Art & Life

Blake Shaw’s first appearance as jazz director

From plucking strings on the upright bass to performing and educating students, is Blake Shaw. Shaw is a famous musician, lesson teacher and professor new this year at Kirkwood Community College.  

He is originally from Lisbon, and graduated from Kirkwood in 2010 with an Associate’s degree in Music. Shaw then attended the University of Iowa from 2010 to 2014 to study Music Education where he earned a bachelor’s degree and a Master of Arts degree in Jazz.  

Outside of teaching the Jazz Ensemble at Kirkwood, along with other music courses, Shaw is in a band called “The Blake Shaw Trio” where he writes music and plays the bass. “I was brought to Kirkwood in 2008 until 2010 and transferred to the University of Iowa. There was a job opening for the jazz band director and I was a good candidate for the year and I wanted to come back and teach.” 

As a musician, Shaw has several social media pages with thousands of followers. He tours around the Midwest and other parts of the country. He also has hit songs and an album titled “It Happened” available on streaming platforms.  

While in the classroom, Shaw said, “I love all of the students that are here. I’m having a great time meeting everyone.” 

Shaw also teaches jazz at Cornell College along with private lessons offered to students who play instruments. “This is my second year at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon. I’ve been teaching students private lessons since about 2010 while in my undergrad. I’ve also done masterclasses and clinics at middle schools and high schools.”  

Shaw has a wide range of experience when it comes to educating students and traveling to play and teach music. “I’ve also been playing with the Schoolhouse Jazz Band through KCCK. We go to elementary schools and talk about jazz on a level they understand,” said Shaw. He added that he has been participating in the Schoolhouse Jazz Band for 10 years.  

He said his goal for the Kirkwood Jazz Ensemble is to “play as much repertoire as possible.” He added that repetition and getting to play as much music as possible is the best way to gain experience. 

Categories: Art & Life