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Take Five with Rob Saffer of the Creative Music Foundation

Creative Music Foundation By

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In this installment of Take Five we hear from Executive Director Rob Saffer of the Creative Music Foundation, an organization founded in 1971 by Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman. CMS has brought together leading innovators in the jazz and world music communities through their CMS workshops.

About the Creative Music Studio Fall Workshop:
Composer/multi-instrumentalist and Creative Music Studio alumnus Peter Apfelbaum, master percussionist/educator Billy Martin, and composer/saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa will join CMS Artistic Directors/Co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso as Guiding Artists for the Creative Music Studio Fall 2015 Workshop Intensive, October 5-9, at the ear-inspiring Full Moon Resort in Big Indian, NY. CMS's Fall 2015 Workshop features a format designed to create ample opportunities for participants and Guiding Artists to interact directly, both formally and informally. This workshop, during the height of the autumn colors, features one Guiding Artist working with participants in two workshops each day. As in the past, there will be daily CMS Basic Practice (body movement, breath work, rhythm and vocal training), as well as 90 minutes each day with Karl Berger leading orchestra of improvisers. Additional Guiding Artists, such as bassist Ken Filiano and vocalist Jen Shyu, among others, will be on hand to work with participants on a more personal level, informally coaching, playing and tutoring daily.

CMS Workshop Open to All:
Open to all instrumentalists, vocalists and even non-musicians. Anyone can register via the Creative Music Foundation website, even until the day before the workshop starts on October 5. And, due to a successful fundraising drive, generous scholarship discounts are available—just contact CMS to find out.

What's it like to attend CMS?
CMS Workshops feature four days of intensive workshops, master classes, intimate concerts and informal jam sessions that inspire active listening, personal expression, improvisation and musical exploration. Musicians on any instrument, including voice, are welcome, as are non-musicians. Adults who played music earlier in their lives can benefit from this lifelong learning opportunity that offers participants a once-in-a-lifetime experience to learn from and play with music masters, and to simply spend time with them in an informal, personal setting. The non-traditional atmosphere of the Creative Music Studio Workshop encourages participants to experiment, push beyond limits, genres and categories, to take risks, and to develop their own deeply personal musical expression. "CMS has always been about musical sharing across cultures," said Karl Berger. "This workshop delivers on that promise. We're excited to learn more about Indian Carnatic music from Rudresh, and are blessed to be joined by Billy, an extraordinary drummer who is equally as committed to education. And, of course Peter, is the consummate CMS artist, originally coming to CMS as a teenager in the 1970s."

CMS Workshop Guiding Artists in 2013 and 2104 included: Vijay Iyer, Dave Douglas, John Medeski, Henry Threadgill Joe Lovano, Marty Ehrlich, John Hollenbeck, Oliver Lake, Don Byron, Tyshawn Sorey, Peter Apfelbaum, Tony Malaby, Cyro Baptista, Marilyn Crispell, Steven Bernstein, Jason Kao Hwang, Kirk Knuffke, Kenny Wessel, Steve Gorn , Mark Helias, Tom Rainey, Thomas Buckner, Judi Silvano, Harvey Sorgen, Tani Tabbal, Ken Filiano, Badal Roy, Omar Tamez, and John Menegon, in addition to Creative Music Foundation co-founders Karl Berger and Ingrid Sertso. Steven Bernstein, Amir ElSaffar and Warren Smith were Guiding Artists for CMS's Spring 2015 Workshop. Registration is still open.

What People Say About CMS Workshops...
Here are a few testimonials from recent CMS Workshop attendees: "When I returned from the workshop I picked up my instrument and was blown away by the change in my mental and physical approach to playing. I was no longer afraid to play, no longer in doubt of the truth and power of my own inner music," said a CMS Spring Workshop participant. "I found my playing was reborn. I had gained a refreshed view of sound and rhythm. My hearing was more attuned and my mind was, too." Another recent workshop participant said, "CMS offers a welcoming, supportive and validating environment in which to be reborn, musically and spiritually. I came away with a new excitement for the appreciation, practice and performance of music. No longer was I overwhelmed by a seemingly insurmountable task of mastering music; now I could make music with joy and confidence." And more: "It's a chance to nurture one's musical self, and be thoughtfully guided to touch on key aspects of music making skills -additive rhythm, body, voice, and instrumental skills. It's an opportunity to focus on playing with other sophisticated musicians who appreciate music as an endless exploration." "I feel like I've been given the key to a special language shared by a few select musicians and artists in the world. I will always remember and use this special gift whenever possible. Thank you!"

The CMS teaching approach:
CMS Workshops are immersive experiences. Yet there is no feeling of competition, just remarkable support from the Guiding Artists and other attendees. The goal is to help people develop their own sound, their own musical personality. This approach has been pioneered at CMS for over 40 years when The Creative Music Foundation was founded in 1971 by musicians Karl Berger, Ingrid Sertso and Ornette Coleman. Its initial advisory board, comprised of legends from all aspects of music, the arts and philosophy, included composer John Cage, conductor/musician Gil Evans, philosopher/educator Buckminster Fuller, composer George Russell, and composer/conductor Gunther Schuller. Their goal was to establish a nonprofit organization focused on improvisation and musical cross-pollination that complemented musicians' academic studies, a place where music as a universal language could be explored and expanded.
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