Vermont Jazz Center offering online classes

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BRATTLEBORO — Although forced to cancel or postpone upcoming classes and concerts because of the novel coronavirus, the Vermont Jazz Center at Cotton Mill Hill is working on ways to continue reaching out to keep the music community together.

As one step, VJC is offering online classes, including Understanding Rhythm with Julian Gerstin on Tuesdays from 4 to 5 p.m. via Zoom. The class is being offered free of charge. Register online at

Suitable for all musicians, not just drummers, this is a class in feeling and creating rhythmically.

The class is at an intermediate level and is intended for adults and teens. Participants will work on basic rhythmic exercises and reading; more advanced rhythms and polyrhythms; and using rhythm in improvisation (on any instrument).

Students will listen to fun and tricky examples from around the world, and learn about typical rhythms in a few selected styles, such as Latin jazz and Caribbean folklore. Topics to be covered include:

- Basic rhythmic exercises (clapping and vocalizing)

- More advanced rhythmic exercises (e.g., syncopations; polyrhythm)

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- Reading rhythm (basic level; just enough to be able to discuss it)

- A little theory: some concepts for understanding how rhythm works

- Hearing and recognizing rhythm when listening (maybe some transcription)

- Typical rhythms in various styles (funk/rap, shuffle, swing, son/salsa/mambo, samba, calypso/soca)

- Rhythm in melody; how melodies incorporate rhythm

- Using rhythm in improvisation, including melodic improvisation, and in composition

- Examples of fun and tricky rhythms from around the world

Handouts and recordings for the class are on Google Drive. If you don't have Zoom, go to and download the program.


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