Jennifer Gammill is a jazz vocalist and flautist who won the 2018 VEER award for “Jazz Album of the Year” in southeastern Virginia.  She also performs with co-host Joe McMurray in a jazz duo called “Blue Orpheus.”  Aaron Sefchick and Joe talk with Jennifer about her background in worship music, jazz flute, teaching music to large groups, songwriting, jazz conferences, and online presence/social media marketing.
 
Good morning, welcome to Fret Buzz The Podcast. My name is Joe McMurray and I am
Aaron Sefchick. And today we’ve brought in my friend Jennifer Gammill who is an
incredible jazz vocalist, flautist and piano player. She won the 2018 VEER award
for the Jazz album of the year for her album Heart, Soul & Fire. The VEER
awards are a Hampton Roads regional award, so big congrats to her for that.
We’re excited to have you. Excited to be here. Yeah. So for everybody out there
that doesn’t know, I have a jazz duo called Blue Orpheus. Jennifer and I
perform around the region. Last night we played at Town Center, Virginia Beach. We had
a great crowd. It was hot but people were hanging out in the shade and
I think at the best point they’re were a hundred people sitting out there. At
least. Yeah, it was a really nice gig. So, Jennifer I
think it makes sense to kind of get your background and how you have come to be a
professional musician. When did you start studying music? Did you
start on piano? I started on piano.u I was about six and like like I came home from
church and I was picking out melodies on the piano and my my older brother and
sister were already taking lessons and so uh my parents got me started yeah
back then so did you take piano lessons for like all the way through high school
I took them till I was 16 mm-hmm what you know what type of
teacher did you have did you have a very classical teacher I wish it had been
more classical I learned how to read music but she didn’t develop my ear and
and I was playing like advanced music but it
I was very sloppy like she wasn’t she wasn’t hard enough on me or she could
have passed me on to another teacher when she saw my potential so you know
but I didn’t know any better my parents didn’t know any better claimed teacher
that your siblings went to as well yes are any of your other siblings still
performing no they’re all like naturally musically gifted my brother was a
drummer for quite a while and he was even on my first album my first original
album but yeah he doesn’t really play anymore so when did you pick up the
flute so that was in fifth grade when we could started at school and I just I
don’t I don’t know why I picked it but I just that was what I my mom wanted me to
play clarinet and because that’s what she played and I was like know what the
flute so yes started started in school and then my friend my best friend also
played flute and she started taking private lessons
from a local teacher and she started getting better than me which was not
okay with me yes sir so I started getting lessons from the same lady in
that that was like a huge like that was like the kind of training I got and
flute was what I wanted to get and I should have gotten on piano mm-hmm
yeah doing all the local up in upstate New York all the local competitions and
I’ll stay and do you know graded solos and all that so you’re doing flute and
piano concurrently did you have an equal love for both instruments mmm I guess so
yeah it’s hard to say and I remember at some point when I actually did get some
really tough piano lessons they really kicked my butt when I was around like 16
we’re about six months and that was like the classical training that I really
needed so at that point I was thinking of doing both piano and flute in college
so I mean yeah I was always playing both so were you in the the high school
marching band I went to a very small private school so we didn’t have a
marching band we had just a regular band so yeah no marching band yeah didn’t
play at any any sporting events mm-hmm just remember because I was in the
orchestra but I always the band while that looked fun you did have to at least
in my school I think you had to you know play at the in the after school marching
band or the pep band for the basketball games or yeah
a lot of extra effort yeah soon I always thought it seemed like fun ha ha ha but
I did play in the so it my junior and senior year I played in the Syracuse
Symphony Youth Orchestra so my my training on flu had you know I had
gotten good enough to where I got into that local Orchestra that was very
pivotal you know very much more like professional kind of step up from where
I had been and very very uh instrumental in my formation I guess yeah so none of
this had any you know there’s no jazz in the high schools know where I went no
when did that start to develop after school after college yeah I mean I
remember in college like going to see cuz I went to school near Rochester New
York and there was a little bit more culture there or maybe I was just at
that point where I was going out and doing stuff and I remember going to see
like jazz trios or go to a jazz club and it you know I thought it was fascinating
I had no idea what was going on and I remember my teacher at that time like
asking him to teach me some jazz chords on piano and that didn’t I don’t know
everything it didn’t really happen but yeah so I was always just fascinated
with the harmony you know the structure and you know just kind of like that
other that I couldn’t quite grasp I didn’t know what it was it’s hard to
explain to people like I remember wanting to learn like how do you play a
jazz scale not really a thing it’s just scale all right right huh but um yeah
jazz chords are just 7th chords or adding extra notes on top and more extra
notes yeah lots of extra notes I don’t want to get into now but I want to at
some point I want to ask you about how you your approach to actually fingering
jazz chords on the piano but but we’ll come back to that but I would like to
know we love hearing about people’s experiences in music school we’ve had on
