Jazz band abandons MPA

Jazz band abandons MPA

Junior Jennifer Stone plays saxophone for the school’s jazz band.

Nathaniel Curtis, Managing Editor

As opposed to years past, the district music competition is not the main item on jazz band’s agenda this year. Instead of focusing on three songs for a third of the school year to play them at the competition in March, the band has expanded its setlist with hopes of playing more gigs.

“The kids have always wanted to play more gigs, and this year we are finally going to make that our goal,” band teacher Carol Allen said. “The band I and decided not to go because honestly the judges are biased against us. At schools like Eau Gallie, the middle-schoolers start jazz band and work their way up until the top band in senior year. Here though, all of us are jumbled into one, and no matter what the level is, they assume that we are at the top level. We can do superior work and still only get an excellent, so we decided not to waste time on the same three songs for three months this year.”

This decision was made from a consensus of the class. Rather than wasting energy perfecting a song only to be graded down on it regardless, the students focused in on learning more improvisation, theory and — most importantly — more songs.

“In years past we have had to give up a lot of our favorite pieces because of [Musical Performance Assessment],” senior Dakota Helbig said. “I’m hesitant about it because it does offer good critique, but I’m glad that we have things to work on now besides the same songs.”

After the decision was made, the music library was soon pillaged. Favorite pieces such as “The Incredibles” and “The Jazz Police” were put into circulation in the students’ music folders.

“I’m glad we finally got to pull out new songs,” sophomore trumphet-player Alex Autenrieb said. “I have been wanting to be in jazz band for a while, and finally being able to play these songs that I’ve heard for years is a lot of fun, especially playing with all of my band friends.”

As well as playing new songs and classic hits, the extra time has opened up new opportunities in jazz improvisation.

“When we play in Daniel and the Fire Alarms, we essentially just go off of the chords,” junior Daniel Tenbusch said. “Very rarely do we have music. Any solo that you hear us play is just thrown together by the musicians on the spot. It helps with music theory and helps you become a better musician altogether.”