Jazz Clinic and Master Class at Paola High School

I had the opportunity to visit Mr. Michael Solomon and his Paola High School jazz band class during Jazz Appreciation Month!

🎵🎷 with Paola High School Band Director Mr. Michael Solomon and former PHS Band Director Mr. James R. Fuchs (also Mr. Burnett’s teacher)

The purpose of my visit was to give a Jazz Clinic and Master Class centered upon my lessons pertaining to developing individual competencies related to general instrumental performance and contextual improvisation.

I was introduced to Mr. Solomon by my former high school band director, Mr. James R. Fuchs. I reconnected recently with Mr. Fuchs at the 2018 KMEA In-Service Workshop and met with Mr. Solomon after my clinic there about coming to his school.

Another cool aspect of this is that Paola High School was where I attended and graduated. I had not visited the PHS band program since Mr. Fuchs was band director there.


Christopher Burnett with student members
of the Paola High School Jazz Band.

Since Mr. Solomon had previously downloaded my clinics and had been working with his students on those specific materials, the entire session was elevated beyond getting the students to understand the information in a useful context.

  • We reviewed my major scale clinic and I answered any questions along with showing how to find the natural minor scale that exists within each of the 12 major scales.
  • We reviewed my harmonic minor scale clinic and I showed them how the ii7(b5) – V7(b9) related.
  • I was able to provide an overview of chord/scale theory in proper context to these students because they knew how the major and harmonic minor scales were constructed.
  • Students were immediately able to improvise based on the foundational knowledge provided.

Other residual topics covered included:

  • Jazz articulation
  • Rhythm
  • Ensemble and Section practices

I am scheduled to return in May and that session will be applying this knowledge to the performance of selections in their repertoire.

It was lots of fun and thanks again to Mr. Solomon for the invitation!


Jazz Appreciation Month (fondly known as “JAM”) was created at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2001 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. JAM is intended to stimulate and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more.



Christopher Burnett is a critically acclaimed alto saxophonist, educator, arts business leader, and composer who began his professional career with military jazz bands “going pro” directly upon graduating high school at 18 years old.

Over the course of his career, Mr. Burnett has performed professionally around the world, recorded noteworthy albums as a leader, taught at the college-level and co-founded a significant independent recording label, Artists Recording Collective.

He held adjunct professor of music positions with University of Missouri Science and Technology (10 years) and at Metropolitan Community Colleges (5 years).

Most recently, Mr. Burnett was selected as a clinician for the 2018 Kansas Music Educators Association In-Service Workshop in Wichita.

A member of the official touring roster for the state of Kansas, Mr. Burnett’s is an eclectic instrumental music ensemble comprised of accomplished professional artists. Repertoire includes Burnett original compositions and select jazz masterworks. He performs locally each month at Black Dolphin in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City.


Mr. Burnett is an official Conn-Selmer Artist and Clinician. He only plays Selmer (Paris) Saxophones.


  • Saxophone Mouthpiece – Jazz:
    Ted Klum custom made
  • Saxophone Reeds – Jazz:
    Rigotti Gold Jazz, 2.5 Medium
  • Saxophone Mouthpiece – Classical:
    Selmer C**
  • Saxophone Reeds – Classical:
    Rigotti Gold, 3
  • Clarinet Mouthpiece – Bb:
    Frank L. Kaspar (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
  • Clarinet Reeds – Bb:
    Vandoren V21, 3.5+
  • Clarinet Mouthpiece – A:
    Charles Bay custom made
  • Clarinet Reeds – A:
    Vandoren V21, 3.5+

See – www.ChrisBurnettQuartet.com

# # #

Press Contact: