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.