Improvisation Intensive

Building on more than a decade of study and work with Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band and at festivals, reading groups, jam sessions, and in the practice room, I've created the classes that I always wished I could take as I was learning about klezmer music.


Each is roughly equivalent to an undergraduate course and is designed for advanced students or for serious amateur or professional musicians looking for a deeper grounding in klezmer.


Each course runs weekly for 11 Wednesdays between June 9th and August 18th. Attending the full sequence will give you the most complete educational experience, but you may elect to sign up for specific sessions on the registration form.


All classes will take place over Zoom and are open to interested learners from anywhere in the world. I’ll be limiting the class size so we can maintain a proper workshop atmosphere, so sign up early to confirm your spot.



Improvisation Intensive

Improvisation Intensive is a semester-long exploration of improvisation in klezmer music. We'll dig into doinas and kale bazetsns in pre-revitalization klezmer music and take a look at what's been going for the past 40 years or so, too. Through transcription, analysis, and workshop-style critiques, we’ll develop a deeper understanding of how improvisation works in klezmer and practice applying that knowledge in our own improvisations.


Price: $300/semester or $35/individual class for live participation. $200 for semi-synchronous

Dates: June 9 - August 18, 2021

Time: Wednesdays from noon to 1:00 pm EDT (Boston time) or semi-synchronous

(Time doesn't work for you? Consider filling out a new course request form and we'll do our best to accommodate your schedule!)

Who Should Take This Class?

Anyone is welcome to sign up, but Improvisation Intensive is designed for advanced students or for serious amateur or professional musicians who are used to reading and analyzing music and to learning "by ear".



Course Goals

By the end of this course, you’ll be able to distinguish a doina from a kale bazetsn. You'll have a clear understanding of how improvisation worked in pre-revitalization klezmer music and how it sounds today. And, most importantly, you'll be able to use improvisation tastefully and knowledgeably in your own performances.


Semi-synchronous learners

We've added a semi-synchronous for learners who are unable to attend the course during class time. Here's how it works.

- You receive the class videos and any supplemental materials each week by Thursday afternoon.

- You schedule 3 20-minute check-ins with the instructor at mutually agreed upon times, once near the beginning, once near the middle, and once near the end of the course.

Available only for full semester.


Course expectations

Each session will combine listening and discussion with performance. Joining with your instrument will help you get the most out of the experience, but you should feel comfortable attending even if you are unable to play along during class time. All instruments, including voice and instruments that aren’t “traditionally” found in klezmer, are welcome and encouraged!


We learn best when we engage critically with the course materials and with each other. Asking questions, addressing points of confusion, or disagreeing with the instructor or your peers: these will help all of us learn together. It is incumbent upon you to let us know when you don’t understand something, whether in class or by email afterwards. That’s how we’ll know to continue discussing a particular concept or to revisit it later.


The classroom is a safe place to make mistakes and to expose all of our gaps in knowledge and understanding. Doing so will help us all grow.


Finally, while readings, listenings, and projects are not required, putting in the time outside of class to prepare will help you get more out of our discussions.


About the instructor

Nat Seelen is co-founder and clarinetist of the internationally acclaimed Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band. He has performed at major venues across the United States and Europe, including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Rockport Music, Tanglewood, Het Compagnietheater, the St. Louis International Festival, and City Winery, among many others.


Nat is the winner of the Bubbe Award for Best New Klezmer Tune at the 2020 IMJ Brazil Kleztival, the 2015 Klezmer Company Orchestra Composition Competition, and with Ezekiel’s Wheels Klezmer Band won the Audience Prize and the City Winery Prize for Best Klezmer Band at the International Jewish Music Festival and the inaugural Klezmer Idol competition at the Boston Jewish Music Festival.


Outside of his private studio, Nat has led workshops and masterclasses at Tufts University, Community Music Works Providence, Milton Academy, and at K-12 schools across Massachusetts through Young Audiences of Massachusetts.


Accessibility

The New Klezmer is committed to full inclusion of all interested students. With the understanding that Zoom is not always the optimal modality for providing accessible experiences, we will always do our best to make this class accessible to you. All New Klezmer courses are taught in English and assume at least an intermediate (B1) level of English comprehension. Students whose primary language is not English may find the post-class written transcripts useful and should contact the instructor in advance if concerned about their level.


Built-in accommodations include:

  • Live and post-class written transcripts available via Otter.AI.

  • Recordings available post-class on the course website.


Please inform the instructor as early as possible if you have any conditions that might require accommodations or further modification of the course procedures.


Refunds

Withdrawing prior to 1 week in advance of the course start date entitles you to a full refund of course tuition, minus any processing fees. If you have to withdraw between 1 week prior the course date and the second class, you can apply the rest of your tuition toward another course. There are no refunds after the second class.


A/V release

By signing up for a course, you agree that the instructor may record any or all sessions of that course, including your participation in it. We record courses so that we can send you recordings afterward each class or if you are unable to attend a given class, and may use edited recordings from classes in promotional or educational materials. If you are not comfortable appearing in a class recording, please notify the instructor prior to the first class so we can plan accordingly.