Berklee BeanTown Jazz FestivalMelissa Aldana and Crash Trio
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Melissa Aldana began playing saxophone at the tender age of 6. After watching pupils come in and out of her home in Santiago, Chile, to take lessons from her father, Marcos Aldana (a renowned jazz saxophonist himself), the young Melissa pestered him to teach her as well. Her father began teaching her by showing her how to play two notes. From that moment, she was hooked. She was given her first saxophone, an alto, and continued to study with her father.
Marcos Aldana’s teaching technique included a great deal of transcription. “When I first started learning, we were using cassettes to transcribe,” says Melissa. “My dad would choose a song that he really liked, so the first person I learned from was Charlie Parker. We would take one phrase, and listen. Then I would play it really slow, over and over, hundreds of times, until it sounded exactly like him. I think it’s one of the best ways to teach a little kid because I learned everything by listening to the masters.”
Melissa Aldana won the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in September 2013. In doing so, she became the first woman to take the top prize in the instrumental contest.