in our musicians from you’ve gone to Berkeley and George Mason and
Maryland and where did dr. Purcell go it was Pittsburgh okay Duquesne mm-hmm
so we’ve had people from all over so mm-hmm we’d love to get your experience
yes so so it kind of picks up where you know I was in the Youth Orchestra and
you know I was very much looking for looking to a career in classical music
you know probably being in an orchestra and and my teacher even had a few
schools picked up for me like where she had gone to Oberlin so that was kind of
her top choice you know but I would apply for a couple others and at the
same time like so I was very very strongly brought up in the church my dad
was a pastor and so I was also like leading worship you know from age 15 at
his church and so then my parents were kind of like well we want you to go to
the path of you know music ministry worship music and you know when you’re
in your 18 you don’t really know you know how to make those choices for
yourself or at least I didn’t and so you know wanting to please them and kind of
feeling like it was like the noble thing to do
I went to Bible School and studied and you know music ministry so I was
studying like music and you know always doing music but it’s very different than
music conservatory so but I mean I think the the beautiful thing in it is that
even though I didn’t go to music school and I used to regret that for a long
time it’s like I still I’m still working in music I’m still performing I’m you
know and then like later I was able to since I was able to refocus like what do
I really want to do that I could go back and get the training that I needed so
you know I think that you don’t have to feel like you have to make you know if
you’re going into college a half this is like
the be-all and know of what I’m going to do with my career because you know a lot
of people whether it’s music or not they don’t do what they went to school for
like Joe you went to school for engineering engineering yeah and then
later you you know turn around and decide to do music so it’s just yeah I
mean it’s I think it’s a lot of pressure on a
a teenager – you know here’s what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life so um
yeah and so from the Bible school I went to then I was able to enroll directly in
Regent and which is how I got to be in Virginia Beach and there I did like a
theology track with a worship kind of concentration and again studying worship
bleeding you know some emphasis on the music part but I was always you know I
was a I was playing in a church at that time I was you know leaning for the
chapel services stuff like that so that’s that’s that was my school
experience at that time so in like what courses musically related did you take
at Regent did you take lessons with a teacher no because I mean Regent doesn’t
I think they’re just starting to start a music program like in the undergrad but
at that time it wasn’t actual it was just a worship leadership course so we
would have guys from like some of the major at the time record labels the
Christian record labels come in and do the courses so you know so they were
skilled and and we would talk about like we did talk about songwriting about
structure about how do you structure a a worship set how do you lead your people
how do you organize volunteers that kind of thing that was yeah how do you
structure worship set typically like in the contemporary setting it’s you do a
couple like upbeat songs gotta get people engaged they call it praise and
then you might do like a mid-tempo song then a couple slower songs like you know
we’re kind of entering more into that you know like presence or kind of
worship atmosphere so I haven’t been asked that question a lot I mean it is
this is they’re speaking going on between these songs or is there a
certain story that you’re trying to tell through this the actual lyrics of the
music it depends on the church some some pastors want the worship to kind of
coincide with the sermon so they’ll say like okay here’s my passage or here’s my
kind of point for the week so can you kind of build the songs around that
other churches it’s very fluid and very like just the leader picks out the songs
and goes with those missing but is it like is this does he talk between the
songs or is it just like a straight concert not usually it’s more like well
it’s a participatory you know congregation supposed to sing along it’s
it’s it’s really like the worship leader like he’s leading that he or she’s
leaving that portion of the service the pastor’s leading the sermon part of the
service okay it’s amazing how much I mean you just to have that opportunity
to every Sunday go and get to perform in front of a lot of people who are you
know very maybe I don’t know forgiving is the word but like this you’re not
supposed to be a professional musician up there a year in high school like when
you started out oh when I think I think a great a very wonderful opportunity is
a youth yes young person to get to go up and perform every weekend yes yes and it
was like it was you know I was doing keys in singing my brother was playing
drums our friend learned how to play the bass for you know for the band the
worship band you know our friend play guitar and yeah so it yeah and you’ll
actually hear a lot of you know professional musicians they started in
church because yeah it is a forgiving environment in that sense yeah my first
show was at church you you were not playing worship music there I don’t
think right no I played spirit in the sky by Norman Greenbaum nice did you
guys have like did you rent out the church to have a concert no no no we
were we were we were the youth group and of the church and we were putting on our
own show yeah and so it’s a free it can be a free space yeah yeah don’t think
I’ve ever performed at a church but anyway so for everybody has anybody have
you guys all seen anchorman no you think I’m a nerd I
don’t watch television movie I don’t watch movies well you’re you’re missing
out on this wonderful scene where Will Ferrell he’s the main character he there
