Last night, my husband and I took our 11-year-old daughter, Ceana to listen to the local high school jazz concert band. Ceana plays clarinet in her middle school cadet band, and any student from her band that went to the performance last night will get extra credit for band class. Also, they got in free if they wore their band T-shirt. It was also the premiere performance of the middle school’s new jazz band. The concert was fantastic! I didn’t have a kid in the show, so I can say that with complete objectivity. During the show, we found out that the teacher who comes in to teach the middle school jazz band –and she and the students come in an hour before school starts because this is not a class, it’s all voluntary–is a local elementary school teacher who is donating her time for this. I was also impressed that these 7th and 8th grade kids come to school extra early just to play jazz.
In a time when I continue to hear about schools losing their arts and music programs, I am thrilled that we have a fantastic music program in our district that begins in 5th grade. I learned that the high school has five full concert bands in addition to the marching band. During the last performance by the Jazz I Band, my daughter made an audio recording. I placed a portion of it on YouTube if you are interested in listening to a clip. There is an explanation with the clip as to why I also have a slide show with strange photos playing with music.
Ceana enjoyed the jazz bands. We let her sit with her friends a row behind us, and I noticed she was face front and listening while some of her friends were talking (you may be able to hear them on the recording). Currently, she isn’t sure if she wants to try out for jazz band because it would mean playing a different instrument. While she wouldn’t have to give up her clarinet, traditionally, they are not a part of jazz bands. I guess we’ll cross that bridge if and when we come to it, meanwhile, we can enjoy the beautiful music she makes with her clarinet.