Jazz

Introduction

In addition to the Concert Band program, we also offer instruction in jazz by way of two Jazz Ensembles. These groups rehearse twice each week outside of the regular timetable. Students learn the various jazz styles by performing a wide variety of repertoire. Enrollment is restricted and entrance into these ensembles is by audition. Successful students are then placed into either the Junior or Senior Jazz Ensemble according to ability.

Senior Jazz Ensemble:
The Senior Jazz Ensemble is an ensemble of musicians with an interest and experience in playing all kinds of jazz. Interested students should have at least one year experience playing jazz and must be current members of the Concert Band at their grade level. Audition material is posted on the school website. Rehearsals occur Tuesday and Friday mornings at 7am. As this is a small ensemble with players playing unique parts, regular attendance is essential.

The focus of the ensemble is in learning jazz style, tradition, and improvisation, with a focus on listening to discover the cultural context of the music we play. Evaluation will include playing tests, listening assignments, transcriptions, and jazz syntax. The members of the group will prepare large ensemble and combo repertoire for performance at both of the departmental concerts in December and April, at a music festival and the School Fair. The group will also work toward additional performance opportunities including auditioning for the Essentially Ellington Competition and other recording projects.

An in-house jazz retreat will occur early Term 1. This is an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of local jazz musicians and to establish a strong ensemble sense early in the year. It is a mandatory event for Jazz Band members.

Junior Jazz Ensemble

Junior Jazz Ensemble is an opportunity for proficient and interested students to learn to play jazz in a big band setting—it is open by audition only. Auditions for interested students will occur during the second week of school. All students wanting to audition must download the audition materials from the Music Department website.
This course is designed to give students the experience and skills of playing in a Big Band. Students will undertake a journey exploring the history and repertoire of the major eras of jazz, including learning basic improvisation techniques. As an introductory course much of our effort will be devoted to internalizing the “feel” and “concept” of swing. We will do this through rehearsal, performance, and listening to many exemplary recordings. Rehearsals take place Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:00-8:15 am. Attendance is mandatory.

Because jazz courses deal primarily with stylistic interpretation, rather than individual instrumental pedagogy, students are required to take a concert band course concurrently. Course credit is given for the Jazz Ensembles and, as such, your work in the class will be given a grade based on periodic testing and your personal preparation. Learning the style of jazz is akin to learning a new language—it is best learned by fully immersing yourself in it! Consequently, the more jazz a student listens to, the faster and more easily he will pick up the vocabulary used in the different jazz styles. We encourage all students to listen to as many jazz artists as possible, and will happily recommend many excellent artists and recordings.

Course credit is given for the Jazz Ensembles.

Senior Jazz Ensemble

The Senior Jazz Ensemble is an ensemble of musicians with an interest and experience in playing all kinds of jazz. Interested students should have at least one year experience playing jazz and must be current members of the Concert Band at their grade level. Audition material is posted on the school website. Rehearsals occur Tuesday and Friday mornings at 7am. As this is a small ensemble with players playing unique parts, regular attendance is essential.

The focus of the ensemble is in learning jazz style, tradition, and improvisation, with a focus on listening to discover the cultural context of the music we play. Evaluation will include playing tests, listening assignments, transcriptions, and jazz syntax. The members of the group will prepare large ensemble and combo repertoire for performance at both of the departmental concerts in December and April, at a music festival and the School Fair. The group will also work toward additional performance opportunities including auditioning for the Essentially Ellington Competition and other recording projects.

An in-house jazz retreat will occur early Term 1. This is an opportunity to benefit from the expertise of local jazz musicians and to establish a strong ensemble sense early in the year. It is a mandatory event for Jazz Band members.

Course credit is given for the Jazz Ensembles.

Jazz Resources

These resources are for all members of the Jazz Program. Please feel free to forward further links that are helpful to you and may also be to your fellow jazz musicians in the program.
Founded in 1930, St. George's School is a world-class boys' university preparatory school, offering a day program in Grades 1-12 and an Urban Boarding program in Grades 8-12. With 1150 students, 109 of whom are boarders from over 20 countries worldwide, St. George's School truly is Canada's World School for Boys.
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