Tim Ray Agitated Cat Music

Teaching and Residences

Private Lessons
Tim Ray is currently accepting students who are interested in learning jazz piano and improvisation skills. He has taught privately for over 30 years, and has been on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music for 11 years. Students should have a basic knowledge of piano and music theory. All ages are welcome! Contact Tim for current rates and availability.

Tim Ray and Tre Corda in Residence
Teaching music is an important part of the lives and careers of Tim Ray and the members of Tre Corda. Their expertise is gained from decades of classroom and performance instruction at the Berklee College of Music and at teaching residencies in schools around the world. Some of the many options for clinics and workshops are listed here, and they can apply to audiences and participants of all levels, but the common goal in each is to provide an entertaining and educational experience for everyone.

Topics include:
Jazz Improvisation Workshop - One of the cornerstones of jazz music is the ability to improvise melodies over a set harmonic environment. Students in this workshop focus on the function of chords and scales, the practice of telling a story through their instrument, and the concepts of tension and release and call and response. Demonstration, participation and written materials help beginners get started, and help more advanced players to think and perform on a higher level.

Performance Techniques for Small Groups - Whether you’re in a classical chamber trio, a jazz quintet, or a pop or rock band, the keys to successful performances are much the same. Getting a quality sound on your instrument, playing convincing rhythms with a good feel for time, and listening, listening, listening - these are the elements that set apart the great ensembles. Student groups in this participatory workshop are given critical feedback on their performance, and are coached and rehearsed to help achieve a cohesiveness and strong group identity.

Free Improvisation Workshop - Free improvisation is the realm in which performance and composition meet. In this class, players are given a relaxed context for taking their first steps into this type of improvisation. The rule here is: there are no wrong notes. Students are taught how to move between playing accompanying and soloistic roles, and are encouraged to imitate, converse musically and interact using three basic attributes: listening, leading and following. Techniques to enhance skills in free improvisation are discussed and demonstrated.

The History and Role of the Piano in Jazz Music - Tim Ray takes students on a fascinating journey in this lecture/demonstration on jazz piano. He discusses and demonstrates the important phases in the evolution of the piano in jazz music, covering the popular styles (ragtime, stride, boogie-woogie, blues, swing, bebop, modern) and the seminal players that pioneered these innovations. Tim also demonstrates how the role of the pianist in various types of ensembles has evolved over the course of jazz, providing live and recorded examples along with interesting anecdotes.

Big Band Workshop - Notwithstanding his well-deserved reputation as a performer and composer, Greg Hopkins is even more renowned as an arranger and conductor of big band jazz ensembles. Drawing from well over 100 charts in his wide-ranging collection of big band music used for high school groups, for his professional jazz orchestra, and the award-winning Berklee Concert Jazz Orchestra, Greg is unparalleled in his ability to work with student bands to get them playing with the right sound and intonation, good dynamics and articulation, and helps them master the concepts of jazz styles and rhythms.

String Jazz Ensemble - Drawing from the repertoire of his Berklee Jazz String Orchestra, Eugene Friesen leads string players into the details of playing swing and rhythmically-oriented music. New music is used to introduce skills specific to playing jazz in an ensemble setting, to create exciting accompaniment to jazz soloists, and to feature the rhythmic capabilities of strings.

Tim Ray and Tre Corda also perform in collaboration with student and professional groups of all kinds. Their repertoire includes original works and arrangements for jazz bands (small and large), string quartet, woodwind quintet, string orchestra, symphony orchestra, and choral ensembles.