at a jazz club or at a restaurant and he whips out a flute and like gets up on
the tables and he’s playing this like awesome jazz flute solo yeah and they
call it the yazz flute yeah he starts off going they’re like I’ll get up there
and he goes oh I dabble and then you know he starts playing and I’m like oh
yeah so essentially that’s what a Jennifer can do doesn’t don’t usually
dance on tables but and then you forgot the part where he then he he sifts up
alcohol with his flute oh you think like sit on fire he does – Harry so
occasionally people ask me if I will do that and I say hell no it was like a
great way to ruin the pads on your yeah wait and what didn’t even work because
you there’s so many holes in a flute like could you actually sip it up you’d
have to close all the pads I guess close okay anyway great movie yeah Jennifer
can actually do some of that and she gets into beatboxing on the flute which
is pretty cool mm-hmm actually do you have your flute
nearby um yeah and so I mean I can go get it I think that it would be awesome
to you demonstrate that you want me to just do like a minute something like
that yeah just do whatever you want it could be twenty seconds a minute but
yeah definitely show us some beatboxing okay
yeah very cool yeah yeah there’s a guy named Greg Pattillo and he is the master
at beatbox flute ah his stamina is amazing because for me I don’t work on
it enough to like be able to do it for minutes on end so one of my new things
is I’ll like loop just the beat or something and or beatbox and then i’ll
layer over that so yeah that’s so cool so you’re in order to you’re just
beatboxing right into the mouthpiece while you’re right I’ll be back to it
and their mouth positions might be a little bit different you know so but
with the flute and I watched some of his like beginner videos to learn how to do
it and then you’re just doing it over and over and over again to try to get it
so it’s like a I’m just doing them it’s almost like a pop though what I’m doing
it while I’m blowing and then that’s your hi-hat yeah it takes a lot of
practice because you’re actually you know you’re doing two things at once
you’re trying to keep the beat and yeah that is very cool man so I’m glad that
we’ve we’ve had a show but that’s that’s the thing Greg Pattillo is that I mean
does he have a book out or just YouTube videos um so he has videos he does like
clinics he goes all around to like schools and he he also has a trio it’s
called project trio so it’s like him and a cello and uh it might be an upright
bass or something like that but it’s it there’s a trio and he he just goes crazy
with that but he’s also a very good classical FLOTUS but he wrote this piece
called three beats four beep ah Lieut so it’s an actual transcribed you
know piece and then it has all these different notations you know for the
different beatboxing things so and I’ve actually I worked on that a good bit a
while back so that helps you get like different techniques than what you
usually use okay yeah cool um let’s jump over to maybe your now you currently
teach large groups of kids what’s the program called again young audiences
Virginia so can you explain what the format of that is so we go into public
schools mostly public and we do workshops and we do performances and
it’s it can be like part grant-funded it can be part like school funded or a lot
of times it’s a match you know the school funds part of it the
grant funds part of it and it’s as long as it has you know say they have like
this one has to have an educational you know thrust to it or meet certain Sol
criteria but a lot of times we have to kind of work with those but we have like
you know the the people at the office who work with us on content and stuff
like that making sure we’re meeting things like that so Sol for everyone out
there those in Virginia in the state of Virginia
that’s the standards of learning it’s just the criteria that teachers are
supposed to it’s like specific information they have
to cover the topic yeah and the kids like best on it every year oh yes I hear
whining every year yeah we had an end of grade testing yeah North Carolina same
idea of it yeah we had some something in New York right yeah this giant stressful
okay looming all year uh-huh yeah so you go in and you’re teaching do you
actually hand out instruments or is this more based on singing or anything
there’s a huge gamut of what they teach this it’s like almost anything in the
arts like some people do dance some I’ve done
actually I’ve done quite a few like theater workshops or camps so it’s like
theater games you know teaching basic acting skills and games and stuff like
that some of them are like I know they’ve had some strings programs and
stuff like that so you know somebody who’s skilled and that will go in and
teach I’ve done a lot of like songwriting workshops which is really
interesting when you’re working with like fairly young kids you know and yeah
so songwriting what else have I done I’ve done a lot of stuff explain how you
would approach a songwriting class yeah so I try to take um what I’ll do is I’ll
take a couple very simple melodies like I’ll take like twinkle twinkle little
star and I’ll just point out like why is this an enduring melody you know and
I’ll point out the repetition or the movement of the melody like and I’ll
kind of chart it out not with notes but just kind of like the movement up and
down and you know and it’s amazing one kids see if they’re like oh like it you
know it just has never occurred to them to think about it in like a structured
way and like why does this happen you know what’s the kind of the form or the
pattern of the structure and then when you say to them and this is also the
melody for you know the ABC song and for wrote or what’s the other one baa baa
black sheep and they go oh I mean some kids kind of know that or but very few a
lot of kids like have no idea that it’s the same melody and and so then you know
maybe I’ll take like a more modern song and kind of point out like or take
something like over the rainbow you know and I’ll show like okay does this and
