Jamie Shew

When I first attended college back in 2003, decided to take up a Vocal Jazz class that I will always remember as my favorite class taken. Vocal Jazz is a performing arts group that is not your typical jazz band, but a group of 8 to 12 vocal singers accompanied along with a rhythm section. Not because of my love for Jazz music was this my favorite class, but because of the instructor, Mrs. Jamie Shew. Coming from an extensive background in music all throughout my high school years (choir, musicals, and marching/jazz band, I was eager to join such ensembles in college as well. Mrs. Shew taught with such passion and creativity in her art, that it hardly seemed like a class. Thinking that it was only a performing class was hard to believe how much I learned about other things rather than just music.
Having a director/teacher like Mrs. Shew helped me excel in the curriculum. A portion of the class taught music education focusing in the vocal skills of the students by performance, memorization, and reading of the music.   Mrs. Shew was easy to talk to, made music fun to learn, and challenged us to become a better student not just in her class but in all my subjects. She taught that music was about communication, not just about singing what is on the page. If the music isn’t felt it can not be communicated effectively. One of the things that stuck with me is a quote she said on the first day of class,
“Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand”
- Ella Fitzgerald
She then started to explain that as a musician, whether on stage or in the classroom, these are such words which you want to strive to achieve. To be able to project our personal emotions and experiences through song.
A reason of why I enjoyed the class so much was because of her not normal teaching conventions. She was engaged with the class and looked to take our music outside of class and not just be...