Workshops & Master Classes
James Emery brings the knowledge and experience of many years of exploring and international guitar performance to his educational events. With more than 40 years of involvement in every aspect of both performance and professional activities, James’ hands-on, in-the-trenches experience in every aspect of creativity in the performing arts is thoroughly enriching and informative to anyone who is interested in any aspect of the artistic career.
James Emery’s educational activities include master classes, guitar instruction, improvisation, ensemble coaching, composition/harmony/theory, and business/professional applications. Emery has taught jazz ensemble at SUNY Orange for over 6 years, arranging, coaching and conducting student concerts. He was also on the adjunct faculty of the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College.
Guitarists have the opportunity to learn the jazz language; and studying how to make stylistically appropriate picking, phrasing and articulation choices. Information to broaden harmonic understanding - with fingerboard and chord diagrams - will be taught with an emphasis on fingerboard understanding. The balanced use of intervals, chord tones and scales in improvisation will be demonstrated and discussed. Diminished and whole tone scales explained and demonstrated with clear and easy to understand fingerboard diagrams. Quartal harmony - chords built on 4ths - will be introduced and clarified.
Various Topics Covered in Guitar Workshops
- Learning to play in different sections of the fingerboard
- Rakes (sweeps)
- Ornamentations (turns, mordants, slides)
- Hammer-ons & Pull-offs
- Getting more out of scales
- Extracting melodic material from chord forms
- The use of color tones, chromatic passing tones
- How modes interlock in guitar scale forms
- Playing the guitar orchestrally
Improvisation and the Guitar
An extensive course for students who would like to explore the possibilities of improvising on the guitar. Topics include: chromatic approaches to harmonic improvisation, legato playing in time, "open" playing, use of articulations (trills, muting, glisses, bending, etc.), extended techniques (collegno battuta, natural and artificial harmonics, ponticello, percussion, Bartok snaps, prepared guitar, playing off the fingerboard, etc.) and historic approaches.
Thelonious Monk’s music as applied to the guitar. Several compositions, including Four in One, Evidence, Monk’s Mood, Well You Needn’t, Crepuscule With Nellie and Eronel will be explored in detail.
In the Mode
A discussion and demonstration of the use of modes in improvisation. The D Dorian mode is examined in detail resulting in a greater understanding of the origin of “quatral harmony” (chords built on 4ths), and substitution of keys derived from modal sources. Miles Davis’ landmark compositions So What and Milestones will be explored from a variety of angles.