Jazz Insight Testimonials

Arts Organizations and Presenters




Arts Organizations and Presenters

"To my absolute delight, the program was excellent and engaging, participatory throughout! Mike and Laura are accomplished, talented and very personable performers. They immediately connected with the audience and led us gently from conceptualizing (what does that song make you feel?) to keeping time to vocalizing and even drumming along! A confirmed non-singer, I left with the intention of signing up for jazz lessons, which I plan to act on today! I hightly recommend this program for all ages."
   Linda Marsella, Director, Mariposa Museum, Peterborough, NH

"When I first heard Michael and Laura in concert I was struck by their clarity, their authentic jazz stylings and their professionalism. They are gifted, original and imaginative, but sufficiently steeped in the tradition of the jazz immortals. When I presented them at the Parkway Playhouse, I was impressed by their preparation, cooperation, attention to production details and finally the performance. A memorable evening of both carefully rehearsed and improvisational jazz and show tunes left an admiring audience clamoring for more."
    Bill Dreyer, Managing Director, Parkway Playhouse, Burnsville, NC

"The Grand Monadnock Arts Council presented the Fall Arts in the School Program called "Jazz in Schools" from October 24th through the 27th. The in-school educational experience presented Jazz Insight, who bridged the ever-widening gap between accomplished jazz artists and students unfamiliar with the art form. Michel Kolodny and Laura Pierce are the co-directors of Jazz Insight and bring a deep desire to reach out to students and draw them into jazz. For many students in the Monadnock Region the intoductory song "Meet the Flintstones" immediately sparked their interest. One of the highlights of the week was a free public concert with area students from three local high schools. Michael was able to guide the students through each song and the result was a performance that excelled."
    Jan Kos, President, Grand Monadnock Arts Council 




"Your Jazz Insight Program was a wonderful introduction to jazz for elementary school children. It was obvious that you put a lot of thought into ways to make jazz accessible to young children. I was particuarly impressed with the comparison you make beetween the parts of the body and the members of the band. The children loved the portion of the show where you allowed them to choose a feeling and the band showed them how that feeling can be translated into music. I hope you enjoyed performing as musch as we enjoyed watching you perform."
    Jeannie Connolly Director, ConVal Elementary Schools Arts Enrichment Program, Peterborough, NH

"I want to thank you for the wonderful interactive performance, "Nursery Rhyme, Jazz Time", that Friends of the Arts brought to Washington Rose Elementary School in Roosevelt. Every child in grades K-3 thoroughly enjoyed the program. It was a perfect inroduction to the elements of Jazz, and a wonderful reinforcement of what they have been learning in music class. You really make jazz accessible to these youngsters! What impressed me in particular was your rapport with the children, the audience participation and the way in which the program was organized. Each musical activity was carefully designed to demonstrate the ingredients of jazz from improvisations, to scat singing, to feelings. I loved the idea of "Old MacDonald Had a Band" to explain the instruments, and the idea of comparing the instruments to parts of the body, as well as the demonstration of how vocal and focial expressions can be transferred to the instruments. Also, the caliber of the musicians in the quintet was superb! I look forward to working with you and bringing this experience to many other schools. Thanks again for all your cooperation and attention to all the details necessary for the program. It's nice to work with dedicated and responsible people!"
   Lois Kipnis, Director of Arts Education, Locust Valley, NY

". . . totally professional in every respect, and, even more importantly, has the rare ability to captivate an audience. Mr. Kolodny and his band have my heartfelt recommendation."
   Chuck Reichenthal, Program Director, Brooklyn Arts and Culture Association


"Both students and teachers alike felt the program that Mr. Kolodny offered was insightful and interesting. It was apparent after observing his workshops at the middle school that he knows his information and works well with students to make learning enjoyable."
   Denise Cook, Director, Toe River Arts Council, Spruce Pine, N.C.

"The ensemble did a great job of relating jazz and the blues to concepts the children are already familiar with...the kids all wanted to try some improvisations of their own on their 'Happening Day'."
   Sara Sager, Director, Children's Arts in the Mountains Program, Mars Hill, NC



Media [back to the top]

Arts and Entertainment Feature WMUR TV News, Manchester, N.H. Kelly Horan-Jones, reporter January 23, 1999 (excerpts from the broadcast)

"Call it truth in advertising. Just as their name promises, Jazz Insight's members are something like jazz missionaries, taking their treasured music to the uninitiated and making converts at every stop. .... Jazz Insight combines a jazz devotee's passion with the patience and articulateness of a teacher. Doing so requires breaking jazz down without watering it down. .... Louie Armstrong said of jazz, 'If you have to ask, you'll never know.' Jazz Insight takes a slightly different approach. They say, 'If you have to ask, we'll help you find out'."



