Naomi is passionate about working with musicians to cultivate improvisation skills and their own authentic expression in music. She trains music educators to create learning environments that support marginalized students in developing their musicianship. She has led workshops and given performances at schools across the country, offering interactive, holistic approaches to sparking new ways to grow as creative musicians and educators.
Intersectional Gender Justice in Jazz
In this workshop, participants explore privilege, oppression, stereotypes, and labels that impact our everyday lives and experiences in music. We will take a closer look at the way stereotypes and white male privilege play a role in the culture and music of jazz, historically and in the present day. We will uplift counter narratives to help dismantle stereotypes and to create space for musicians of all demographics to be themselves and share their authentic voice. This workshop is appropriate for middle schoolers through adults, and is especially important for jazz educators.
This workshop pairs well with Finding Balance in Improvisation: The Feminine Principle, which offers students and educators new approaches to learning and teaching improvisation in a safe space that cultivates authenticity and community.
Finding Balance in Improvisation: The Feminine Principle
An improvisation workshops that highlight the easily-overlooked feminine principle in music-making – illuminating for musicians of all levels. When I use the terms masculine and feminine, I mean nothing having to do with gender.
“Our culture has had a long heritage of associating the feminine principle with what it means to be female and the masculine principle with what it means to be male. As a result, both men and women have traditionally been locked into rigid culturally-defined gender roles that have not been helpful for anyone who wants to live a more meaningful, creative and soul-making life…. A fully integrated individual is a unique expression of both masculine and feminine traits”
– Carol Winters
A lot of mainstream jazz and our first introductions to jazz & improvisation highlight/value the masculine qualities of the music – virtuosic, verbose, lots of notes, high, fast, loud, flashy, complex, being a soloist. Some folks, like Sherrie Tucker, theorize over-masculinization in jazz began with the advent of bebop. There’s nothing inherently wrong with these masculine qualities – in fact they are necessary. But it’s equally important to balance them out with subtler feminine principles: listening, intuition, interconnectedness, community, space, darkness, back-body…. etc.
In this workshop, I direct participants in improvisation exercises to intentionally hold feminine qualities in their awareness as they play. Participants will gain new tools and ways to approach improvising, practicing, and performing.
Non-Genre Specific Improvisation Workshop
This workshop is designed for musicians of all levels and backgrounds to develop improvisation skills in any context – jazz or otherwise. Using creative limitations and techniques to build listening awareness, participants walk away from this workshop with new ways to practice improvisation on their own and in ensemble settings.
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Naomi has a way of harnessing creativity to aid self-expression while spreading healing and equality through music. A leader by example, she skillfully does this in her own art, and inspires students how to as well.
—Dr. Doug Scarborough, Director of Jazz Studies, Whitman College
Naomi led students to identify and question their own ideas of stereotypes about jazz musicians of different genders, races, and ethnicities. In her improvisation workshop, she engaged students in guided activities that gave them a great sense of confidence and ease at expressing themselves through music. In both cases, Naomi provided powerful techniques and clear directions on using them to make great progress toward personal evolution, And while she demanded a lot from the students, she also created a calm atmosphere in which to work and explore, which made the benefits even more effective..
—Jeffrey Chappell, Director of Jazz Studies, Goucher College
Naomi Siegel conducted an exceptional workshop for the jazz students of Garfield High School. I’m grateful that she is addressing issues surrounding women in jazz, a topic that deserves far more attention, especially for younger musicians. The exercises Naomi used were engaging, thoughtful and cultivated a strong feeling of teamwork and very sensitive listening. A refreshing perspective on musicality.
—Jacob Zimmerman, Director of Jazz Ensemble 3, Garfield High School
Naomi is calm, focused, brilliant and *cool*. She puts the most nervous students at ease, adapts her content and presentation to meet every player’s needs, and casts a spell over the whole group.
—Deb Schaaf, Director of Bands and Jazz, Jane Addams Middle School
Naomi Siegel and Kate Olson gave an outstanding lecture-demonstration of their electroacoustic duo project Syrinx Effect for the UCLA Intercultural Improvisation Ensemble in the spring of 2014. Naomi’s unique approach to her instrument, and their deep and sophisticated understanding of how to use electronic amplification and looping techniques to open new avenues for creative expression, offered an inspiring model for my students. They also demonstrated warmth and curiosity as they led us in a number of improvised music exercises that helped us practice new ways of listening to one another.
—Alex W. Rodriguez, Improviser, Trombonist, PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology, UCLA