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Jazz Virtuoso to Bolingbrook Students: 'It Wasn't Easy Breezy'

Clarinetist Felix Peikli was at Brooks on Thursday.

International famous jazz clarinet virtuoso Felix Peikli show Brooks Middle School students how to improvise while playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Credit: VVSD
International famous jazz clarinet virtuoso Felix Peikli show Brooks Middle School students how to improvise while playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Credit: VVSD

Submitted by Valley View School District:

“It wasn’t just easy breezy.”

That’s the way 23-year-old jazz clarinet virtuoso Felix Peikli described his rise to international stardom as he spoke to, and worked with, band students at Brooks Middle School Thursday morning.

“I try to practice between four and six hours a day because the more you learn, the more you need to practice,” the Norwegian-born musician said.

Peikli has been playing since he was 8 years old when his grandfather bought him his first clarinet (which he admitted he broke when he sat on it during a school band practice.) His first “professional” performance came at age 10 when he was paid $100 to play in a church.

“I was totally into music then. It was great because I got to do something that was really fun and I got paid too,” he said.

While studying at the Barratt Dues Classical Institute of Norway, he earned numerous awards and appeared frequently on radio and television, and in concerts around the world. That led to a full scholarship at the Berklee College of Music in Boston and more notoriety.

During Peikli’s visit to Brooks, the New York City resident not only performed for students but also showed them the fundamentals of improvisation, telling them “you can still hear the melody but you just add your own flavor to it.”

Asked about his favorite type of music, he said he not only plays jazz, but also rhythm and blues, hip hop and classical because “good music is good music no matter what genre it is.”

Peikli’s first album will be released this spring.

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