Melissa Forbes

Mysteries Of Jazz Unveiled

Ever wondered how Ella scats; how Sarah phrases so beautifully; or how Billie can break your heart with her storytelling? These are just some of the mysteries that will be revealed at the MCGREGOR IN THE VINES JAZZ WORKSHOP on 7 and 8 May in Stanthorpe.

Stylish vocalist, MELISSA FORBES, together with renowned Brisbane jazz guitarist, BRUCE WOODWARD will combine forces to help ‘lift the veil’ on the mysterious and often intimidating world of jazz singing and performance. “Bruce is a very experienced jazz guitarist and teacher, and has also supported such artists as Diana Krall, Jamie Cullum, George Benson and Sting so anyone interested in jazz guitar would also get a lot out of the weekend,” said Mrs Forbes.

The weekend workshop has been designed to appeal to a range of levels; from amateurs to more experienced musicians. “Amateurs can expect to have fun, listen to some experts strut their stuff and  learn in a supportive atmosphere, while others with more experience can expect to deepen their understanding of the art form as well as experimenting with the ideas presented.”

Melissa Forbes

In 2000, Melissa stepped away from her life as a corporate lawyer to begin jazz and contemporary voice studies at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music.

“I have always loved singing, but didn’t start singing lessons until I was 28.”

Now, much sought-after, Melissa has a successful singing career – having sung alongside Michael Buble, Naturally 7 and more recently David Hobson; her own record label; a reputation as a leading contemporary voice coach; and a position as Lecturer in Voice at USQ.

“When I first embarked on formal voice training, it was in the context of a jazz course, and I knew nothing about jazz as a genre. The world of jazz can be intimidating to the uninitiated as it appears as if the musicians are speaking an entirely different language – which in effect they are. But once you grasp that concept, and start to learn the vocabulary of that language, it all becomes far more accessible.”

It is this love and appreciation of the world of jazz that Melissa hopes to pass on to others during the two-day workshop. Participants will learn the essentials of jazz performance including how to learn songs properly and aspects of jazz rhythm, phrasing, storytelling and improvisation, how to communicate with other musicians on the bandstand and the basics of good contemporary vocal technique.

“Each day we will cover a mix of theory and practice in jazz, including fun group exercises, ensemble singing and, for those wishing to, opportunities to sing solo and workshop with other performers,” Melissa says.

Part of the USQ McGregor in the Vines series, this weekend getaway combines a love of the Arts with an appreciation of fine food and wine and set in the heart of the Granite Belt at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism in Stanthorpe. “This will be ideal setting to create a relaxed atmosphere with a focus on learning through fun, rather than hard work!”

For further information  call 07 4631 2755 or visit www.usq.edu.au/mcgregor

Submitted by:
Michelle Fox
USQ Artsworx

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