and then it takes it on a different note and does the same pattern so I try to
point out what our melodic kind of you know things that go on in a song and
then I’ll talk about mm-hmm like I use a lot of like literary devices when I
write so I’ll talk about you know metaphor simile you know so it’s like if
you give them something specific like say okay describe the sunset to me you
know using a metaphor or using a simile so you give them a little action
sizes like that or once they start writing and I might either like team
them up or you know have them write one line or I’ll kind of coach them like
we’ll do it a group and then uh somebody give me an idea and I’ll say like okay
but let’s put that in a little bit more poetic form or like you want to say what
you’re saying without saying this is what I’m saying so yeah do you then have
them try to come up with a melody to sing that line sometimes yeah like it
again it depends on the age like a league if they’re younger it’s a much
more guided like I’ll sail so I’ll start with something like okay here this is
what I’ve come up for this line and they’re like oh yeah like that cuz you
know and then but occasionally someone has had a really great idea for the next
melody line or the next lyric line like you know better than I would have come
up with so it’s it’s really cool to see that kind of come out of the kids what
ages are you talking about here like when you say young kids do you mean like
kindergarten no I don’t think they’ve ever had me do that with kindergarten uh
probably starting it like second third grade but I mean the majority you
probably be like fourth or fifth grade or fifth six do you is there usually a
piano there and you can where you could yeah request that yeah yeah usually we
can either get one like I mean in the auditorium we’re in a classroom yeah so
are you you’re paid to go in and you’re just
paid by the session essentially so how that works
yep and you’re doing this with a group of other teachers as well or is it just
solo you it depends on the residency so like we did one that was an after-school
thing and it was four so because they’re grant a lot of more grant funding like
this one was for military children with a huge huge military population here so
they wanted to focus on like how can we use the arts to help you know kids who
are constantly in transition how can they use the arts to like help express
themselves and it’s something they take with them each place they go so I’m that
one we had a group of three artists and then we had a few teachers helping
and so we would we would do some things like all together as a group and then we
might break off for the rest of the you know of the duration and each they the
groups kind of rotate around so that you’re
working with a smaller group and then occasionally like I have some workshops
coming up where it’ll be just me with anywhere from like ten to twenty five
kids sometimes you get surprised when you get there how many kids there are
yeah and a workshop duration how long would a day a week anywhere Oh an
individual session is like 45 minutes to probably an hour and a half max and then
it can go like it usually it’s about five weeks so I’ll go once a week for
those five weeks or I have some in the summer where it’s like I go for four
days for that workshop you know cuz they have some supper sessions yeah yeah do
you build on like song writing for thee yes time you ask me I’m subject and just
yeah yeah and you can’t guarantee you’ll have the same kids but you do your best
yeah you you don’t have but a few private students correct correct correct
yeah because the hours are after school I want to be with my kids so I teach my
kids and I have two neighbor kids that I teach do you find you’re able to connect
with the students in the larger group I mean like it I guess the it’s so
powerful being able to teach privately to me because you do get to have the
build these relationships um do you feel like you’ve gone to the same schools
enough to start you know knowing the kids a bit I’ll recognize kids or it’s
like you built up that little bit of rapport over those weeks you know and
then a lot of times they’re like oh we’re so sad you’re not coming back you
know so and it’s kind of like with private teaching some kids you’ll
connect with more than others some will gravitate toward you and connect with
you it’s it’s just different in a group and you can’t like have favorites you
know so I don’t know but I actually enjoy it more than because I used to
teach privately a lot and I enjoy the more somehow that’s good they each have
their benefits I think obviously with private lessons you can have that
one-on-one interaction but with a group it’s kind of nice because you can set us
you can set a certain group a smaller group of students on a task and while
you’re working on that you can kind of direct your attention to another group
yes this constant ball rolling down the hill
which is kind of exciting because there’s always action going on yeah yeah
yeah that’s a common yeah a common tactical uses break them up into groups
and I’ll go around and help as they’re working and you I know you teach bands
but do you ever teach like group guitar lessons or anything like that at
Bacharach uh I used to I don’t currently just because
I have my schedules completely floated with private and mostly actually bands
I’ve got like 12 bands so wow wow wow yeah I I’m yes I feel like that’s when I
was working with you I don’t think anybody had more than a few at that day
I’m like a handful yeah um my experience is coaching bands like I I had a bandit
box rock that I coached for a while and I’ve I’ve coached some bands with music
makers which is a local Virginia Beach kind of school of rock type school of
music I always felt like it was more work for me I what I really enjoy it but
I found that I had to know all the repertoire better I didn’t know all the
be able to play all the different instruments for the song so I feel like
twelve bands at once would be exhausting it can be but I don’t know that I mean
