Jazzaar’s education concept is simply ‘Bandstand Learning with Rolemodels’, and will be applied through out Jazzaar College ‘s Academic philosophy, while integrating a online e-Learning Platform. This gifted youth development and cultural exchange project has been developing in Aarau, Switzerland since 1992. Once known as ‘Bands Across the Seas’ (BATS)TM, the project is a brainchild of Fritz Renold, the musical director of the festival, “jazzaar concerts”.
The concept is such that professional musicians of high caliber in the international music scene are brought together with selected young and aspiring student musicians between the ages of 14 and 24 years old to study and prepare a musical work, either original music that is specially composed or ‘standards’ that are specifically arranged and orchestrated for this orchestra for a final performance often as premiers before a large public.
A ‘situated learning’ platform is created for young talents as they work together with professional coaches who impart the tools of their trade to bring a musical production to a completion! In the Jazz world the past century has seen music masters such as Duke Ellington, Miles Davis or Art Blakey, (among others) who have proven this concept by recruiting young and talented musicians who eventually became professionals in their own rights, contributing to the progress of music.
The professionals invited for the project are working musicians from all over the world as well as from the Swiss music scene. Randy Brecker (USA), Bobby Watson (USA), Christian Jacob (FR), Willie Kotoun (CH), Victor Lewis (USA), Tommy Smith (SCOTLAND), Airto Moreira & Flora Purim (BRAZIL) and Benny Golson (USA) are some of the names of international musicians and pedagogues that have contributed to the project in the past. Participating student musicians are generally Swiss residents though an exchange programme with other countries have occurred in the past.
The ‘Bandstand Learning with Rolemodels’ educational programme continues to prove its efficacy by the evidence of its own prodigies. Drummer Matthias Künzli (New York) or saxophonist/band leader Rafael Baier, harpist Eliane Zweifel, saxophonist and educator Phil Hilfiker (American School of Modern Music in Paris) are just a few to name among numerous participants over the past 20 years who now belong to the who’s who of the Swiss music scene.