Laura Lizcano
Laura Lizcano

Laura Lizcano

What is it about music that has made it such an important part of your life?

Music helps me express myself! Sometimes, you have some really big emotions. Maybe you’re really happy or you’re really sad, and I find that music helps me deal with all those really big emotions and put all of that energy into something that is meaningful to me. Music also brings a lot of joy to others, and I love to connect with people and create a sense of community through songs. 

There are many different types of music: jazz, hip-hop, folk, country, pop.  Can you describe your genre of music and what makes that genre what it is–like what makes rap, rap and how is it different from other music?  Is it the way you use your voice or instrumentation?

Jazz is a musical tradition that was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in the late 1800’s. It is a mixture of many things: West African music, Caribbean music, and European music. One of the most important aspects of jazz music is improvisation. Improvisation is coming up with your own melodies and rhythms on the spot- without having to look at sheet music. Have you ever seen the Princess and the Frog? The music from that movie is jazz music! 

Talk about the instruments you incorporate into your songs when you perform? What are your favorites?

My favorite instruments to play with are the piano, the bass, the guitar, and the drums. In jazz, we refer to this grouping of instruments as the “rhythm section,” because they help keep time and they accompany lead instruments. The lead instruments (sometimes it’s a saxophone, or a trumpet, or a vocalist) play the melody. 

You don’t need an instrument to be musical.  You can make music using everyday household objects like pots, pans, and rubber bands.  What did you use to make music with when you were a kid?

My body! As a kid, I often clapped or stomped or patted my legs to create different beats and patterns. It can be really fun! Also, all of us can sing! Maybe you can learn to beat-box or maybe you want to try out some scat singing. Scat singing is improvisation for vocalists, or singers. You make up your own melodies and rhythms using silly, nonsense words. Ella Fitzgerald was an incredible vocalist, and she knew how to scat sing really well. Check out her rendition of “One Note Samba” to get some ideas! 

See Laura Lizcano perform this song:

Yes You Can