Register: Core Program
Register: Creative Process

The Creative Music Workshop (CMW) is a 10-day intensive program where the ensemble is the classroom and improvisation is more than a style, it’s a path for learning.

CMW is led by a world class faculty of working artists who possess exceptional skills as educators and improvising musicians. CMW participants gain knowledge through experiential learning rather than theory-based instruction. Faculty share their vast experience with students through a range of activities such as Creative Process (including movement exercises), mentorship, live performance preparation and ensemble work in duos, trios, etc.

Julian Priester (trombone – Seattle)
Jane Ira Bloom (saxophone- NYC)

Jerry Granelli (drums – Halifax)
J. Anthony Granelli (electric bass – NYC)
Christian Kogel (guitar- Berlin)
Dani Oore (saxophones – Toronto)
Simon Fisk (bass – Calgary)
Tim Crofts (piano – Halifax)
Susanne Chui (dance – Halifax)

Through CMW, students understand what it takes to “make Music with a big M” using improvisation and spontaneous composition as a way of learning. CMW helps students become better composers and more accomplished performers. CMW prepares musicians and artists of all disciplines for school, live performance and broader life experiences.

Creative Process
Creative minds of all disciplines, including music, dance and visual arts, are welcome to attend. Students will deepen their creative practice by learning the fundamental principles of the CMW Creative Process. These half-day sessions offer a range of collective and individual exercises such as improvisation, movement, listening, communication. Find out more here.

Core ProgramC
The Core Program offers practical experiences for musicians and artists of all disciplines and skill levels to take their practice to the next level. In addition to learning the fundamentals of the CMW Creative Process, students play with each other for up to eight hours a day and receive intensive instruction from a renowned faculty as well as performance opportunities at the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Find out more here.

Guest Clinicians
Each year, the CMW brings in special guest clinicians who offer additional opportunities for students to learn about improvisation and spontaneous composition from renowned artists, some who live in Halifax and others who are in town for the festival. Clinics are generally 1-2 hours long and take place within the daily CMW schedule.

2015 guest clinicians will be announced with the 2015 TD Halifax Jazz Festival lineup.

Tuition fees do not include accommodation costs; however, students seeking accommodations may note this on their application. The Halifax Jazz Festival staff will provide support for participants to find suitable living arrangements during their participation in the program.

CMW celebrates 20 Years in 2015!

2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the Halifax Jazz Festival’s Creative Music Workshop.

Founded in 1996 by percussionist Jerry Granelli, saxophonist Don Palmer and bassist Skip Beckwith, for two decades CMW has been a central component of the Halifax Jazz Festival. Over the years, it has been instrumental in fostering a strong artistic community not just in Halifax, but across North America.

CMW’s faculty head Jerry Granelli established the music department at the Naropa Institute in Boulder in 1976, and has since had a remarkable career giving clinics and workshops on creative process and improvisation at music institutions worldwide. He was a pioneer in developing the CMW’s distinctive model for teaching ‘creative process’, an approach that has now been integrated into renowned arts institutions throughout North America such as the Banff Centre and the Vancouver Creative Music Institute.

CMW students have learned from an impressive roster of music educators over the years, including J. Anthony Granelli, Christian Kögel, Julian Priester, David Tronzo, Dave Douglas, Jay Clayton, David Mott, Jane Ira Bloom, Bill Frisell, Mike Murley, Matt Brubeck, Simon Fisk, Dani Oore, Rufus Ried and Sheila Jordan among others.

For 20 years CMW has provided inspiration, education and exciting opportunities for creative individuals of all ages. The benefits that this program has had on students and the broader arts community have been profound. CMW alumni have gone on to become professional artists, educators and creative individuals worldwide.

Here’s what past participants have to say about the program:

“With an open mind to make the most out of any situation it is fantastic. Personally, I loved it and felt I learned a lot and will keep learning from it when I go home.” ? Carolyn Curry (Antigonish – voice)

“I think everyone from any musical background should do the CMW. It challenges you to rethink everything you have learned about listening to music, making music and experiencing art.” ? Claire Leger (Halifax – theater)

“CMW has changed my life and the way I play. It has allowed me to experience directly what it means to be a musician … and to understand the process and how to work to get there.” ? Denma Peisinger (Halifax- guitar)

“It is not a question of how dramatically I feel that I have improved, as much as a question of how much more I now see I can improve.” ? Dani Oore (Toronto – saxophone)

“The chance for young Maritime musicians to workshop with Canadian and International jazz artists is a rare and wonderful opportunity. I only wish that the CMW existed when I was growing up in Nova Scotia.” ? Mike Murley (Toronto – saxophone)

“CMW is an experience that has changed my life forever. It is a collective where the creative process is given the highest priority, the creative process being a path, and not a destination. By destination, I mean that no one practices a lot and then decides to make great music for the rest of their lives. Instead CMW teaches the creative process as a path, and during my time at CMW I decided I would commit to following it for my entire life. On this path, the struggle to make music is never over, every new playing situation is going to require complete focus and a different approach. In the workshop we tackle issues like fear, active listening, playing in the moment, technique, trust, commitment, so that when the moment to play comes we are ready to be creative and make the best music possible. This is an intensive experience because life changing ideas are coming into play, but when I came out of CMW I had direction and I am still following that direction four years later because it works. As long as I stay on this path I will be making music, and I have CMW to thank for that.” ? Alex Purcell (Halifax – guitar)