Advice for the Next Jazz Leader

Advice for the Next Jazz Leader

Now in its fourth year, Take Note is a program that addresses the gender inequality of jazz musicians by celebrating women and gender diverse leaders on stage and in high schools across Victoria.

At the 2021 Melbourne International Jazz Festival, trombonist and composer Ellie Lamb was the third Take Note leader, premiering their suite Between Worlds to a sold-out audience at The JazzLab, and receiving critical acclaim. Ellie inspired high school students across Melbourne with their jazz and improvisation workshops, giving students accessible tools to build skills and confidence in improvisation, whilst advocating for and championing women and gender diverse role models in jazz.

Ahead of the announcement of the 2022 Take Note leader, we caught up with Ellie on their experience during the program, their advice for the next Take Note Jazz Leader and young musicians, and what’s coming up for them in 2022.

What did you love about Take Note?

E: Take Note gave me a real sense of purpose and direction in 2021, which was more valuable than ever given how challenging it has been to be a musician during a pandemic. Having a big project that I was passionate about to work on throughout the year, as well as the many opportunities to sit with many different people and talk about music, composing, the industry, teaching, and so many other things, was incredibly enriching.

What did you gain from the experience that you didn’t have before?

E: I gained a new understanding of myself, my creative process, and how I fit into the fabric of the Melbourne jazz and improvised music community. I also gained so many new friendships and connections that I will be eternally grateful for.

What do you hope the students gained from the workshop series?

E: I hope they have become aware, if they weren’t already, that improvising is a skill and, like any other skill, it can be worked on and developed over time. I hope that I was able to demystify that process for them and show them how fun and rewarding it is to develop your own voice, both in your own practice and with other musicians.

How has the Take Note program impacted your career/trajectory?

E: Take Note allowed me the opportunity to step back and view my career more holistically, and consider it in the medium-to-long-term. It has also given me the confidence to pursue building my career more actively and passionately.

What is your advice for young musicians?

E: Make music! I know it sounds obvious, but being a musician is an active pursuit, so make music often, make music with all sorts of people and in all sorts of ways, make music for all different reasons – just keep playing!

What is your advice for the next Take Note recipient?

E: Take Note has been a life-changing experience for me – so my advice is to go for it! Spend some time working out what you really need from the program and what you can give to the project, and then jump in and make the most of it!

And what’s next for you?

E: I’m looking at recording Between Worlds, and performing the suite again, as well as cooking up some new works. Stay tuned!

The Take Note initiative is supported by the Harry Kestin Foundation, the Robert Salzer Foundation, Monash University and ABC Jazz.

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