you’re doing a song at a time most of the time you’re rehearsing past stuff to
make sure that you’re keeping on top of your game that you don’t forget anything
special a little for little kids yes and no some of them I have them going
through songwriting exercises some I mean it’s a little bit of everything and
yes it keeps you on your toes all the time
whereas private lessons you you do have a chance to be able to sit back and kind
of let the student do their thing if they’re working on a specific thing you
can kind of just sit back and watch them and throw in a couple pointers and yeah
I don’t mind it it’s it’s exciting it keeps the job exciting and it’s it’s
okay I just like bands I like like that that interaction that communication and
trying to get yes it can be frustrating obviously at times but to be able to sit
there any one of those frustrating times and go this this is my job that this is
pretty alright yeah and you guys have these slow that monster that was it like
a jcm800 in the room yeah we’ve got the Marshall the Marshalls I it’s dead we
still have the harpy yeah yeah unfortunately but we still got the other
half stack and the SBT and yeah yeah so last night after Jennifer and i’s gig I
went out there having this big festival in Virginia Beach called sand stock and
they like took the Woodstock poster with like the guitar head and the pitch or
the dove sitting on it and they’ve had all these tribute bands so on Friday it
was like Santana and foreigner anyway last night was Boston the Boston tribute
band so I got out there and I caught the very end of it and you know you’ve walk
out onto the beach you take your shoes off they’ve got beer tents and food
tents and it’s just a big free show and they had awesome amps I mean they had
several mark or two marshall full stacks and giant bass i mean it was it was
incredible big giant amps sounded awesome
it sounded like that just like it sounds like they put so much it’s like a treble
boost that gets you that that sound i guess through a marshal or the vox –
that’s what Brian May did right know where they play through a PA system or
they just it was a like is if you went to the
amphitheater is a full-on production soundboard you know out in the middle of
the crowd thousand people a couple thousand okay yeah I mean it was a
serious setup little light show going on and oh yeah okay India video yeah yeah
I’ll put it in the video yeah anyway I got excited thinking about about I used
to get to play that big marshal half stack at bog I rock every once in a
while so anyway back to teaching actually it’s a not a bad segue your
songwriting since you teach kids songwriting your songwriting is to me it
reminds me of Norah Jones a bit and you’ve you’ve brought up Sara Bareilles
but it’s it’s poppy at times but it’s very jazzy like undeniably jazzy and the
chord changes the chord structure is far more complex than your average pop song
yeah so I enjoy that that you’re able to take complex harmonic structures and
make them appealing to the you know average person you’re also a phenomenal
lyricist yeah but so can you talk about your I’m sure you’ve you may have
multiple approaches to songwriting but if you were to sit down and work on a
song how would you go about writing that song yeah so usually I get lyrics first
so a lot of times it’s just something I’m going through or you know just even
just writing thing writing down you know the emotions and all that sorry lyrics
is cathartic for me so and sometimes it’s just writing and other times it’s
like okay this definitely is going somewhere as a song and I almost always
right like rhythmically like so something will come out thought will pop
into my head and I’ll write it down and so then the next line or the next
thought I’m consciously thinking like what was the rhythm of that first line
so I’m trying to then as I go and not just write
stream-of-consciousness so in that way I feel like it’s already kind of blending
itself to a certain you know feel or style or whatever it is and I might have
a kind of a melody in my head I might not and then and then as I go I always
leave myself open to like recraft in the lyrics reworking the melody or the
structure so probably I would write like a verse or a verse and a chorus and then
I might come back like the next day and like add some more to it until I feel
like I have enough for a song and then I’ll sit down on the piano and I try to
I try to kind of like let you know I got you know how like writers say the story
writes itself so I kind of try to let the song write itself and not like like
using my knowledge of theory to kind of craft it and make it go somewhere but
also kind of like letting you know like what is the melody doing let’s structure
around that like but I guess like trying to craft it but not be too
– like theoretical about it you know what I mean so yeah and then I just you
know that I one of the classes I took it said songwriting is half inspiration and
a half perspiration so I you know I very much you know use that the work part of
it – you know I like the challenge of I want to get this to the point where it’s
ready it’s a song or it’s ready to be performed or recorded or produce so so
that’s what it is for me just keeping on reworking it and at this point I don’t
have many other like song writers you know that I can kind of bounce off of I
have a few people that I’ll send something to you like hey how does the
sound or these lyrics – weird or whatever but I would enjoy that I would
say having more like feedback on a peer level as far as songwriting it seems
like you you write your melodies and then do you
go back and I mean do you even have a key in mind or do you just play the
melody and then you harmonize the melody yeah I’ll usually kind of see where it’s
sitting on my voice and you know sometimes I’m in like a really bad key
that it’s gonna be a bad key for performing either too low too high
so sometimes I’ll just change it to kind of cater to that so I mean yeah it’s I
don’t know I guess it’s both melody and a few new songs I’ve written where I
