earPlay Jazzquintet .....
WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT...
Our Ensemble members are not only compelling performers,
but also highly experienced teachers in both private and
classroom settings. We will guide your students
through an unprecedented range of styles
and improvisational approaches.
(The Music Director has been teaching since 1974.)
For K-9 presentations, in a typical 50-minute time block,
we have found that performing four pieces works best.
Because our ensemble plays nearly thirty different instruments, some of which are familiar and others quite novel,
we allot ample time to describe and demonstrate many of them.
We also field questions from the students,
drawing from each of our performers' rich backgrounds.
For our music-specific high school and college presentations,
we present a detailed overview of
different approaches to composing and arranging,
including our groundbreaking work
Sufi poetry, performed by
our spoken word artist/stage magician.
The use of various world instruments, as well as
the subtler use of electronic instruments,
also broaden the students' grasp of this truly
world-embracing musical ensemble, and the world-at-large.
LECTURE / DEMONSTRATIONS
Sonoma State University
Jazz Forum Series
St. Edward School, Newark
Middle School, Lafayette
West Coast Orff-Schulwerk Jazz Conference
The San Francisco School
Stanley Middle School, Lafayette
LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION
Dr. Douglas J. Leibinger is the Jazz Program Director at Sonoma State University and programs a celebrated roster of guest artists for his Jazz Forum series. In addition to teaching a huge range of classes at SSU, he is also a composer/arranger with extensive recording and touring credits, including work with jazz icons Maria Schneider and Randy Brecker along with pop legends Jimmy Buffett and Chayanne. His instruments include trombone, bass, keyboards, and baritone sax.
"The earPlay Jazzquintet provided Sonoma State University
with a unique performance and masterclass.
Michael Smolens assembled a fantastically diverse
experienced group of musicians to interpret
his multicultural compositions. He provided us with scores,
recordings, and detailed program notes of his works
in advance for the students to study, a gesture that
unprecedented in my experience. It was wonderful
could follow along with the performance and allowed for
a deeper understanding and curiosity about
There was also a stage magician! I highly recommend
this ensemble for an appearance at your school or conference."
Athayde is the Director of Music Education at Stanley Middle
School and founder of the Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop.
He is a well-known public school maverick for the arts and has
created a model music program. He is also a pianist, arranger,
and bandleader who continues to perform with his group Surefire.
the second year, Michael Smolens brought a FABULOUS jazz
and world music program to Stanley Middle School. The musicians
in his "earPlay Jazzquintet" were able to keep the attention
of over 400 students (not an easy task!) by tuning into the needs
of our students answering their questions, describing many
of the two-dozen instruments they play, and introducing the various
styles in which the music was composed.
music that they played, plus the history that they shared, not
only connected with the audience, but also directed everyone to
cultures with whom we are not particularly familiar. These cultures
West African, Brazilian, Egyptian, North Indian were highlighted
musically along with the contributions of mainstream jazz and
contemporary classical styles. A standout moment was when a guest
artist recited a suite of beautiful 15th-century Middle Eastern
poetry, while performing stage magic, all to a wonderfully imaginative
the world gets increasingly smaller, from a cultural standpoint,
the "earPlay Jazzquintet" is helping to foster greater
understanding while heightening students' aesthetic awareness
and creativity. I would highly recommend Michael Smolens and the
"earPlay Jazzquintet" to any school who wants to enrich
their students' and faculty's lives."
Goodkin is a master teacher and teacher trainer,multi-instrumentalist, composer and author of five books on music education, including the revolutionary "Now's the Time: Teaching Jazz to All Ages" which incorporates the Orff Schulwerk system.
returned twice to my [teacher training] Jazz Course to
present his ensembles, and was enthusiastically received both
times. His recent show also includes a mesmerizing blend of music,
poetry, and [stage] magic.
greatest strength of his presentation is the quality of the music
itself. The group consists of extremely talented musicians playing
a wide variety of intriguing instruments in an equally wide variety
and all of his musicians are articulate about their instruments,
the styles they play, the cultural background that informs the
pieces, and the very process of playing together. This makes for
an engaging and informative experience for children and adults
an educational climate in which many children have little or no
contact with the arts, experiences like this can open doors for
a child and change his or her life. I give [them] my strongest