Workshops are a big hit at the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — While performances are a huge part of this week, the CGI Rochester International Jazz Festival has always had an educational component.

Jazz workshops, which are now in full swing, combine both.

The festival started out holding workshops just for youth, and only on the last day of the festival.

They have grown along with the festival, and are happening all week, featuring guests like Peter Johnstone.

“I work at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and teach jazz to the seniors and the juniors there. So we’re going to look at some aspects of improvisation,” Johnstone said.

The workshops are open for people to sit in, hear from the performer, and even join in – if they bring an instrument.

Spreading the joy of making music, while elevating Rochester’s Jazz Festival.

“The international component to what we do has definitely grown the festival by leaps and bounds,” Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music Bob Sneider said.

Johnstone started playing the piano when he was five, and is currently working on a doctorate.

During his schooling- he has found a love for teaching others.

“I hope I can learn some important things about theory, about composition, about the general theory of improvising opposed to just improvising on my instrument,” Student Ben Brown said.

Johnstone focused today on teaching the art of improvisation in music.

“[Jazz] has got that magical component of being largely improvised a lot of the time. It’s got that unpredictability and that excitement- and that’s what makes it so special,” Johnstone said.

And Peter Johnstone will play tonight at 8 o’clock with the Eastman School of Music Jazz Ensemble in Kodak Hall.

Check out the link to all of the workshops here.

Each are free and open to the public with not registration needed.