In addition to his recognition as a great vocalist in the classic jazz vocal tradition, Giacomo is a highly respected and gifted educator. His approach is to combine the teaching of technique hand in hand with the passing down of oral traditions and exposure to the profound creators in the jazz legacy; a methodology that has always been the cornerstone of the jazz tradition.

A teacher at Wesleyan University, Southern Connecticut State University and New Haven's Neighborhood Music School for many years, Giacomo also offers a number of specific workshops and master classes that are available individually or in an extended residency. For more detailed information than what is contained below, contact Giacomo by e-mail ( for specific activity outlines.


  • The Voice - Finding One's Own Sound
    A 1-3 hour workshop, this activity exposes the student to a variety of vocalists, with a significant concentration on lesser-known, but highly individual and important vocalists, making comparisons to their individual approaches. It also focuses on the sounds of a number of influential instrumentalists, applying their tones and techniques to the methods of vocal expression. The workshop also covers methods of caring for the vocal instrument.

  • Communicating With a Rhythm Section
    This workshop covers both the technical and conceptual aspects of working within the group dynamic as either a leader or accompanist. The technical aspects include finding the correct keys and tempos, counting off the tune, soloing, breaks, trading fours and ending the piece.

    The conceptual elements include the creative process, understanding collective effort, responsibility to the other members, sensitivity and understanding how to be a leader.

  • In Tune and In Time/Ear Training
    This workshop focuses upon the importance of listening and intuition, concentrating on rhythm, tempo, pitch and learning by ear. Elements include: understanding rhythm without musical accompaniment; the use of different tempos for the same song; the importance of interpretation; understanding pitch in both perfect and relative forms; learning pitch through chords and harmonies; and learning music by ear.

  • The Vocal Instrument
    This workshop focuses upon techniques and practices for both utilizing and caring for the voice. It includes the use of scales, intervals, singing above and below the vocalist's natural range, enunciation and articulation, phrasing, breathing, and various care techniques, such as warm-ups, rest and proper lubrication.

  • Improvisation/Scat-Singing
    This workshop focuses on the unique art of vocalizing in the classic jazz tradition. It includes the learning of lines with "nonsensical" syllables; the use of onomatopoeia to make sense out of what may initially seem nonsensical; designating melodies with predescribed vowel sounds; listening to blues chord changes; the spontaneous composition of melodies over changes; singing sentences, thoughts, words and ideas that match tempo and changes; and how to make each performance of the same tune a new experience.

  • Getting Your Book Together
    This workshop concentrates on the development of repertoire and maintaining the proper materials for it. It covers charts, lead sheets, lyric sheets, rhythm section arrangements and the selection and/or use of different keys.

  • The Art of Gigging
    This is a practical workshop that deals with both the elements of performance and the details of handling the business that surrounds it.

    The performance elements include presentation, dynamics, body language, audience interaction, selection of repertoire appropriate to the venue/audience, pacing, etc.

    The business elements include contracts, travel, dealing with sidemen, negotiation, responsibility and dealing with the presenter.

"Mr. Gates is a truly authentic representative of the world of Jazz, and his presentation and performance gave us a memorable and wonderful experience of that world. His presentation was one of the highlights of the semester, for me as well as the class."
Dr. Daniel Kean, Professor of Music, Norwalk Community College


  • Wesleyan University Middletown, CT - Adjunct Faculty - Jazz Vocals

  • Hartford Conservatory of Music Hartford, CT - Faculty - Jazz Vocals

  • Litchfield Jazz Festival Litchfield, CT - three day in-residence workshop

  • Clackamas Community College Portland, OR - Clinics & performance

  • Chemeketa Community College Portland, OR - Clinics & performance

  • Georgia State University Atlanta , GA - Clinics and performance

  • East Coast Jazz Festival, Washington, DC - workshops & performance

  • Neighborhood Music School, New Haven, CT - Faculty member since 1995 - eight week course "Voice, The First Instrument" given each semester

  • Festival Jazz All-Stars - Concerts & workshops given as quintet, and singularly, to grammar, high-school & college students, 1991-1998 various locations

  • The New School, NYC - Jazz Singers Workshop

  • Rosa Parks School For The Performing Arts, Paterson, NJ - Performance & lecture, master class for vocal students

  • Sacred Heart College, Bridegport, CT - Performance & Jazz History lecture

  • California University, California, PA - Three day in-residence workshop

  • Hartt Music School, Hartford, CT - Workshops & master classes

  • Harford Community College, Harford, MD - Master class & concert

  • Springfield Music Academy, Springfield, MA - Master class & concert

  • University of Bridgeport, Bridgeport, CT - Seminars & workshops

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