Viewing entries tagged
Institute for Creative Music

How do I play swing eighth notes?

How do I play swing eighth notes?

Today's Wednesday Watch is a bit more of an educational focus, and is a cross post from the Insitute for Creative Music Vlog! Have you seen what we're up to over at the IfCM ( 

Sometimes we don't really know how to talk about playing swing eighth notes. Are they dotted eighth sixteenths? 

There's not really any of those things, it is something totally different. I think that the only way for you to develop a great jazz feel, and how to play jazz and swing, is to learn from the masters.

IfCM Teaching Artist and Co-Director Nick Finzer explores his approach to playing jazz and swing eighth notes, and how to explore further on your own!


Fall is here - busy, busy, busy!

Greetings all!

I hope the start of the new school year is treating everyone well! I know it's been a busy fall so far here in New York!

I'm excited to get underway once again this year with the Jazz Standard Youth Orchestra! The second week of auditions are this weekend October 13th and the season kicks off promptly October 20th! This is a free program for students in middle and high school - please send interested students our way! It's an amazing opportunity to perform each week at the Jazz Standard! Not to mention all of the amazing guest artists David O'Rourke brings in!

This fall has also given me the opportunity to share the music from my January release Exposition with Arizona! I will be at the Nash in Phoenix on Saturday October 26th, giving a master class the day before at Arizona state university, and on Sunday I'll be a guest of the Tucson Jazz Institute! Can't wait for these performances!

Additionally I'll be able to present my own groups in the coming months here in New York! November 3rd we return to The National for "The National Sessions", and my trio with Jimmy Macbride and Clovis Nicolas will be back at the Bar Next Door on December 2nd!

The Institute for Creative Music makes it's return to Montana this November thanks to another grant award from the plum creek foundation, from the 17th - 24th, this time in Missoula! The week prior, November 11-16th the Ifcm will be I residence in Buffalo and Rochester. Really looking forward to expanding on the programming we began last year!

Whew! And last but not least I am excited to share with you all that I am a video blogger for the new website by the Eastman school of Music's Institute for Music Leadership,  We are three posts in so far, and can't wait to continue this collaboration! You can check out the videos at and by subscribing to my YouTube channel at

A lot of news to share! And more to come I'm sure!

Thanks for supporting the music, looking forward to seeing some of you out at some gigs!

Until next time,

             -  Nick



Montana and Washington, November 2012

Wow! What a great 10 days. I just concluded a whirlwind tour of Northwestern Montana and Eastern Washington, with my non-profit: The Institute for Creative Music. Last summer, my drummer friend Chris Teal and I decided to put our heads together to formalize some of the educational clinics/touring that we had done between 2007 and 2010 and the Institute for Creative Music was born!  You can check out the IfCM at

Thanks to a generous grant from the Plum Creek Foundation, we were enabled to travel to Kalispell, Montana and work with five high schools there, as well as with the surrounding music community. We presented workshops, clinics, and performances for almost 1400 students, and taught for a combined total of 37.4 hours! We had two appearances in the local papers (with a third on the way), and a big hit was of course, free IfCM stickers! After our time in Montana, we traveled west to Spokane, WA (Chris’ hometown) and had a day of whirlwind visits to Mt. Spokane HS, Eastern Washington University, and Whitworth University. It was a productive tour for sure!

It is an amazing thing to spend time with energetic and passionate music students. Their energy and willingness to try new things (even if they are foreign or challenging) is truly inspiring. We worked with concert bands, orchestras, jazz combos, big bands, and choirs. Each and every one of the students we worked with was improvising and participating in creative music making.

Spending time teaching with the co-director of IfCM Chris Teal, and our teaching artists: Mike Kaupa (trumpet), Chris Ziemba (piano), and Matthew Golombisky (bass) was a real treat. We are excited to be moving ahead with a number of projects to continue the momentum that was started this past week!