I’ve been studying jazz improvisation for over twenty years at some of the most renowned institutions and with some of the most highly touted educators. However, it wasn’t until I began to work with Howard Rees at The Jazz Workshop that it all came together for me. My playing has improved exponentially since I started taking classes at The Jazz Workshop. The instruction is clear and systematic and the application of the exercises is practical and finds its way into your playing in no time.
As a classically trained pianist, for many years I had tried to “crack the code” on how to improvise and make beautiful jazz harmonies. After learning basic skills from a few jazz instructors, I stumbled upon the Howard Rees workshops by chance in an Internet search. Finally, a perfect fit! Howard is a warm and patient instructor. He teaches the Barry Harris method, which seemed foreign at first, but which other students (including several professional jazz performers) assured me would soon open up a world of new sounds. How right they were. Now in my fourth year with the workshop, I am excited to see great progress in our little Tuesday night ensemble and in my own playing.
Jazz is my passion. After fussing around, for years, trying to learn the jazz language, I finally feel I’m in the right place. As a recent new student, I find that Howard’s approach is different…against the grain…yet it makes perfect sense. His teaching style is logical, intelligent and patient. The Jazz Workshop ensemble setting is a supportive environment where real learning can take place. Howard challenges his students with the real deal tools of the great jazz legends, shows us the way and keeps this music alive.
The lessons are a joy. You never go away without learning something new. Howard has the gift of making jazz chording and patterns understandable. I have been studying jazz piano with Howard for 2 years. There are others who have faithfully studied with him for much longer. It’s a testimony to his teaching talents.
It’s everything…the jazz vocal techniques, singing week after week on stage with a piano-bass-drums ensemble, the ambience, the encouragement from fellow singers…that makes it worth my while!
Simply said, once I started with Howard’s workshops, my whole life changed – literally! I’ve always wanted to learn jazz, and tried with others without getting very far. Learning with Howard has introduced me to the beautiful world of the Barry Harris theories and harmonies, which just make logical sense, and are so much simpler to learn and apply. Howard’s sessions always gets your mind bending in many directions, introducing great ideas, and then allowing us the chance to work them through songs. We learn about how to connect and communicate musically with other band members. Howard also steps us through different scenarios to expect with a band, different ideas for arrangements etc. We really get to play in a real band type setting (full rhythm section), getting great practical experience.
So as is clear, I’m thoroughly addicted! My Monday night workshop sessions are the golden part of my week! After 2 years, i decided to join the vocal sessions too. This has also been immensely valuable to me not only for the singing, but has helped my piano playing tremendously. I’m also part of the vocal chorus, which affords us the opportunity to sing the glorious Barry Harris arrangements of his own songs as well as some standards.
Thanks Howard – I’ll never ever be bored – there’s always so much to work on, and so much to look forward to!!
I’ve attended the Jazz Workshop and the Barry Harris clinics in Toronto for several years now and I’m looking forward to attending for many more. The weekly sessions with Howard are the best context that I have found for improving my playing, as I am constantly challenged to address my weak points. Howard is a supportive and encouraging teacher who has mastered the art of constructive criticism. While the weekly sessions can be difficult, I thoroughly enjoy them. The Barry Harris approach to improvisation is the most logically complete methodology that I’m aware of. Needless to say I’m a very happy customer as the whole package has greatly enriched my musical experiences.
This is the real deal! After an undergraduate degree from one of the most celebrated Canadian Universities, and after many years of private study with some of the top jazz musicians on both sides of the border, I finally stumbled upon the Barry Harris method as taught by Howard Rees. This method not only got me playing and composing the lines I aspired to play, it brought a much deeper and complete understanding of jazz and western harmony.
The most valuable thing you will learn in the harmony classes is not how and what to play but how and what to think.
We Are One Jazz Voices:
This is where music and magic meet.
Barry Harris Workshop Video Series:
In my 20 years in sales at Canada’s largest musical instrument retailers, I’ve likely seen every instructional jazz video and workbook ever distributed. The Barry Harris Workshop Video series is really the only one I can recommend with a clear conscience.