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Jazz Band

  • All Jazzed Up with Nowhere to Go

    Mike Lawson | December 9, 2014

    Directors Really Do Make a Difference

    The year was 1982 and I was a high school sophomore. I had been playing guitar since I was nine years old, almost entirely self-taught. I didn’t really read notation. I understood rests, repeats, basic things like time signatures, and the difference between a treble and bass clef, but the ebony notes dancing along the staff were a mystery to me. I could, however, read guitar chord charts, and if I could hear a song played while looking at a chord chart, I could generally tackle it within one or two passes.

    The one thing that made me eager to start my sophomore year was the opportunity to audition for the jazz band. Jazz band was typically reserved for juniors and seniors. I knew the band director wanted a guitarist, but the odds of a sophomore passing the audition were dreadfully slim. I’d asked around and learned that there were no other guitarists in the high school who were interested in playing in jazz band, let alone capable of passing the audition. I contacted the band director and arranged for an audition before school started, and to my delight, I passed it.

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  • UpClose: George Hattendorf

    Mike Lawson | October 18, 2014

    Concert bands and chamber groups drive Mountain Ridge High School’s comprehensive band program

     

    If the performance opportunities offered to students are an indicator of a school music program’s vitality, George Hattendorf’s Mountain Ridge High School band program in Glendale, Arizona is positively thriving. Over the past decade, Hattendorf has overseen the development of an array of extracurricular, chamber-style ensembles that augment the Mountain Ridge concert and marching bands in what he describes as a “win-win” situation. “The kids are able to utilize a number of their skill sets from their concert band experience in the small groups,” he reasons, “and they’re also able to take skills that they learn in the chamber aspect and bring it back to the larger group.”

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