Farewell Sligo Jazz 2019

Another magical week in Sligo.

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And it’s not just about the amazing music around all week – it’s as much about the interactions and conversations with students and tutors alike.

Like one of the team of volunteers explaining to me what motivates him to give of his time for the week – ‘I just think that if we can treat these amazing musicians as well as possible, it makes it more likely that they and others will want to come back’.

Or my class of young piano students telling me on the last day how motivated they were to go home and practice. And the youngest of them all asking the most detailed questions on what exactly he should go home and spend his time at.

Or one of many great conversations with one of the drum tutors in which he explained the importance of his job to ‘centre’ the music – i.e. make it easier for others to play with him. And living up to his word by making me feel like I was floating on the piano during our performance together.

And the drummer in my ensemble making the most of his performance by rocking out on the endings – extending them for as long as possible.

Hearing how other musicians make it work for them. From the ones playing with Gary Barlow and The Eagles to the one who has an album written and recorded but is finding it difficult to figure out how to release it.

The trad player who is an amazing musician but came on the course to ‘learn more chords’. And the jazz drummer who spent the week searching for the best trad sessions in town, to remind him of his trad dancing past.

On the other side of things, I had a conversation with a student who told me about how seeing all these other amazing musicians made his confidence in his own playing wane as the week went on. But it’s nothing that a bit of practice won’t cure.

The other student who described the week as ‘heaven’.

And I have never been there but this couldn’t have been far off it. And it all happened in our town. We are so lucky, and it’s always an honour to be a part of it, as a student or tutor.

Take a bow once again Eddie, Therese and the whole team. You have created something special and we are all so grateful.