(Braden at the Litchfield Jazz Fest Summer Music School (now the Litchfield Jazz Camp), August 1999)
Don Braden is a dedicated, experienced and passionate educator. His vast experience with jazz masters such as Betty Carter, Wynton Marsalis, Tony Williams, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Roy Haynes, and many others has helped him develop a thorough understanding of jazz performance. For over 13 years, he has served as Music Director of two major education organizations: the Litchfield Jazz Campand NJPAC's Wells Fargo Jazz For Teens. He is also part of the innovative New York Comes to Groningen program at the Prins Claus Conservatoire in Groningen Holland. For many years he worked as an instructor for the world renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Camps, and for William Paterson University. He recently was appointed Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Montclair State University.
(Braden in Cleveland during the 2004 Tri-C Jazz Fest)
Braden has done master classes, residencies and guest soloist appearances at educational institutions all over the U.S. and Europe, including Harvard University, Princeton University, Spellman College, Morehouse University, Clark Atlanta University, University of Denver, University of Louisville, University of Southern Florida, Miami-Dade Community College, Portland State University, Duke University, the Rotterdam Conservatory, the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, the New School for Social Research, the Manhattan School of Music, Williams College, and others, plus a variety of high, middle and elementary schools.
Don Braden has a number of solid college/pro level big band charts, as well as a host of medium and small ensemble arrangements, many of which can be heard on his CDs. He also has four original works (so far) for full symphonic orchestra with jazz ensemble, which includes a recent premiere in the Netherlands in November 2006 for Queen Beatrix (the reigning queen of Holland).
Don Braden Jazz Seminars
Saxophone Master Class
This class focuses on the physical elements of jazz saxophone performance. Braden will demonstrate proper posture, good breathing techniques, sound production, pitch control, embouchure, and mouthpiece positioning. Discussion will also include elements specific to saxophones, including reeds, mouthpieces, ligatures, neckstraps, and general maintenance. Students' performances will be critiqued.
Don Braden Quartet Master Class
Members of the Don Braden Quartet will demonstrate various improvisational techniques and discuss band interaction, rehearsal and cueing. They will also demonstrate and comment on thei respective instruments.
Techniques of Improvisation: Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced
This series outlines the tools of jazz improvisation for various levels and includes rhythm (swing!), melody, chords and scales. Special emphasis is placed on developing piano skills, and basic piano voicings. Advanced students will learn to enhance their command of extended harmony, theme and variation, jazz phrasing and odd metric groupings
The Business of Music 1: Survival tactics of a Working Musician
Successful strategies for earning your keep through music.
The Business of Music 2: Financial Issues of a Working Musician
Topics include long term investing, insurance, tax management and suggestion for avoiding or eliminating debt.
Priorities for Practice
Ideas for designing your daily practice routine and making it work.