expanded and sights raised for all of the people in attendance. It’s really quite an inspiring environment.
Last night was the final series of ‘student’ concerts – seven half-hour gigs back to back in which each workshop group gets to share what they’ve been working on with their group leaders, in front of everyone else.
Some simply incredible concerts – and so diverse. Some lyrical, some incredibly complex, some playful and some that just tore the roof off.
It was like a whole diverse festival series in one night.
I spent the week trying to find ways to be helpful without getting in the way – and as the week drew to an end, more and more musicians came to me to discuss their online presence, and ways that they could develop their audience and use the web to communicate what they do more effectively.
In the end, I ran around a dozen individual consultancies and lots more informal discussions and advice sessions. The rest are invited to come and visit this site, have a look at the sort of thing I do, and get in touch.
With that in mind, I’m going to be writing a blog post on the New Music Strategies site about the most common advice I ended up giving to these musicians. That’ll turn up in the next few days, and will be shared by Jazz Danmark.
In the meantime, I’d invite the musicians to download my book and have a look through (you can have it for free if you want). I’d also be keen to continue a lot of the conversations that we started in Vallekilde. Although we had a whole week, the time we had available for this was limited and there’s lots more to say.
So… to be continued. Hopefully, back in another Summer Session at some point in the future. That would be awesome.
Thanks to everyone for making it such an amazing experience – and to Lars and the Jazz Danmark crew for thinking it would be a good idea to have me there. I hope they still think that…