like I just had the melody in my head like I was like I was like on the road
or I was like at a park and so I got the whole melody in my head and then I went
home and put the chords with it and I feel like those songs actually were
really good because it was like the melody kind of dictated the the chord
structure so I didn’t think about it too much so I don’t know if that answers
your question yeah it’s really interesting I often will take the
opposite route where I have my chord structure figured out and then I’ll kind
of write a melody that weaves through those chords kind of like it’s I think
it’s because of so much jazz soloing I could kind of think like that bit more
naturally anyway yeah it’s specially fun you know when
you when you’re not actually improvising in real time and you can you know make
it weave it perfectly through the chords mm-hmm
yeah I need to try that I need to I’ve done it before but I I don’t do it
enough ya heard have you written any songs recently yeah
I’m kind of always writing so it’s like even if I’m not like specifically
working on the song I’m usually writing down lyrics here and there and then it’s
I always writing on my Notes app on my phone and I come back to it so I mean I
have enough songs written for another album so I’m just trying to figure out
at this point how I want it produced and it this one’s a little I’d say these
batch of songs is a little bit less jazz a little bit more pop but I mean it’s
still very you know there’s some of them are still very bluesy very
key so I and I guess I I try because I’ve been studying so much of like the
online music business and all that I’m probably trying to be a little bit more
commercially you know I guess plausible a little bit more you know without
selling out without like being like bubblegum pop because I don’t I don’t
like that so I like the term bubblegum and pop
yeah I used it in an ad that I realized that I wrote for Facebook yeah when
you’re when you’re writing your different songs say blues or jazz and
you have your you have your melody already figured out with the rhythm are
you purposely going into because you just have a base foundation on that
melody so do you already have the idea of what the song is going to be in terms
of genre or does that cap in real time uh I probably already have an idea of it
you know because whether I kind of that whether the melody it’s like okay these
are gonna be more just like triad chords or this one
like stepping out on air is very much like all minor sevenths and dominance
and and then I don’t even know like sub dominance and then like something
sometimes I write or like I hear a chord and I and I don’t even know
theoretically what it is but I’m like okay that sounds really good so yeah and
I’m always trying to kind of stretch those boundaries of like what’s because
you don’t want to go too far out to work like it doesn’t sound at all familiar at
all no plausible but still stretching ears you know and you’re doing all this
on the piano yes yeah I somebody asked me if I wrote
on flute and I was like no because you know as a pianist first so and that’s
just where you know obviously chords it’s like that’s yeah so fingering jazz
chords if you were to take okay a C major seven how would you finger that
with two hands another multiple ways but what’s kind of your
go – mm-hmm so I probably play like the C in the bass and then if I’m using some
rhythm I’m gonna play v G and then in the right hand I’m gonna play a B eg so
tre you try to leave out the root you’re right so yeah and then I might add in
the 9 the D or just depending on the song yeah you can use all your colors in
there okay yeah I uh I’ve seen you play some before in your left hand what you
showed me with your left hand like changed my world using rhythm yeah yeah
that kind of just rocking between the the root and the fifth or going root v
octave or mm-hmm it just sounds huge okay but yeah so
it’s interesting how you you just leave that root out of the is you don’t need
it in the right hand mm-hmm yeah so it one of if anybody’s like trying to like
do like learn some basic jazz chords like I honestly used there’s a free
Jamey Aebersold like little paper booklet that you exactly so they send
that to you and at the back there’s you know you know just chords
here’s some basic voicings and I honestly used that for a long time like
just practicing through those changes because it is so different than pop it’s
so different than high was playing worship music or even my first like
singer-songwriter stuff because I didn’t have that jazz training so yeah I went
through that for a long time and then and then you’ve got to you know utilize
it in your actual playing and then I got a book called jazz piano book and it’s
by Mark Levine I got it from Amazon and so that one I I just very slowly and
working through that you know I still have a ton to learn but you know just
like you so you take like in a different voice or a different uh inversion work
that two five one in that inversion you know so yeah that’s what kind of expands
your yeah your your options I guess you could say yeah because if
you’re coming off of a certain cord you don’t necessarily want to like just move
your whole right right both hands just to that comfortable position you want it
to move you know step wise or as close to that as possible right yep is that
you know jazz guitar it’s kind of the same idea right heart out and you just
like you learn those basic shapes and you you just move your whole hand to
where you’re comfortable but it’s you can get better you try to not have to
move around so much and it sounds more cohesive uh-huh yep exactly um Aaron
have you written anything recently uh with summer being here no kids have got
me tied up but I understand that means kids kids kids kids kids but I did write
something for the song Club probably a month ago that I’ve been kind of mulling
over it’s I wanted to go simple basic kind of lyric forward nothing too
complex actually it starts off with just four notes it’s really easy just
