I have a wonderful opportunity that I would love to share with you! After two years of classical music education at Eastern Michigan University, I am now going into my third year at Western Michigan in the Jazz Studies program, (minor in Nonprofit Leadership). I know that there is a future for me in music. I am always seeking to improve myself and learn from the talented professionals around me.
This year I was enriched with professional music experiences:
- Assistant Director of Gold Company II, a world renowned vocal jazz ensemble
- Performed for jazz professionals such as Fred Hersch, Peter Eldridge, Sara Gazarek, Christine Correa, and many more!
- Operations Assistant for the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival, America’s most prestigious piano music festival. Nearly100 events showcased some of the most notable and accomplished pianists and keyboard musicians in the world along with artists just emerging on the international stage.
- Performed regularly at the Union Jazz Club in downtown Kalamazoo
-All the while, producing and writing music for my Junior Recital.
What’s the next step for me? While I have learned a lot in the Jazz Studies program at WMU, I have not had the opportunity to study under a female jazz professor which I believe is necessary for me to fully develop a female vocalist’s sound. Studying with the same gender gives the student the opportunity to learn by listening to their gender specific, vocal mechanism.
Last year while attending one of WMU’s Distinguished Alumni Concert Series, I was introduced to jazz vocalist, Johnaye Kendrick. Ms. Kendrick was so compelling and inspirational on stage that I made an instant musical connection and knew I wanted to study with her.
Ms. Kendrick received a Bachelor of Music from Western Michigan University in 2005, and her Masters Degree in Jazz Studies from Loyola University. She was then accepted to the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz where she received her Artist’s Diploma in Jazz. Ms. Kendrick was featured on The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra’s latest CD, which won a Grammy® Award in the 2009 for "Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album".
Ms. Kendrick resides in Seattle, WA and serves as the Assistant Professor of Jazz Voice at Cornish College of the Arts.
I am thrilled to have the opportunity to study this summer with this up and coming female jazz artist! Ms. Kendrick has offered to privately instruct me and share her musical connections that I believe can help launch my jazz career. Her extensive background in jazz composition will help me create a personal sound and sharpen my vocal techniques.
In order to study with Ms. Kendrick, I will need to travel to Seattle, Washington this July through August. As a full time student at WMU, I have three jobs to support myself. During my trip I will not have the opportunity to work, therefore my travel, living, and education expenses will be my biggest challenge.
During the trip I will keep an updated blog of my progress and travels! Upon return I will be debuting all my work from the summer on a studio album.
I need your help! Any donation is welcome and truly appreciated!
Love, Jay Jay
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