Steinway Artist John Stetch is a 6-time Juno Nominee, and has written dozens of compositions for solo piano, jazz combo and more recently, classical chamber formats. Originally from Edmonton, he attended McGill University and later moved to New York where he played his own music at the top clubs including Mezzrow, Smalls, Smoke and the Jazz Standard. Stetch toured across several continents, and was a member of Rufus Reid's group for nearly a decade. He taught at Cornell University and Ithaca College for several years, won the Prix Du Jazz at the Montreal Jazz Festival in 1998, and was a finalist in the Thelonious International Monk Competition twice - once as a composer and once as a performer. Stetch divides his time between Vancouver and NYC, and is especially passionate about softening the barrier that divides classical and jazz, and fusing ethnic and popular music with his personal jazz stamp. He is currently pursuing a Master's of Music in classical composition at UBC and is on the faculty of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra School of Music. Stetch just released his 14th CD - Vulneraville: The Vancouver Concert.
John Stetch was a "hit" with our students at Brookside from grades K-6, introducing them to the world of jazz. From a hands-on workshop with grades 5 and 6 to an inspiring performance, his name was a buzz in the weeks after. We are looking forward to having him back. Dorianne Martyniuk, Music Teacher, Edmonton Public Schools
John's formidable musical talent and desire to share it with our students has made him a very welcome addition to our portfolio of guest speaker-performers. He adapts easily to each new student group and brings music to a level of learning and sheer enjoyment that leaves a huge impression on our students. We very much look forward to his next appearance at our school. Daria Porochiwnyk, Teacher, Ukrainian Bilingual Program
Through John's presentation, my students gained valuable knowledge on the skill set of musical improvisation. Definitely want John back! Great connection with my students and valuable hands-on skills taught. Lesia Pohoreski, St. Theresa Bilingual School, Edmonton
John Stetch has a number of ways he can engage students in the creation of jazz music. He gently adds elements to build confidence and get even the shyest student involved. He can work with a dozen or so students at a time to play Orff instruments or a few other instruments if available. They start with some jazz riffs, learned by ear, then add layers, and finally letting students improvise over the groove. Stetch also works with students to democratically create a short composition by taking suggestions about which key, which notes to start with, what tempo and mood for each section, and then improvise a piece
Jazz originally revolved around the great American Songbook of the 1920-50 period, is where all pop music originated from, and piano has been said to be the king of all instruments throughout history! Classroom projects are typically 8 weeks long, with Stetch visiting for about an hour or one class each week. By the end of the 8 weeks, students will have a solid foundation in the basics of jazz, be confident to take the risk of simple improvisation and know how easy it is to compose when one stops self-judgement. John Stetch starts by playing popular themes à la jazz, such as the Star Wars theme and O Canada. In subsequent classes, Stetch and the students play together on Orff or available similar instruments. Students will sing collectively, explore classic jazz rhythms, basic blues form, jazz chords, develop the ear, and work up to syncopated rhythms.