“My workshops are centered on the idea that every person has creative potential. I help the students communicate through the imaginative voice.”
In the Classroom
Rock Music: Teaching About Geology through Music
Developed at the Kennedy Center this integrated arts workshop teaches geology through music. Students are invited to look at the geologic science facts of the rock cycle from a different perspective. Students will learn to think in imaginative ways as they learn about how our earth was formed and the dynamic rock cycle No prior musical knowledge or skill is necessary. (Also available as a cross curriculum professional development workshop for teachers)
The House of Song
This workshop is for singers and non-singers alike. It is designed to challenge ideas of what is possible within the framework of a song. Opportunities for self-expression are explored as phrasing, lyrics, melodic storylines, silence and emotional content are examined. The goal of this class is to expand one's identity as an improvising voice through the incorporation of new ideas.
Concert with Conversation
Are there links between Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra? Who are some of great songwriters of the American Songbook? Who can we look to today? This is an interactive and informal concert with Nnenna and her band. The audience is invited to ask questions and engage in spirited discussion as we explore the popular music of the 1940’s-to current day. The music takes us on a surprising journey.
This is a concert with Nnenna and her ensemble designed for the uninitiated jazzer. You don’t’ know Charlie Parker from Charles Barkley? You aren’t sure whether to clap on 1 and 3 or 2 and 4? You don’t know if it’s swings or not? Then this is the workshop for you. Rhythm, melody tempo, improvisation and dynamics are explored within the context of the jazz ensemble. Nnenna musically demonstrates the ways in which each member of the group contributes to the creation of the music.
The Art of Accompaniment
This is a duo performance in which Nnenna and her accompanist explore the ways in which the musician and singer communicate with each other. The creative dance and interplay between two musicians is a one o f music"s greatest mysteries. This is an experience in active listening and response.
Extended Residency Programs
I am the Song: Songwriting (Middle School - Adult)
In this 1-3 day residency students learn about the craft of songwriting. Where do “good” ideas come? What makes a good song great? To rhyme or not to rhyme? What is a hook? Using the 12 bar blues form, students write lyrics and learn the magic of storytelling through song writing.
Be Bop to Hip Hip
In this 1 day residency Nnenna is joined by her son Pierce Freelon professor of Afican Americam History at UNC Chapel Hill. How do Cab Calloway and Jay Z connect in the pop culture continuum? Is the hip hop culture a new phenomenon? Is Jazz relevant in today’s world. Pierce and Nnenna explore these issues and more in this intergenerational workshop context of jazz and hip hop music.
No Business Like Show Business!
In this 1 day residency learn how to market yourself as a professional artist. The music business has changed drastically in the past 5 years. The internet has significantly leveled the playing field for artists. Learn how to take advantage, manage and achieve your goals on and off the bandstand.
Arts Advocacy Lecture/Demonstration
Nnenna is a passionate supporter of arts education. In her role as the spokesperson for Partners in Education she spoke frequently on the need for more ART at the heart of American education and the value of teaching the whole child. Nnenna is also available for adjudication as well as vocal coaching for solo singers and choral ensembles.
Living Your Improvisational Life
Nnenna discusses her own incredible journey from that of wife and mother to internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist. Equal parts storyteller and actress Freelon shares her own personal account of weaving her multiple selves into an improvised tapestry of life.