Beginning this year (2018-2019), I will be integrating jazz into the 8th Grade Band’s curriculum. I am starting jazz this year at the 8th grade level because only after an ensemble completes their method book and has a solid enough foundation of rhythms, notes, articulations, dynamics, and style, will they have the tools needed to learn jazz fundamentals and music to perform at concerts. Since the majority of jazz music does not include all concert band instruments, I transpose similar-voiced instrument parts for all instruments. However, if a student excels on a concert band instrument that is not typically arranged for in jazz (i.e. tuba, euphonium, clarinet, flute), I might offer to teach that student an additional instrument like trombone or saxophone, respectively. Learning an additional instrument will take patience, time, and practice, but the student will have an easier transition to high school jazz band once the student can comfortably play the doubled instrument.
Instrument Opportunities for Percussionists and Guitarists in Jazz
In jazz band, percussionists will learn drum set, vibraphone, or piano (if a student has piano background). Students who have taken one full year of guitar with me will have the opportunity to learn the guitar and double bass parts from the charts we are learning in band, and perform in our school’s concerts during the jazz portion.