Aaron Walker-Loud
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Aaron Walker-Loud

Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle, Washington, United States
Band Hip Hop World


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"Jazzy Summer Outreach: Two Kids’ Perspectives"

Jazzy Summer Outreach: Two Kids’ Perspectives
Posted on October 29, 2011 by admin

JazzED student Isaac Poole teaches trombone

In the summer months of 2011, Seattle JazzED coach extraordinaire Aaron Walker-Loud organized a traveling combo of JazzED students to spread the love of jazz and music to kids in under served Seattle communities. The combo toured Rainier Vista Boys and Girls Club, Beacon Hill International School, Asian Counseling and Referral Services Center, and Highpoint Community Center. This fall we saw some of the kids in the outreach audiences at Seattle JazzED auditions!

Below are two reports of the outreach tour written by participants, Lucy Halperin, Grade 9 and Carla Newhouse, Grade 8.

Lucy’s Perspective: “I walk through the playground at Leschi Elementary School nervously clutching my trombone case in one hand, and my music in the other. As I reach the door, Aaron Walker-Loud—the leader of the JazzEd summer outreach combo —turns around. As I follow suit I discover that a group of about 20 kids whose heads barely reach the height of my stomach have joined us. “Hi,” Aaron says, “I’m Mr. Walker-Loud and I’m here with a program called Seattle JazzEd”. He beckons for me to introduce myself and I say, “Hi, I’m Lucy”. Immediately, a particularly outgoing kid proclaims, “Your Lucy? You can’t be Lucy. She’s Lucy!” He points at a tall girl standing near Aaron. She waves shyly and says, “My name is Lucy too”. The kid who had declared that I ‘couldn’t be Lucy’ widens his eyes and says, “There’s two Lucy’s!” The other kids look around at each other with disbelieving faces, and then start to giggle. “Hi Lucy,” one of them says. The rest of the kids copy him and chorus of high-pitched voices yell out “Hi Lucy!” They ask me where I go to school, what instrument I play, and my favorite color. As I go into the building to start setting up my music, a small group of kids follow, calling out, “Hi Lucy!”

JazzED student Lucy Halperin

This is one of many fun experiences that I had during the time that I was in the JazzEd Summer Outreach Combo. This combo was a group of about 8 people, some of whom were JazzEd students and some who were accomplished musicians from the Seattle area. We met for rehearsal about 3 times, and in the two weeks that followed we gave workshops at 10 places around the city. We went to elementary schools, summer camps, and community centers to try to inform as many kids as possible of the opportunity that they had to join JazzEd. At each place that we went to we would perform several jazz standards, and teach the kids about what jazz actually is and can be. The kids who came to our workshop improvised using percussion instruments, learned how to count in a musical setting, and tried playing an instrument of their choice. Many of the kids that we performed for didn’t even know what jazz is! The JazzEd Summer Outreach Combo not only showed the kids what the JazzEd program is about, but also enlightened them to a whole amazing form of music.

JazzED student Malcolm Smith Fraser demonstrates trumpet

I loved being a part of the JazzEd Summer Outreach Combo because I felt as though I was making a difference in my community. I know that we may have changed the lives of some of the kids who we played for. It is one of the best feelings in the world to know that you could be making someone’s life a hundred times better just by spending 90 minutes of your life with them. One of the most amazing things that I experienced from being in the combo was each time Aaron Walker-Loud would ask the kids in the audience if any of them were interested in trying to play any of the instruments that they saw us playing. Each time there would be at least one kid who wanted to play the trombone. It made me feel so excited to know that some of the kids wanted to play my instrument. These kids had been so inspired by seeing me play my trombone that they wanted to do it as well.

