Head of Department, Professor Jaak Sooäär
Study Programme Registrar, Lilja Brunfeld
The jazz music department offers a progressive education in an environment of contemporary jazz and improvisation, where both training within the jazz tradition and developing innovative approaches are important. The department offers many opportunities for individual development, which is at the centre of the learning process. It is important for students to be able to find a suitable path for themselves and to grasp a general perspective of jazz music both past and present. As communicating and playing with other performers is especially important in jazz music, ensembles play a large role in the daily learning process.
During the ten years of the jazz music department’s activity, international projects have played an important role. Almost every year, the department has organised major international courses (“Crossing Borders” 2005–2010, “Nomazz Meets the Baltics” 2011–2012, “Girl Power in Jazz” 2014), and professor and student exchanges also occur on a yearly basis. Within the framework of the 2011 Capital of Culture jazz residency project, internationally known musicians Dave Liebman (saxophone, USA) and Django Bates (keyboard instruments, England) gave master classes at EAMT. The jazz music department is also an active member of the IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz).
Active musicians teach in the jazz music department, including guitar player Jaak Sooäär, percussionist Tanel Ruben, saxophonist and composer Raul Sööt, pianist Kristjan Randalu, bass player Taavo Remmel, vocalist Kadri Voorand and trumpeter and arranger Teet Raik. The distinctive style of the professors gives the students an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the different sides of jazz in the course of their studies. This might also be one reason why the students of the department have won several international competitions in recent years.
Traditional and Folk Music
Head of Curriculum Tarmo Kivisilla
The traditional music major offers numerous options to study the historical styles of playing an instrument and singing, and to develop practical playing skills. As traditional music is one of the pillars of Estonia’s national cultural identity, the curriculum focuses on research and teaching subjects related to Estonian traditional music. The curriculum also contains introductory courses on other countries and nationalities.
The curriculum was established by Veljo Tormis, composer and an expert in Estonian runo songs, who shares his knowledge to this day. Professors of the traditional music curriculum are experts and enthusiasts in their field: Janika Oras, Tuule Kann, Tuulikki Bartosik, Robert Jürjendal and Zhanna Pärtlas. Within the curriculum, it is possible to study traditional music, do fieldwork, study different performance styles both in practice and theory, and through new arrangements and developments to bring new life to important cultural texts that are fading.
Students have good opportunities to collaborate with students specialising in other music styles; joint projects have occurred with students of jazz and improvisation. Students usually participate at the NordTrad conference, an international traditional music conference that provides them with further opportunities to communicate with students from other Nordic and Baltic music universities. The students describe this as an experience that broadens their horizons and see the conference as an inexhaustible source of musical ideas.