Jazz Angels Inspire Confidence in Young Musicians at Bixby Park – California News

Jazz Angels Inspire Confidence in Young Musicians at Bixby Park – California News

Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 8:52 a.m.


Jazz Angels performing at Bixby Park

Courtesy of Barry Cogert

It’s no secret that starting young as a musician is a great way to get good at an instrument. But the benefit of playing and performing as a child goes far beyond that if nurtured in the right environment. Plenty of older musicians who’ve been playing for years struggle with confidence issues and stage fright. These are the stumbling blocks of plenty of talented players who only started performing in their late teens, 20s or 30s.

It’s the reason why the Jazz Angels program in Long Beach was created back in 2007. Two local musicians, including the program’s organizer Barry Cogert, designed Jazz Angels as a way to pair middle school musicians with seasoned players to learn a wide variety of jazz standards to perform in front of different crowds all over the city. The hope is that by the time they reach college, their confidence and skill level will both be at a very high level.

“We thought if we could have some music mentoring, professionals sitting in and playing with younger people, the younger musicians would feel better about how they were playing and feel more motivated to improve,” Cogert says.

This Sunday, the Jazz Angels continue their weekend residency at Bixby Park in Long Beach, sponsored by the Long Beach Arts Council, Port of Long Beach and the Friends of Bixby Park. Rotating through a different band each week, the students will get on stage with their ensemble and perform songs they’ve learned from Cogert and his staff of professional musicians—everything from classics like “Blue 7” by…

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