Jazz drummer John Morrison visits Cathedral School | Video, pictures, photos

HE might be better known on the jazz circuit, but drummer John Morrison was only too happy to share some of these skills during a dedicated workshop at the Cathedral School.

The musician, drummer, band leader and educator is midway through a regional tour thanks to the Australian Institute of Music (AIM).

He dropped into the Cathedral School on Thursday and hosted a number of sessions with the school’s stage band.

The lessons culminated in a short show and improvisation session in the hall in front of some of the school’s other students.

“It’s lovely to come in and see such a strong musical environment here and Bathurst has some great talent here,” Mr Morrison said.

“There’s lots of great music here, good teachers.”

Mr Morrison said his mission was to encourage schools that don’t have a band program to commence one similar to that at Cathedral School’s.

He said improvisation was an important lesson to learn for any musician and likened teaching it to the way you teach a new language where listening to someone say the word is different to reading it in a book.

It’s lovely to come in and see such a strong musical environment here and Bathurst has some great talent here.

John Morrison, jazz musician

“It’s really a great skill for any musician to learn, particularly when they’re this age, they learn it very quickly and it’s very natural for them,” Mr Morrison said.

“Taking the music stands away all of a sudden means they’re not playing with their eyes anymore.

“When musicians first start they’re learning to read, so they see a note on the page and then they compute what that might be on the instrument and then the last thing is the ear, to hear it.

“We use that same technique to teach jazz.”

Cathedral School music co-ordinator Donna Miller said it was a great benefit for the students to learn from Mr Morrison, especially the improvisation techniques.

“Improvisation usually doesn’t happen until they’re in high schools, but it’s a great skill to have,” she said.

Ms Miller said the sessions were an: “amazing opportunity for the children to experience such great music”.

The high energy session had students listening intently, tapping their feat and belting out music.

“It was absolutely contagious,” Ms Miller said.

Mr Morrison said AIM will be launching a number of new music scholarships for students in the Central West next year.