Professor of Music and Former Director of Jazz Studies
Virginia Commonwealth University
Antonio J. García is a Professor of Music and Former Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South, he has received commissions for jazz, symphonic, chamber, and solo works—instrumental and vocal.
A Bach/Selmer trombone clinician, Mr. García has freelanced as trombonist, bass trombonist, and pianist, is a Research Faculty member at The University of KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa), the Associate Jazz Editor of the International Trombone Association Journal, and a Network Expert (for Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network. His newest book, Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music), explores avenues for creating structures that correspond to course objectives. His Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages the opportunity to improvise over standard tunes using just their major scales. He is Co-Editor and Contributing Author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study (NAfME) and authored a chapter within The Jazzer’s Cookbook (Meredith Music).
A member of the board of The Midwest Clinic, Mr. García previously served as Coordinator of Combos and directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble at Northwestern University. Formerly the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, where he received the 1992 “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” award and was nominated for 1992 CASE “U.S. Professor of the Year” (one of 434 nationwide). He was the recipient of the VCU School of the Arts' 2015 Faculty Award of Excellence for his teaching, research, and service.
We have all observed ensembles that begin their music ambivalently, only to evolve into a secure rendition about eight measures later. There are reasons why this occurs–and corresponding solutions well worth seeking.
Teaching someone how to swing eighth-note lines in jazz is comparable to dictating how much seasoning to include in fine food, or what degree of color to mix in a painting: they are indefinable. But most of us already recognize what is not good swing style. So let’s use that as a tool to move towards better swing feel!
Let’s eliminate improvisers’ number-one fear: the fear of playing wrong notes while improvising!
Tony Garcia presenting his session at the Conn-Selmer Institute.
Tony Garcia demonstrating trombone techniques during his clinic.
Tony Garcia talking with attendees at the Conn-Selmer Institute.