“Is anyone interested in trying out any of the instrument that you see up here?” Aaron Walker-Loud asks the sea of kids in front of us. Tiny hands shoot up all over the room. Mr. Walker-Loud looks around, and settles on a girl who has been sitting quietly in the front. I recognize her as the ‘other’ Lucy. “Come on up,” Mr. Walker-Loud says, “Which instrument do you want to try out?” Lucy hesitantly stands up, and then walks towards me. She shoots an uncertain look at Mr. Walker-Loud, and then proclaims in a soft voice, “I want to play what Lucy plays. I want to play the trombone”. I get up and grab the extra trombone. I walk back over to her and show her how to hold it. As I help support the trombone so that she can play it, she purses her lips and blows hard into the trombone. We can all hear the noise of air rushing through the instrument. “Come on”, I think, “you can do this”. Lucy leans in towards the trombone for another attempt. She presses her lips together, and I can see the determination on her face as she blows into the trombone. Immediately after, a long clear note descends upon the room. Lucy looks up at me, and smiles. ~~Lucy Halperin

JazzED student Carla Newhouse on saxophone

Carla’s Perspective: “The JazzED Outreach Combo was great! It was basically me and a couple people from my JazzED school year program and some other kids. So it’s not as big as my school year program but that just makes it cooler and sound jazzy.

What the JazzED combo did for me was help me be versatile with my improvising, more confident in my improvising and it taught me to listen with my ear to have a good idea how to play any song with my sax. At first I did not like solos almost at all but the opportunities I got to play more and more – and I got more confident – and I got better and more loose with my solos.

And that was my experience with the JazzED combo.” ~~Carla Newhouse - The Seattle JazzED Blog

"Musician gives back to the next generation"

SEATTLE -- Walk into the gym at Washington Middle School in the Central District, and it sounds like there's a thunderstorm raging overhead. More than a dozen students with sticks raised, playing in unison, and leading the class is a former Washington Middle School student.

Aaron Walker-Loud is a professional musician, and today, he's giving back to the next generation.

"I feel like a lot of people 'play' instruments," Walker-Loud said. "But when you have the right type of teacher behind you, then you can become a musician."

He is working with the students through a program called Musician Corps. It's under the umbrella of Seattle's Arts Corps, and it places professional music artists in schools where the kids wouldn't otherwise have this kind of opportunity.

"I think music is a really good way to express yourself," says Cole, an 8th grader at Washington Middle School. "The same way some people write, and some people sing, I play drums just to be able to make something of my own."

13 year-old David, also in 8th grade, enjoys making music for similar reasons.

"I like it because people recognize you for it," he says with a grin, pointing out he also enjoys playing the tuba, and when fellow students point him out and say, "Hey Tuba Man!"

Weekly, the students in this Musician Corps drum line practice their music. They stay long after regular class is over.

Meet 11 year-old Az'Jion. Before Musician Corps, he hadn't really taken music seriously. Today, in addition to drums, he plays piano and a couple of other instruments. And when life gets difficult, he uses music to escape and cope.

"When I get mad or something like that," Az'Jion says, "I just go home and play my drums, and then it feels like nothing happened. Like it's all gone."

"The more people in the community listen to what it's (Musician Corps) doing for these young people, the more they're understanding why it's important," says Walker-Loud.

Musician Corps is a short-term, government funded program that not only gives kids access to music, it has the potential to teach some important life lessons.

"And for some of them, it (Musician Corps) may be a little bit of a pit stop and they may end-up doing something else with their life," Walker-Loud says. "But if it gave them a chance to make a little step in something positive, and being in something after school when they could have been doing who knows what…then that's a good thing." - Komo News


Still working on that hot first release.



Aaron Walker-Loud is a composer, drummer and director of many music collaborations and services, including The Flood (1999-2003), Big World Breaks (2000-present) and One Family, Inc. (2004-present).

Aaron’s production company Big World Breaks has provided stage and studio production for many artists including the Massive Monkees, Choklate, Blue Scholars, Gabriel Teodros, Khingz, Hella Dope, Spaceman, Toni Hill and Dyme Def. He has worked over a combined decade as a child care teacher, director, trainer and curriculum designer for many Seattle-based organizations including Community Day School Association and School’s Out Washington. Aaron has also volunteered as an event producer, workshop presenter, promoter and performer for a number of organizations, including Seattle Young People's Project, Coalition to Undo Racism Everywhere and The Service Board. In his work with youth, Aaron emphasizes respect for differences among people, developing creativity and life skills, team-building, community activism and understanding social injustice.