A master jazz musician will use music to teach today in an event at West Des Moines Valley High School. Stefon Harris says he’s always liked to teach and today’s workshop is called “How to Listen.”His ensemble will play a piece and ask what the students have heard. He’ll then tell them about some things that’re happening that they didn’t notice. Harris says jazz is a good teaching tool because it features solo and group concepts.He says jazz requires each individual to be unique, yet it requires everyone to contribute. Harris says society today is so fast paced, it takes a little more work to teach kids.Harris says kids are interested, they just need the exposure to learn. Many Iowa schools are cutting back on music and art programs in these tough budget times. Harris says cutting music denies kids an important outlet for expression. He says if students have the desire to play well, they’re constantly looking inside themselves to find things they’ve never discovered before. He says the music can improve the kids, even if they don’t become a musician.Harris says he’s always loved music, and probably first discovered that love watching cartoons on t-v. He used to watch and play along with the music on cartoons such as the “Pink Panther.” Harris received a Grammy nomination for his 1999 release “Black Action Figure.” He’ll perform tonight at Drake University at 8 o’clock.
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