Jubilation Fellow David Mills

David Mills

Band Leader
New Haven CT
Fellowship: 2017

“Music is, first and foremost, a form of communication,” says David. “Music should be judged on the power of its message rather than the prowess of its technique.”

An arranger-musician and music educator for 40 years, he founded the DoSo Dance Band to reunite live music with social dancing. “DoSo brings together people from disparate cultures – band members are all ages, and from all socio-economic circumstances.”

“David is non-judgmental,” says one of the DoSo flutists. “There is no fault in that room. You are free in there, nobody criticizes. And everybody gets a chance to solo. When you sit in an all-ages band with teens you know it’s inclusive! And it’s not like they’re thinking, Oh, here come the old people; they’re like, Hi! How are you?”

David began teaching music at age 20, to reform school boys in a summer program. “Improvisation is the wellspring for innovation in both the arts and industry,” he says. More importantly, David teaches music as play. Beginners and pros play side by side, and the life force of song becomes real. “The performances are not just concerts, they are events,” says one fan. “It’s live music in an interactive way. Dance parties. The audience is participating, dancing and moving, not sitting and consuming. They are part of it. It’s a living organism.”

Teaching philosophy:

  1. If you reduce music to its natural fundamentals, anyone and everyone can play.
  2. Music and dance transcend language and connect people from different cultures.
  3. Why pay a DJ hundreds of dollars to play records at a school dance when we have talented students who would play for pizza?
  4. Within any community there is a band waiting to be born.
  5. All recordings are reflections of past events, and no recording will ever measure up to the experience of being there.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/user/DMM009/videos

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