Name: Jessica Erlendson van Remmen
Instrument: Voice, Piano, Flute, and guitar. I also teach composition and jazz improvisation.
Location: Calgary, Canada
Bachelor of Arts – Music – University of Calgary (with a minor in Anthropology)
Diploma in Jazz – Music – Jazz flute/piano – Mount Royal University
Private instruction – Voice, classical guitar, Jazz Vocals, Jazz Arranging, mandolin, soprano saxophone, and percussion.
My Daddy, Bob Erlendson, he was my first teacher, my musical mentor, a composer, and an example of grace under pressure. He practiced Transcendental Meditation and encouraged me to study Music and Yoga.
Favorite place to perform:
In my kitchen! With my husband (bass player and singer). With my Dad. At art gallery openings, which is my favorite because most people appreciate the art and music culture.
At a local live music club, during my CD release in 2007
- Acer Aspire 3 (probably going to upgrade this year, had to add 8 GB more RAM. I was using OBS but everything was loading much slower, so I stopped doing so until I can upgrade to a much faster computer)
- Zoom Q2n-4K Handy Video Recorder (overhead view – this is known as the musician’s camera and was the only option available when the pandemic happened in 2020)
- Logitech camera (side view, I invented my own stand with the box it came in – supplied to me from Forte for participating in their draw)
- Logitech Wireless keyboard (so I can sit back and relax if I’m getting tired)
- Basic Logitech Headphone/mic (would like to upgrade this but every pair of wireless earbuds I’ve tried ends up being a dud)
What’s great about teaching on Forte?
I love knowing that I am part of a larger teaching and musical community of great people. I loved participating in the year-end symposium along with alumni from Juilliard!
Tell us a bit about your teaching style:
I am highly trained in improvisation, performance, and Yoga. This makes me unique in that I am able to read the student and adjust accordingly. I love the challenge of a student who is struggling. I don’t adhere to an agenda of where I want the student to end up. I let the students’ desires and interests guide me. I also emphasize reading music and theory, but I make it fun! I even designed the Music Theory Colouring Book that you can see in my studio shot on my keyboard. I started drawing these sheets out for students who were struggling, and over the stay-at-home orders of the pandemic, I wrote out a method book. I am selling this to my students and others online.
Tell us what you like most about your experience as a music educator:
I’ve been teaching music since I graduated from MRU in 2001, and so I’ve had every experience you can imagine. I love the moment that the students realize that they persevered and did it! They mastered that technique, they played the scale, they memorized their piece, they experienced success, and that lesson sticks with them for a lifetime.
A piece of repertoire I love to teach:
I love to teach students music that means something to them! I recently had a student struggling through her lessons, as the material had become more difficult, and we added in one of her favorite songs, “Can’t Stop the Feeling”. This changed everything, her attitude, her intensity, her self-esteem, and she nailed it!
A piece of repertoire I love to play:
I have written many songs over the years, and I love playing my own music. There are many of them, but recently I have been playing “Who Got the Girl” from my 1994 album Genderoni. The tune is a tongue-in-cheek look at dating.
I love to paint because I don’t have to be good at it! I am highly trained in yoga and became a Yoga Therapist at 49 years old. I am also already a grandmother to two girls! I have a dog and two cats.
In the artist’s own words:
“I teach music as life lessons. Music is a vehicle, we can use this opportunity to know ourselves better, figure out how to motivate ourselves to try harder, learn the priceless lesson of perseverance, and then transfer these skills into any area of our lives! My musical training has helped me finish school as an adult, even though I have a learning disability, and even gets me through weight training sessions that keep my muscles and bones strong as I mature. I have experienced the fatigue of long-term goals so many times in my life that I know how to just keep doing it anyway, and this has meant I have studied multiple instruments and subjects in my life. I know there’s nothing I can’t do if I set my mind to it because I have done so before while learning music!”