|Famous Jazz Singer Teaches in Cornwall|
Cleveland Watkiss, who The Evening Standard described as the ‘best male jazz singer in Britain’, has been teaching boys to sing at a South East Cornwall primary school.
During his career Watkiss has performed with the likes of Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Robbie Williams and The Who.
A spokeswoman for Brunel Primary in Saltash commented on the tutorials which have taken place as part of a national singing programme for schools called SingUp.
“We were invited to host a boys’ singing workshop, aiming to inspire boys and get them singing,” she said.
“Cleveland ran the workshop for an hour and a half with the boys, demonstrating jazz singing, particularly scat.
He also showed the boys how to adapt songs they knew – or didn’t – by rewriting the words and creating their own song,” she added.
Described by the Guardian as ‘arriving on the scene with a bang’ Watkiss was voted best vocalist three years in a row at the Wire/Guardian Jazz Awards.
Watkiss’s website describes him as ‘a very keen Music Educator’ who has worked with schools and universities around the UK.
In the past Watkiss’s school workshops have generated just as much enthusiasm.
Head of Music at Brooklands Primary School Helen Brookes has stated that she still employs the 12 bar blues techniques that Watkiss taught her pupils.
‘He really was amazing and such a brilliant role model for the older boys in the choir who saw first hand that singing really is “cool”!,’ she said.
Meanwhile pupils from Watkiss’s old primary school opened for him at his show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.
25 children from Hackney’s Rushmore School joined him onstage during his performance. A school newsletter stated that ‘the audience were mesmerised’.
Hannah, a Rushmore pupil, said “ Singing on stage with Cleveland was so exciting, especially my solo. I felt really confident to think I can do that in front of 900 people.”
It seems that Watkiss’s latest workshop has also provided a source of encouragement for budding singers.
Speaking about the children who participated a Saltash Primary spokeswoman said “They can’t wait to get started on their own songwriting and are buzzing with ideas for a forthcoming project.
“They’re already singing with great vivacity, and assemblies will never be the same again,” she added.
Watkiss is currently touring and teaching in Italy. He will be performing with the Cleveland Watkiss Trio at the 606 Jazz Club in London on 01 April.
The Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy
Helen Brookes / Head of Music (Brooklands Primary School)
I just wanted to write and say a massive thank you for the fantastic
workshop Cleveland came in and led for our choir last Monday. We had a
brilliant time finding out about 12-bar blues, scatting and improvising.
The children learned so much, as did I. I’ve already been using some of
his ideas in our whole school vocal warm ups and have plans to continue
/ extend the work he started on the improvisation over the 12 -bar
patterns with other classes throughout the school.
He really was amazing
and SUCH a brilliant role model for the older boys in the choir who saw
first hand that singing really is “cool”! It was also fascinating to see
the way certain children responded to him and came out of their shells -
he made it okay to take risks and one or two children who often take a
lot longer to ‘warm up’ to visitors were falling over themselves to
volunteer ideas and sing to everyone! We’ve been working very hard for
Turning of the Year and this treat was just what we needed to lift us
and keep our momentum going.
So, many thanks again and if the
opportunity ever arises that we might be able to have a repeat
visit….YES PLEASE! I’d be very grateful if you could please pass this
on to Cleveland.
Helen Brookes / Head of Music (Brooklands Primary School) Greenwich
Rushmore School NEWSLETTER Hackney dec 2009
“RUSHMORE PUPILS WOW THE LONDON JAZZ FESTIVAL”
When Year 5 pupils opened Cleveland Watkiss’ show at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last night, the audience were mesmerised.
Cleveland was able to spread his love and understanding of music with our Year 5 classes by taking vocal workshops over the last
three weeks. Then last night 25 pupils sang and improvised with him, with confidence and belief in themselves as great singers.
Niamh said: ”It was amazing to sing with Cleveland Watkiss in the Queen Elizabeth Hall. It made me feel nervous, but I was quite
Hannah said: “ Singing on stage with Cleveland was so exciting, especially my solo. I felt really confident to think I can do that in
front of 900 people.”
Aeida said: “There were lots of photographers and lights and a big audience, but when I started singing it felt like nobody was
there. I never thought I’d get a chance like this to sing with professionals in such a famous venue!”
All the children made their teachers and families feel very proud of their achievements in musicianship and performance skills.
Thank you to Cleveland, an ex‐Rushmore pupil, for strengthening our love of music at Rushmore, just as he was influenced by his
teachers at Rushmore to do so. Thanks also to Mr Connolly and Mrs Inniss for embracing the project, and to Nadine Wood,
Cameron Reynolds and Derek from Serious international Music Producers, who organised the filming and performance for us so
smoothly. We hope to have photos on the school website soon.
Rushmore School NEWSLETTER Hackney dec 2009
JAZZED UP: Jazz singer Cleveland Watkiss with pupils from Chulmleigh Community College.
Chulmleigh students — and all that jazz
Thursday, December 18, 2008, 07:00
The singer, who co-founded the Jazz Warriors big band with Courtney Pine, held a two-hour singing session in Chulmleigh Parish Church which was attended by 30 music students from the college.
College head of music James Cookson said: “The workshop was 100% practical and really engaged the students from the word go. The whole session was improvised with no written music at all.
“It forced a lot of the pupils to address some of their inhibitions and really placed them outside their comfort zone.”
Students from years seven to 11 made intricate five-part progressive harmonies, composed entirely by themselves.