High profile jazz musicians visit CPIT's Music Arts

News News & events

16 Sep 2015

Music Arts at CPIT has been attracting some big names lately. Hot on the heels of Christchurch's Flip Grater who visited as songwriter in residence, Pete Churchill from the UK was at the institute for two days of jazz workshops and now Chinese jazz pioneer Lv Yan is visiting to observe CPIT's teaching methods.

Lv Yan Music Arts

Chinese music teacher Lv Yan

From China with love

A high profile visitor from Sichuan Conservatory of Music has been impressed by the teaching style at CPIT Music Arts.

Chinese jazz teacher Lv Yan, also known as Larry, says the flexibility and individualised teaching seen in CPIT's Music Arts jazz programme is in contrast to music education in China.

"In China there are many students in a class and we can't do one-on-one teaching. The best thing here is the time schedule is flexible. There is a certain time for group class and then there is flexibility for one-on-one work."

Yan says jazz is still new to China and most of the students at his institution study classical music. "In China, many people don't' know about jazz. It's not good! We need to educate them."

Yan shared his original compositions with students though a performance with an impromptu band of CPIT tutors and students. Despite only having 20 minutes to rehearse together, it was obvious the musicians were all united in their love of sophisticated jazz.

"We don't want to do the popular jazz, but we want to develop the interesting and important techniques like jazz improvisation and jazz harmony."

Yan's own education came from playing in jazz bands as there were no opportunities to study jazz in China when he was younger.

Yan's three weeks at CPIT Music Arts was arranged by Christchurch Educated as part of a group visit by educationalists from Sichuan region and ends this Friday 18 September.

Peter Churchill Music Arts

Professor Peter Churchill

Jazz specialist takes it up a notch

Yan's visit follows another high profile visit to the department by English-based musician, composer, conductor and educator, Professor Pete Churchill.  

Churchill, who has worked with luminaries such as Bobby McFerrin, Kenny Wheeler, and Abdullah Ibrahim, was in Christchurch to give a series of workshops from Sunday 30 August to Wednesday 2nd September, focused on Developing Aural Skills and Advanced Arranging and Composition.

Churchill brings experience of almost twenty years of teaching at the Guildhall School of Music (London), and from his present roles as Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London and running the jazz choir at Trinity College of Music. In 2007, Pete received the UK's Parliamentary Award for services to Jazz Education.

"Our students are buzzing after visits from such a range of different and talented musicians," Head of Music Arts Tom Rainey said. "They have been able to spend time with prominent local and international musicians, being inspired by their teaching and their professional practice. This is not just theory but actually creating music together."

Churchill's visit was organised by The Muse, Community Music Trust.