Students get to make their own music (story is about a Grade 4 Residency - The Young Jazz Musician) Times-News Hendersonville, N.C. March 6, 1992 Harrison Metzger (excerpts from the article)

"The kids, reveling in their newfound musical creativty, listened with a captive enthusiasm as he [Kolodny] told them to go home and write their own eight-beat song for today's class. 'I think this is a fun class - how you get to improvise the songs and let the music come as you play,' said 9 year old Shawn Saunders, as his classmates bounced out of the room after him. . . . 'In addition to being a fun change from regular classes, music classes such as these help kids learn to think creatively, a skill that helps them in all subjects', he [Kolodny] said. 'This can spill over into academic pursuits - science experiments, English essays, even mathematics. It enhances being creative with other arts and sciences, gives them an experience they can relate to something else.' . . . The kids get excited making up music that 'really expresses who they are as an individual,' he said. At the same time, they get a basic lesson in musical structure, style and history. . . . The students eagerly played their 'home play' assignment from the previous night - improvisations on 'Hot Cross Buns' and 'Mary Had a Little Lamb.' They then counted out rhythms - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight - as he showed them how to create a song from scratch on his saxophone. 'This is how we can get a start composing a song that we feel in our heart and hear in our ear,' he said. . . . . Kolodny ended the class with a 'jazz walk,' where kids stepped, swung and danced to a jazz instrumental. One kid asked Kolodny who listens to jazz, since most kids he knows like only 'head-banging' music. 'I perform a lot, and people of all ages come to hear me play jazz,' Kolodny answered. 'You can like just what's popular and limit yourself, but there's a whole world of music out there - why limit yourself?'"

Students [back to the top]

"Jazz is wicked cool!"   Sam Congdon, Age 7, Temple, NH

"I learned how to be a good audience. My favorite part of the show was when we sang Bye Bye Blackbird."
   Martina B., 8, Marlborough, N.H.

"Thank you for the performance. I had loads of fun. I hope you did too. I think everyone did a great job. Thank you for coming."
   Nicole Stone, 10, Sullivan, N.H.

"My favorite part of the show was I listened."
    Alex H., 7, Sullivan, N.H.

"They did our song. They did not talk all the time. They were nice to people."
    Drew O., 6, Nelson, N.H.

"I learned that one song can be played many ways to sound really neat even if it's only Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
   Dan Ellingwood, Age 6, Hancock, NH




Teachers [back to the top]

"Your performance has been a highlight of the year. Students still request to sing "Blackbird" in music class. Long live Jazz! Thanks for the great concert and the inspiriation!"
  Emily Hartshorne, Music and 4th Grade, Wells Memorial School, Harrisville, NH



"Jazz Insight is a wonderful musical experience for children. Laura Pierce, Michael Kolodny and their band's love of music is clearly communicated to children and is what makes the program a success. The band's instruments and chosen songs convey to children, in an age-appropriate manner, how jazz musicians blend their voices with their instruements to create melodic moods. The pacing and excitement of Jazz Insight makes this a wonderful experience for children. After experiencing the program the students could identify some of the feelings behind varying jazz styles, ranging from blues to scat. Now when our classes hear jazz they are excited because they understand more about jazz and think the music is fun."
  Lori Groleau and Nancy O'Neill, 3rd and 1st Grades, PES, Peterborough, NH

"The kids loved the interactive pieces to this performance. More of this is recommended for the future."
  Ms. Kimball, 3rd Grade, Dublin Consolidated School, Dublin, NH

"The three musicians had a great sensitivity to kids and their developmental awareness."
  Ms. Judkins, 3rd Grade, PES, Peterborough, NH

"The kids liked it. It was very child-friendly."
  Ms. Gordon, 4th Grade, PES, Peterborough, NH

"Lynn (music teacher) prepared the students well. Familiarity with the songs made it even more interesting to them."
  Ms. Cuddihee, 2nd Grade, PES, Peterborough, NH

Parents [back to the top]

"It was so powerful the way you began with a performance of a jazz tune and then broke it down into simple concepts the children could understand and slowly built it back up."
   Monica Lehner, parent, Greenfield, NH

"Jazz Insight lit up the eyes and ears of the children attending the special assembly at PES in December. From the popping theme music of "Inspector Gadget" to the sad melodies of some blues classics, Laura Pierce, Michael Kolodny and their band spanned the wide range of jazz styles, including vivid renditions of some of Ella Fitzgerald's best-known scat songs. Ever since my children attended the Jazz Alive! program during assembly, they have been much more open to listening to more complex, and somewhat experimental music at home. Thank you Laura and Michael for enriching the music appreciation of our young generation!"
   Dr. Helfried C. Zrzavy, Parent of a 1st and 4th grader at PES



Principals [back to the top]


"Music is such a great way to feel our emotions, to be creative and enjoy our human experience. These are people who are are coming from a real rich jazz experience and sharing some of that experience with us."
   Wayne Woolridge, Principal, Jonathan Daniels Elementary School, Keene, NH (excerpt from his introduction to theJazz Alive! performance)

"The children loved your program. It was like church!"
   Dr. Wright, Principal, Washington Rose Elementary School, New York (an all black, inner city school)

"The students enjoyed the music and learned a great deal about Jazz and The Blues. . . I thank Michael for coming to Rosman Middle/High School and I recommend him to other schools."
   W. J. Cathey, Jr., Principal, Rosman High School, Rosman, N.C

"Mr. Kolodny worked well with our students at Brevard Middle School. He enhanced their understanding of jazz as well as their love for music. His rapport with staff was excellent. Mr. Kolodny brought an added dimension to our musical program. I would recommend his program to anyone who has students sincerely interested in the field of music and its interrelatedness to educational arts."
   John K. Tinsley, Principal, Brevard Middle School, Brevard, N.C.

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