jazz band

Often when people think of jazz, they might think of the blues or maybe a funky saxophone solo, but this genre of music is far more than meets the eye. Jazz music has different types: rock, swing, latin, funk, and so much more. In Jazz 1, students get to experience musical styles contrary to what they would encounter in concert or symphonic band. Spencer Wahl, the director of Jazz 1 at HHS, helps students learn these music styles: โ€œThe ultimate goal of being in this jazz ensemble is to have exposure to different styles of music. These are styles that you donโ€™t hear very often day to day, so it can be fun to have an ensemble that is dedicated to exploring them.โ€ Jazz 1 is an auditioned ensemble; the students selected have some previous understanding of jazz. The variety introduced in Jazz 1 can help them become even more versatile musicians.

When choosing music for Jazz 1, Mr. Wahl picks new and interesting songs to play at festivals and showcases. โ€œI try to select music that covers a variety of styles. Currently, weโ€™re working on one latin tune, one swing tune, and one ballad,โ€ Wahl describes. Playing different pieces of music help add to a studentโ€™s skill. Mara Skogen, second alto saxophone in Jazz 1, explains her favorite parts of this ensemble: โ€œMy favorite part is being able to play the music with my friends and playing a different type of music.โ€

To be a musician in Jazz 1, Mr. Wahl notes, โ€œStudents must prepare and submit an audition. When evaluating the auditions, I listen for accuracy in notes, rhythms, and articulations. I also listen to the tone quality that each student is achieving on their instrument. Particularly with jazz, I also listen for the style that the student is playing with. Some students have a better sense of swing style than others.โ€ Jazz 1 is a place for students to grow; however, they will still need to have a solid musical foundation for the rest of the ensemble to succeed. Megan Krueger, first chair alto saxophone in Jazz 1 and in symphonic band, adds, โ€œJazz 1 challenges me by having harder music and rhythms to learn and play.โ€ Jazz 1 is an extremely educational and fun experience; any student looking to expand their musical knowledge should look auditioning for this class.