Thrive by 5: Foundation Workshop Full Notes - page 12

An improv jazz quartet, ledbyMarkDeJong, was invited
toperform and share their insights onwhatmakes them
successful improv jazzmusicians. Thiswas to help the
ThriveBy 5 teamdevelop their own insights on and
capacity for creativity and collaboration.
Piece 1 - I’ll Remember April
“We’regoing togive you amicroscope into theworldof
jazz - it’s ametaphor for creativepossibilities. Consider
the fact that this is not aband; it is four entities that are
about to come together.”
Piece 1:
Why point out that we’re not aband? The four of us
have never played together as one unit...
Twomusicians have a script/twodon’t – different
people are leaders at different times, where in a
band, there’s one script and everyone already knows
their parts
Weplayed a lot of notes that weren’t on thepage
All wedo is rehearse; always trying toprepare
ourselves for these kindof situations, b/c
o Wehavemusical responsibility to take careof our
o Whenwe come together, we have to trust in
ourselves andwe have to come together and
trust eachother (i.e.: Jon has done his homework)
- The spirit that thewhole is greater than sumof
o We require an ability togowith the flow, change
the schedule
It’s thewatching eachother, looking for cues,
constant communication and connection, noonewas
playing as an individual and all were responding to
the cues
There is a layering, someone starts and then
someonebuilds on it – and just keepgoing from
there; keeping riffingoff eachother
This is ametaphor for collaboration – playing
different instruments is similar to the fact that there
aremany different disciplines in the sector/ECD
space.What does itmean to really collaborate?
o We’re collaborating, and there’s a common
knowledgeof themusic, but we’re also trying
topush eachother, toplay to thebest of our
abilities, trying topush ‘himout of his box’; I’m
makinghim abetter player; don’t just support
andwork together but pusheachother
Each culture has its own cues
Stepoutsideof our realmof expertise/comfort and
its interesting to seewhat happenswhenweplay
completely different roles fromwhat the audience
expects or weexpect of ourselves
Piece 2 – TwelveBar Blues
What werewedemonstrating?
Wewere testing eachother; waiting for someone to
take the lead
Horn is the equivalent of thehuman voice; I removed
myself to let others be heard
I took ‘his role’ (bass) – even thoughmy instrument
isn’t well suited to it.What does that leave thebase
player todo?He can joinmeor do something else.
o Steppingout of thebox andour own comfort
What are thepre-conditions for great collaborative
o Humility
o Senseof inner security/purpose inwhat we’re
o Enormous respect for the team
o I choose to receivebeingpushed, because I’m
humble enough to know I can changewhat I’m
doingbasedonwhat I’mbeinggiven
o Constant stateof creation, it has never beendone
before – as humans, we’re constantly in a stateof
o We’re constantly questioning if what we’redoing
isworthwhile ‘cause the signals sometimes tells
us theopposite – leads to someof the creativity
energy that comes out ofmusic, ‘causewe’re
constantly navel gazing
o “Stayedout of theway” / usedmy ears
o Hyper-critical listens
o Check ego at thedoor; peoplewith ego arenot
fun toplaywith, noplayful banner –we all hold
things dear, particularly ideas, but if we can let
that go and let someone share an idea/have
the floor/just go, that’s an important part of any
All musicians havementors they couldgoon for
hours about –mentorship is really important
Piece 3 – FamilyDay
WrittenbyMarkwhen his sonwas born (the first Family
Day in Saskatchewan)
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