I look forward to meeting all of you for our 29th IASJ Jazz Meeting being held in Zagreb, Croatia. Your school’s attending students will be receiving their own letter through e-mail about the week which you will also receive. As is often the case, students might not read their letter, so I ask you to at least have a talk with them about what to expect. Also please help with English if necessary.

I always ask teachers and representatives of schools to choose students carefully, folks who are cool, not egotistical and easy to deal with. There is a lot of hang time together which in a way IS the main “activity” of the week. We have purposely kept the meetings small so that everyone can really get to know each other, something that has worked well for the past nearly thirty years’ worth of meetings. And the music is by and large always incredible. It’s mind boggling that nearly 2000 people have passed through the doors of IASJ Jazz Meetings in these decades….quite an accomplishment!!

You should understand that this is not a standard summer workshop situation. I don’t know for sure but am assuming that most of you are not being paid and may even be putting some money out yourself to attend, which is appreciated. There are really no direct responsibilities that you must do.

It would be nice if you would take part in the few master classes we have, play a bit at the jam sessions (the spotlight is of course on student to student interaction which is the premise of the IASJ) and participate in the Teacher’s Concert as well as the Ongoing Dialogues which Walter Turkenburg conducts every year. These are fantastic and interesting discussions on a variety of issues. We try to take advantage of the fact that the IASJ is so international meaning inclusion of all the differing customs and traditions present at the meeting. In summary, you are free to participate at whatever level you wish.

I will request a few teachers to take charge of a combo. Usually I pair two teachers together who don’t know each other, one of whom has already led a combo in the past (total of 12 teachers). The main focus of this activity that I emphasize in my letter to the students and opening remarks is that I want them to put the music together, assuming responsibility for rehearsing and planning a set as part of the final concerts. Therefore, the teachers who have combos will hopefully more or less fade into the background as the week goes on. As you will note in the letter to the students, they should be encouraged to play original music of their own.

I look forward to meeting new friends and renewing with old ones. This is a great opportunity for all of us personally to extend our pedagogical and performing possibilities.

Safe travels and peace, David Liebman