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Ben Thompson

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My education, Accolades, and Experience

I am currently pursuing my Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Studies at the University of Colorado in Boulder and will graduate in May 2020. During my time at CU, I have played in the CU Concert Jazz Ensemble, the CU Jazz Choir, and National Repertory Orchestra in which I got the opportunity to work with Conductor Michael Stern and world famous percussionists Chris Deviney and She-e Wu. I have played piano gigs since high school in jazz, salsa, classical, and rock settings. I am currently a peer mentor in the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Musicians, and I have been teaching privately for around six years around the Boulder area.

My Approach to Teaching

I approach my lessons in a way that helps my students find the joy in playing music. This space comes from being prepared and being ready for everything and anything that might come forward in the music. This approach helps students be unafraid of making mistakes and pushes them to think about what they are playing and why they are playing it.

One of my practice techniques

The 5-Coin Game:
● Find a passage that you are having trouble with. It can be as big as an 8 measure
phrase or as small as half a measure.
● Gather 5 coins
● Stack a coin every time you nail said passage
● Try to stack all 5 coins! However, if you get said passage wrong once, you have to start over back when you had no coins stacked

My Favorites in these 5 styles

Rock - The Doors
Jazz - Chick Corea
Classical - Franz Liszt
Pop - Snarky Puppy
Salsa - Ruben Blades

My Favorite Quote

“You don't have to be Picasso or Rembrandt to create something. The fun of it, the joy of creating, is way high above anything else to do with the art form.” - Chick Corea

How I started playing music

My big brother used to play the piano when I was very young. When I was 6, he taught me a song he had recently learned and I got hooked. Very soon after this, my parents signed me up for classical piano lessons. In middle school, my parents got me involved in the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts. This was my first experience with jazz, and I have been playing jazz ever since.

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