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Learn About Jazz and Enjoy a Live Concert

This is a guest blog from Hamilton College’s Jazz: The Music, the Stories, the Players course team. 


A MOOC and a Live Stream Concert

The latest MOOC to be offered by Hamilton College will be led by Monk Rowe, the Joe Williams Director of the Jazz Archive and Lecturer in Music Performance.  Jazz: The Music, the Stories, the Players, is designed for all levels of experience and interest, and will feature demonstrations by Rowe and guests, scholarly readings, and video and audio interviews featuring some of jazz’s greatest performers, including Charles McPherson, Bill Charlap, Jane Ira Bloom, and Ed Shaughnessy. Many of these rare materials come from Hamilton’s own Fillius Jazz Archive, curated by Rowe.

Through various listening activities, participants will explore the basic components of jazz and begin to develop an understanding of what makes jazz work. The six-week course, which launches February 2, is unique in that it will culminate on March 6 with a live stream concert featuring Monk Rowe and special musical guests performing at Hamilton’s Little Pub. With a jazz trio comprised of Tom McGrath, John Hutson, and Sean Peters, Rowe will perform original tunes used in the course.

Learners of the course who are within driving distance are encouraged to attend the live concert in person, while learners from all around the globe will be able to participate virtually via video streaming.

“This MOOC is a refreshing reminder of the power of online learning to unite people from around the globe by studying an art that connects us all,” says Ted Fondak, one of the Educational Technologists for the course.

Hamilton’s edX team hopes that the live concert will provide another opportunity for students to interact with Rowe, and encounter together the improvisatory spirit of jazz.

“If you’re really going to like jazz, you’re going to have to find the ‘a-ha’ moments yourself,” says Rowe. “My goal in this MOOC has been to assist in helping you find these epiphanies, and I hope you do. We’re going to talk about what makes this music emotional and expressive, and sometimes mysterious and magical.”

Enroll in Jazz; The Music, the Stories, the Players today and gain an inside look into this wondrous art form from the musicians who perform it.

Photo credit: Nancy Ford