something very very accessible is what I was kind of going for every month I’m
just kind of trying to go a little bit of a different route for myself you know
first month it was jazz second month it was like singer-songwriter or so so I’m
just kind of bouncing all around you had that song the the funk teen that you did
yeah yeah I need to finish that one as well
yeah I’d like to do some like EDM just have some fun with it
yeah you need Ableton it’s fun yeah I think it’s it’s important as musician
just you know even though I would personally I would never put out an
album that has you know each track a different genre you someone obviously
could do that and do it pretty well but I think it’s just more of an
experimentation and for me it’s just important to just kind of always push
yourself forward and always try new things they may not be successful when
most of them aren’t but at least you’ve gone through that
the next song or five songs down the line you you will have learned something
from that process and and maybe you can’t incorporate that into a song that
is very useful so yeah I always keep on writing that’s for sure
well in depending on where you’re going with your career like you know you can
go into music licensing which you can write every song can be a different
style if you know how to pitch it you know how to you know just cause like in
all my kind of studying I’ve come across the different different career paths you
can use it do as a musician yeah which not a lot of people are aware of that’s
for sure right mm-hmm are you are you talking
about like what is it taxi calm and like actually writing songs to be placed in
ads and that sort of thing movie TV yeah so there’s taxi their song
trader there’s a guy named Michael Elsner if anybody’s interested in that
Michael Elsner he has a whole like kind of course that he’ll take you through to
to teach you how to do that because he actually recommends contracting like you
go on IMDB and you like okay here’s this TV show that uses music like mine you
actually pitch directly to like the music supervisors which i think is
pretty fascinating so yeah have you had any music placed in any sort of AD or
television not really I decide I joined song trainer and I had a song right away
get like take into the final step and then at the final step it wasn’t chosen
and I was it no so yeah it’s I don’t know what it is like I guess with that
stuff I’m like what am I missing what’s not what’s not gelling so I don’t know
yeah I I haven’t had the time to kind of pursue the licensing thing really hard
so yeah I’ve thought about it before but it’s just not I’m not in I don’t write
enough songs maybe it’s just not my focus like I like writing songs
occasionally but I don’t think I could make her career out of needing to write
a song every day yeah some people enjoy that oh yeah some
people who may live yeah a good living doing that you know writing jingles and
commercials for local radio and local TV as well as big productions mm-hmm I’d
rather write personally fewer but very good songs less is more
yes so you have been to two different big jazz conferences in New York City
and in San Jose California yep can you talk about why you went to these
and what you gained from the experiences yeah so I actually went because my my
teacher and co-producer for the album when we were working on my album he said
you know I go to this conference every year you need to come meet all the radio
guys so that they know your face because you know they get so many submissions so
he’s like if they’ve at least met you they’ve made a connection they’re much
more likely to open your CD give it a listen so that was kind of the original
goal and so I went to the one last year in January it was called jazz Congress
in New York City it’s in January and then I went to again this this year and
I’d say this year was the first year I was really like you know scared and
nervous those the new person you know like kind of Heidi look and then the
second year I was like hey you know just like talking to people meeting people
and they the sessions were so good this past year I got to meet Grace Kelly
who’s the musician she she’s saxophone player and just like shot up like in the
past year or two it was just so inspiring hearing her story and like how
she just started putting out like videos and content and so that’s one of the
things that kind of inspired me to start getting my online game a little bit more
you know more in line so yeah super inspiring you meet you know you get to
meet all these great jazz people and see performances and and all that so that
was pretty awesome the one in San Jose is actually more
for radio like jazz radio people but it’s also open to artists and you know
whoever else so that one’s smaller but it was still like I’m not going this
year but it was so pretty cool like especially I guess if you live out there
it’s much more worth it and this is it was the same weekend as the San Jose
Jazz Festival so I got to catch a lot of that which was which was pretty
incredible and it was like kind of like Joe you were saying how the the one in
New Orleans it was like such a huge spectrum of music same thing in San Jose
you have your traditional you have your kind of like more experimental jazz you
know and then you have your almost non jazz you know or your soul or funk
whatever it is so yeah yeah I didn’t I didn’t know that San Jose had a big Jazz
Festival yeah my favorite was probably the Latin the Latin stage cuz oh my gosh
they were just phenomenal and then you know you’re dancing you know just the
whole time so it was great I loved I loved button-like Cuban music is so fun
uh-huh that it’s just it is very it’s very
rhythmically driven and it does make you want to dance yeah so at these Jazz
conferences do you have the opportunity to get to sit in like any sort of
technical seminars like like master classes or anything like that they don’t
do a lot of that but then again I’m not usually choosing those kind of sessions
to go to so there might be a little bit of that yeah I think there was some of
