Trombone Shorty and Tulane to teach young New Orleans musicians
Five-year-old Trombone Shorty playing at a jazz funeral in the Treme neighborhood.
Photo credit: Trombone Shorty
Story by: Mary Sparacello
After School Academy will launch this spring
Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews started playing music at age 4, parading the streets of his Treme neighborhood with a trombone bigger than he. He became a bandleader and traveling musician by age 8, and, now, is an internationally recognized musician who has entertained at the White House and received a Tulane President's Medal for his charity work.
But Andrews hasn't prospered by himself. In addition to talent and hard work, he credits mentors with encouraging his musical development. And now he is working with Tulane University to create a corps of musician-mentors who will guide the next generation of New Orleans musical artists.
"He understands the value of receiving opportunity and how much of a game-changer it can be," says Bill Taylor, executive director of the Trombone Shorty Foundation. The foundation is partnering with the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane to launch the Trombone Shorty Academy, which will target underserved New Orleans high school students who are musically gifted.
"If we give other young musicians the opportunity, and they want it like Troy wanted it, we will have more successful young people," says Jesse McBride, the Tulane instructor and popular jazz pianist picked to teach high school students starting this spring. Other Tulane students will mentor Trombone Shorty scholars as part of the university's service learning program.
High school performers must audition to participate in the free after-school program at Tulane. Some students who will join the academy may not aspire to attend college, but organizers hope bringing them on campus will change their minds. "They will see they can be part of the Tulane community," McBride says.
The Trombone Shorty Academy's purpose is to teach young musicians the rich musical traditions of the region. Starting with gospel, traditional jazz and early brass band music, students will study rhythm and blues, soul and "SupaFunkRock," a term coined by Trombone Shorty to describe his unique style, a hybrid of the New Orleans music he has played throughout his life.
Andrews also foresees the academy as a place that empowers youth to choose music as a career. That means teaching music fundamentals and business acumen. Once students learn to write music, McBride said, they can learn to copyright a song.
Andrews' involvement with the academy will be hands-on, with opportunities for local youth to perform before large audiences once they achieve proficiency as a performance ensemble, said Taylor. "What this is about, is giving these young, promising musicians the tools to be successful," he said.
Message from the Dean
Celebrating 2012 Accomplishments
On Friday, December 7th we held the School of Liberal Art's annual faculty recognition party. Since its inception, over the last five years, we have celebrated nearly 150 outstanding accomplishments: books that have change the way scholars look at their field; creative activities that have touched our minds as well as our souls; edited texts that have brought together the best in a discipline; translations that have made great works accessible to others. In many cases, these publications and artistic productions represent years of work. Scholars have spent countless hours in research, analysis, and writing; artists have labored long in their studios. Thus, while our party was all too brief, it did allow us to acknowledge the extraordinary time and effort that led to these amazing accomplishments.
News from the field:
Evolutions in Culture
Critics generally agree that the cultural phenomenon known as hip hop originated in the Bronx, New York; but you'd be hard-pressed to convince me and my B-Girls growing up in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, throughout the 1980s and 1990s, that our pops, locks, and drops were not the most skillful, most innovative, and most daring expressions of hip hop dance nationwide.
Our battle routines regularly opened with a highly anticipated, crowd-pleasing a cappella signification on Man Parrish's classic hit "Boogie Down Bronx":
We came here to do a def dance for you/
In the Boogie Down Breaux Bridge it's the SK-3 Crew/
Breaux Bridge is the place to be, no doubt/
So clear the floor party people as we rock the house.
During my sabbatical last Spring, I returned to Strawberry's, the bi-level barnyard-turned-hip hop-dance club, where I spent just about every Saturday night of my late teens and early 20s, earning the dance moniker that defined my earliest relationship with hip hop culture.
End of Semester Celebration
Pamina Buechner and Brennah Murphy, both German majors, enjoy holiday cookies at the end-of-semester department celebration.