Jose Antonio Diaz: Building a Jazz Foundation

Mike Lawson • Archives • October 22, 2006

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By Jennifer H. McInerney

Bringing the music – and the artists – to his students has been an important layer in the jazz foundation Jose Antonio Diaz has been working to build since he came to MacArthur High School , in Houston , Texas , 19 years ago.

In the early 1990s, Diaz and his band program offered a local jazz festival designed to bring high school ensembles together for competition and clinics by renowned guest artists. When he realized that only his students were sticking around for the clinics, Diaz adjusted the focus away from competition, in favor of his education-driven goals: he eliminated the competitive festival and brought the guest artists directly to his students for in-school clinics. The students in the MacArthur bands have responded so well to the guest artists program that Diaz has worked to continually expand the network of clinicians and develop a lasting rapport with each of them.

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