THE AFRO-SEMITIC EXPERIENCE
The workshops and clinics that The Afro-Semitic Experience offer come in many forms--as a group or with individual members leading specialized workshops. Every member of the group is an experienced teacher. Bringing The Afro-Semitic Experience in for a series of workshops is like bringing in an entire university of musical and spiritual knowledge and information.
Teen and Adult Vocal and Instrumental Workshops
The group works with singers and instrumentalists: teaching the process of creating inter-cultural music as well as infusing spirituality into performance. The group has scores that can be rehearsed and performed with Choirs, Big Bands of any size and Orchestras of almost any type.
Unity in the Community: A Program for Youths of any Age
Unity in the Community is a workshop program involving the study music and culture offered by the members of the Afro-Semitic Experience. These workshops use African, African American and Jewish music and culture as a guide to help all people to understand themselves and each other so that we can break down the wall of fear and create a unified community. This takes place in a holistic environment where culture, music, and self-respect are joined together.
Will Bartlett has thirty years of experience as a professional woodwind performer and educator. He has led saxophone master classes and workshops on jazz improvisation, jazz theory, arranging and composing for the small ensemble, and Klezmer clarinet interpretation.
Warren Byrd is a pianist, composer, and vocalist with an extensive and eclectic background. He has led workshops in Jazz Composition and Theory, Jazz Piano, as well as Gospel Arranging and Composition, and Vocal Training. Some of his workshop titles include Synthesis and Music as Spiritual Process.
Dr. David Chevan specializes in the history and performance of jazz and Jewish music. Along with his writing and arranging for jazz and Klezmer groups, he composes original Jewish liturgical works. He has experience directing big bands and large Klezmer ensembles. David leads teaching workshops on rhythm section playing in jazz and Klezmer, how to introduce classically trained singers and instrumental musicians to improvisation; and how to mix traditional world musical with the language of jazz improvisation.
The late Baba David Coleman was a Yoruba priest, African drummer, and African drum builder. His workshops used African culture as a guide to help all people to understand themselves and each other so we can break down the wall of fear. His workshop, Drumming for Peace, includes lessons in drum making and learning techniques for performing Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, Afro-American, and West African drum styles. We continue to use Baba Coleman's teachings in our workshops to this day.
Abu Alvin Carter, Sr. & Babafemi Alvin Carter, Jr. play drum set, Afro-Caribbean percussion, and the drums of the West Afrikan djembe drum ensemble. Their workshops and clinics focus on many styles of drumming including jazz, R&B, gospel, and blues. They have developed an innovative and exciting workshop for merging Afro-Caribbean, West Afrikan and Klezmer drum styles with contemporary percussion patterns.
Unity in the Community is a workshop program involving the study music and culture offered by the members of the Afro-Semitic Experience. These workshops use African, African-American and Jewish music and culture as a guide to help all people to understand themselves and each other so that we can break down the wall of fear and create a unified community. This takes place in a holistic environment where culture, music, and self-respect are joined together.
Students will study:
- Drum making
- African and Jewish drumming patterns
- Jewish songs and modes
- African and African-American spirituals, songs, and modes
- Techniques for performing in a multicultural music ensemble
The workshops will guide participants through an awareness journey towards self-discovery through music making; everyone will learn percussion as well study on their own instrument. The workshops will explore: a value system based on West African and Jewish music traditions which involves concepts such as cooperation and teamwork; the mutual value of humans to one another and the world; a sense of belonging; how to solidify place and position in a family structure; self-respect for family and elders; and bridging the gap between cultural understandings.
The length of the program can be a day or a week—depending upon interest (and budget!!). A typical day includes classes on drumming, melody, a daily special activity, improvisation, and ensemble rehearsals. For the weeklong program students will be divided by skill level and musical interest into ensembles. On one evening of the week the Afro-Semitic Experience will give a concert that all students will attend and participate.
Sample daily schedule for week long program:
9:00-9:50 Drumming class
10:00-10:50 Song and melody class
11:00-12:00 Ensemble rehearsal
1:30-2:20 Daily Special Workshop (on some aspect of music and culture)
2:30-3:20 Improvisation class
3:30-4:30 Ensemble rehearsal
Concert or other activity at night
"You all were great! Matt, from our pop ensemble, (and all of us) gained a lot of confidence and thought quite a bit about that experience. Our "Cultural Competencies," enjoyed the conversation, so thank you! The drumming workshop was fun, and informative as far at learning some beginning drum techniques. But what I most appreciate was that Jocelyn and Alvin took the time to explain the cultural origin of the instruments, regions, and attached meanings of the rhythms."
Heidi Jensen, PhD (she/her/hers)
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music