Cory Henry encourages aspiring musicians at Roaring Fork High School
If you see it, you can be it.
On Friday morning, Roaring Fork High School jazz band students saw their dreams in action. Grammy award-winning multi-instrumentalist Cory Henry spent more than an hour speaking with the group of eight students, most of whom aspire to become professional musicians. Henry will play Jazz Snowmass Aspen’s JAS Café tonight.
“Play from your heart. Don’t worry about repeating yourself,” Henry said to a student who asked for solo advice. Throughout the conversation, Henry urged students to listen to themselves and avoid being too hard on themselves so they can give their own compositions a chance to shine.
Henry himself began performing as a high school student — his first show outside of church was when he was 14. Spiritual influence is evident in a lot of his music, as is common in jazz and soul, but especially so on 2016’s “The Revival.”
Music has healing power, he said, and can bring people together.
“Music is a language,” Henry said. “I’ve been in parts of the world where people don’t speak the same language — but people understand parts of the music.”
He encouraged the students to trust their instincts and not allow others to intimidate them. Henry puts that advice in action himself.
“I play to people who’s mean mugging me,” he said. “I tend to try to get them on my side.”
Henry wove musical performance into the conversation, allowing the students to see his advice in action.
“It was funny seeing him get into the music,” Marco Hernandez said.
“He had so much expression in his face when he was playing,” Renee Bruell added.
The students asked about Henry’s process for learning a new song. He doesn’t always listen to his part, he said, but instead focuses on the parts around it.
“I try to sing along with it,” Henry said. “If I can sing along with it, I can usually play it.”
As he spoke and played, students leaned in to take in Henry’s advice.
“It’s priceless to have the experience of direct contact with someone who’s out doing it,” said Mark Johnson, a member of the Jazz Aspen faculty.
“It’s cool that some famous musician came to our little school,” Jaime Lopez said.
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