Award-winning Jazz Vocalist Helps Students Find Voice


If you happened to pass by WAB's HUB building on Tuesday afternoon, you may have heard some weird noises flowing through the hallways. They weren't sirens; they weren't alarm clocks.

They were students learning vocal warm-ups from award-winning jazz vocalist Bogna Kicińska, who visited the school to host a master-class with IB Music students and perform with her quartet during her tour through Beijing.

Bogna specializes in jazz arrangement and improvisation – a skill she learned at school and through practicing and playing with artists around the world. Despite having two master's degrees in music, Bogna said, this type of learning was the most valuable education she ever received.

"We should be like a sponge, absorbing the best things you hear and transforming them into your own language," Bogna told the group of students. "The learning process in every instrument and in every field is a life-long thing. I am always looking for different methods and learning from different people. By singing with them, I was inspired to continue listening and learning."

After Bogna spoke and performed an arrangement, each of the students had the chance to perform with the support of her professional quartet and get one-to-one feedback from the singer – a unique opportunity for them to take their music to the next level.

Bogna worked with students on studying lyrics and using them to tell a story, understanding tempo, communicating with a band; and developing a commanding stage presence.

"She has a lot of experience as a professional vocalist," said Grade 12 student Ollie Vickers. "She's gone through the hurdles we will need to get over, and so she knows what we need to do well, to succeed and to grow."

WAB prioritizes connecting students with accomplished and influential people. Bogna is the latest in a series of musicians who has and will visit WAB to work with students and the community this year.

"Students who have dreams to become a musician benefit so much from the chance to work-on-one with an accomplished artist like Bogna," WAB's Choir Director Michelle Yip said. "I saw a transformation before and after the students performed with Bogna. Even the students themselves were surprised with their own improvements, realizing they could deliver beyond what they thought they were capable of."

Visit our Connect page to learn more about why WAB values community connections with artists like Bogna.