like the DIY type of stuff but you know I’m more focused on like the artists
like I went to like how do you go on tour you know how do you make an
engaging video that type of stuff those are the kind of workshops I was going to
okay yeah it seems very useful okay it sounds like you’re like you would
previously mentioned moving into online and obviously taking classes on
you know how to make the best video and whatnot like that how is how is that
process going for you and what does that look like it is slow it’s uh it’s I feel
like it takes a long time before you see the the rewards or the benefits you know
so like this year I’ve really like I’ve started an email list and you know
working on how do i you know oh that’s a whole different discussion you know how
do i how do I engage my fans in my email list and kind of more the model of
instead of trying to like throw your content out just to the world and like
let’s make this you know huge like I need a million plays all this instead of
you find your like 1,500 to 2,000 fans like people who are actually gonna love
your music then and if you you know you put out
content three or four times a year or you say help fund my album this is a
concept anyway then you can make a living as you know an artist just by
that you don’t have to be doing all you know what the big artists are doing and
that’s been kind of our model for a long time so but you know but you know I’ve
been trying to so I’ve been working on that I’ve been being being more verbal
even in shows about like hey I have an album because I like honestly I don’t
enjoy self-promotion but it’s like I have to if your brand yeah it’s a
necessity and so then putting out videos constantly saying here’s my show come to
it you know and then um you know so kind of like being aware of all that and
trying to do your selling but at the same time like I’m also
realizing like you know what right now where I’m succeeding the most where I’m
making the most money is my performing so it’s okay for me to like this is my
focus and let’s use it performing to build my email list or to sell some
albums or you know all that so you know because there’s so many different
avenues you can go like you know eventually yes I’d love to have tons of
plays on Spotify but it’s probably gonna happen more
organically by me reaching those actual fans you know than it is me paying
someone to get my song played now on your website do you offer any coursework
or books or anything like that not yet is that something in the future that you
would like to work towards I don’t know I mean not at this point no I mean maybe
at some point I’d do something for songwriting
but I probably need to have some hit songs before that nobody would trust me
it seems like yeah I was like you could arrange like the beatboxing flute tunes
like you could make your own arrangements and mm-hmm compile those or
sell them for you know two dollars for this one two dollars this other one
right like one one kind of marketing idea I have is to um I saw a lady who
she did a lyric art so she took like say she’d take a phrase from her song and
you know put it on like a canvas and people combined it so and since my
daughter is an artist like I’m gonna have her do some of the backgrounds
we’ll put some of my lyrics on the front you know so it’s like you just you gots
totally got to be creative and think about like what’s you what do I have
that’s unique what do you know how can I use all these different facets and
things in my life to make my brand you know so yeah it’s it’s a challenging but
fun agreed the online the online stuff is
that’s an exhausting process yeah it’s just like it every week it comes so fast
like you did feel like you just you just posted or you just did something and
sometimes you just want to take a break and not think about it for a while yeah
you can use um but you can use scheduling software like HootSuite so
you say you take okay I’m gonna take an hour every Monday and I’m just gonna
schedule out my post for the week you know that’s the way you can do it where
you feel like you’re not constantly having to to be in
in it so yeah I need to use that it would be really good I don’t actually
use it yet I just know about it and it sits on the somewhere someone somewhere
along the line I’ll get that thank you using first you have to make the content
yeah that’s the hard part it’s like one thing about scheduling it that’s that’s
sure it’s great for that but then there’s the whole I have to actually
make the content today to be another another really great tool that I just
found out of four months ago it’s called canva.com yeah I use a be using camphor
yeah yeah exactly so I mean that makes this so much easier you’re not starting
from scratch you’re like oh let’s use this template throw some text you know
so yeah there is definitely a lot of cool tools out there for for your
business to grow you as a person online mm-hmm it’s just a matter of the time
and when you have a job and kids one chores and laundry and yard work has a
very large yard you’re gonna say a very large family no more kids yeah I’m ready
to do their five – okay f3 so I have a dog I was gonna say Jay you cool well I
do you have any other questions no no if you if you could Jennifer let everybody
know where they actually can go to learn more about you okay so my website is
Jennifer gamble comments GA mm i double-l and i have all kinds of content
on their videos and music and you can get a free song you can sign up for my
mailing list and also a page of shows because i do perform pretty much every
weekend so you can catch me locally and
what you feel oh also my album that’s a parcel and fire you can find
that iTunes and Spotify and but I make a lot more money if you actually buy it
most people don’t really realize that I don’t think Spotify you get about like a
thousandth of a penny for a play something like that well thank you it’s
been wonderful having you and thank you thank you very much awesome Thank You
Jennifer cool thank you bye bye

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