MJ Territo

MJ Territo
Yonkers, NY
Choral/Vocal Music, Improvisation
Adult Day Care, Assisted Living, College/University, Arts/Cultural Organizations, Community Center, Hospital, Independent Living, K-12 Schools, Library, Nursing Home, Senior Center

Teaching Artist Highlights: In 2016, through a grant from Lifetime Arts to the Harrison NY Public Library, I created and presented a workshop, "Singin' & Swingin': Adventures in Jazz, Blues and Improvisation." The program includes learning to sing and scat on jazz standards; exploring the intricacies of swing rhythm; creating an original blues tune; using free improvisation vocal techniques. In 2017 I was awarded a Yonkers Initiative Grant to present the workshop at the Yonkers Public Library.

As a member of the teaching artist roster for ArtsWestchester since 2010, I conduct residencies in Music and Movement in schools and community settings throughout Westchester County. In March 2015 and November 2016, I presented a 3-evening workshop series: An Introduction to Vocal Jazz at the Hoff Barthelson School of Music, Scarsdale NY.  I have also worked with emotionally vulnerable adults at a day treatment program at the White Plains Hospital, leading the participants in jazz listening, movement and original song creation.

Jazz Vocalist Highlights: Founder and manager, Ladies Day Jazz Ensemble, a group of women musicians dedicated to performing the compositions of classic and contemporary jazz women. Our CD, "Ladies Day" was released in August 2017 to critical acclaim from leading jazz publications, such as Downbeat and All About Jazz.  I also perform frequently in the tri-state area leading my own band or with other groups, performing a repertoire that includes jazz standards; works from the Great American Songbook; and original compositions and collaborations.

As a music educator for people of all ages I focus on the joy in the moment. I strive to provide an opportunity for students of all abilities to find their unique voices, to make music with comfort and confidence, and to create an atmosphere that promotes mutual sharing among all participants. Working with older adults is particularly satisfying because they have so much to teach as they continue to learn. Jazz is a wonderful medium because the music resonates with older adults in many ways: the songs that make up the standard jazz repertoire are part of their musical memories; jazz captures the best of the American spirit of multi-culturalism and individual contributions to an ever-evolving whole; jazz improvisation stretches the mind and its rhythms engage the body.