Zero Hour Jazz: Additional Poll Comments

If your jazz ensemble meets during the school day, could you briefly describe when and how jazz was incorporated into the curriculum?

  • Jazz Ensemble became a class in the early 80s. It grew out of holding jazz during lunch and through administrative support became a class.
  • It was like this when I got the job five years ago. I believe it’s been a class period for 20+ years.
  • It meets first thing in the morning (5th graders who have already had a year of band as well 4th and 5th graders who have been taking private lessons with instruments such as piano, drums, and guitar).
  • Incorporated into the school day during a special unit on jazz in early spring, culminating in a performance at the town’s “All District Jazz Concert.”
  • We started it after school eleven years ago to perform at our “Winter Ball.” Later, we included pieces during the class period as a unit.
  • 4 years ago, my school changed its emphasis from Choral to an instrumental program–Orchestra and Jazz band are offered during the school day.
  • I made a presentation to the curriculum committee.
  • It started as a zero-hour class when we were on a 4-block schedule, but when we went to a 7 hour day 5 or 6 years ago I was allowed to put it in the scheduled day.
  • Jazz Band has met for over 20 years during our early bird period, which begins at 7:22 and is solely for jazz band, senior PE, chamber orchestra, and science labs.
  • I’ve had jazz band for 8 years in addition to chorus and concert band. My administration was supportive about incorporating it. My jazz band has run from 8 to 16 kids depending on the schedule conflicts.
  • The first year the school opened (fall 2007), vocal jazz was offered as an extracurricular activity. The interest grew, and since then it has been offered as a class.
  • To coordinate with a community jazz festival in October.
  • It was incorporated when I was hired…I had a strong background…it was new to the school and I convinced them…
  • It has been in the curriculum for over 30 years in our high school.
  • It was already a part of the schedule when I started working here.
  • 2001–Jazz ensembles are the “primary” band classes due to all-boys school, limited facilities, and limited resources.
  • In the last two years. Students go to band 2 days a cycle, Jazz two days a cycle and then chorus two days a cycle. Those not in one of the other ensembles just do sectional work for the ensemble they are in.
  • Zero period as a regularly scheduled class. 2 bands. Jazz 2 on M/F, Jazz 1 on Tue, Wed, Th.
  • I teach jazz once during an activity period during a six day cycle.
  • We have TWO jazz band periods—it’s been part of curriculum for over 25 years.
  • During the club times for the first time this year.
  • It has been a curricular class since it came into the school day in the 70s.
  • We have a shortened 10th period at the end of the day to accommodate AIS needs. Jazz Band rehearses every day for 30 minutes.

In general, how is your ensemble affected by its position in or outside of the curriculum?

  • We have both Jazz Band and Vocal Jazz Ensemble during the school day. Both groups are by audition only. The program has grown in strength as there are no conflicts with after school sports or other activities. As a result more students want to be involved with the program which helps create a better jazz experience for the students.
  • Students love jazz band, so it is easy to get them to play and improvise.
  • I have better attendance because kids can pick another elective during the school day.
  • We need more time of course. I have the talent but not enough time.
  • I don’t think it would be possible if I had to do it after school. We accomplish a great deal in our 90 min. class periods every other day.
  • The quality of the group is not where it could be and the students do not ever gain momentum in the group.
  • Because our two jazz bands meet during the school day as regular classes, more students are able to be a part of these ensembles.
  • Positively. Kids can take both concert band and jazz band this way.
  • The commitment level of the students is more challenging after school, but with a 6 period day there is no other option.
  • It may be tough to get our kids on another day since they (and me) are so busy outside of school hours.
  • The ensemble benefits from meeting during the class day; however, it’s mostly energized by committed students who use extra rehearsal time outside the classroom.
  • My jazz band is small because of the lack of credit and school time afforded it.
  • Very limited time for learning tunes, working on improvisation, listening, etc.
  • I’m just happy that I have students willing to give up homeroom period to rehearse.
  • We don’t have a lot of time to “teach” things…we get together and play for the fun of it!
  • Before-school meetings limit membership, and the short time period limits improvisational focus, but at least the students are getting exposure (they are 4th & 5th graders).
  • There are challenges, but we are lucky to have the present schedule.
  • We have to play very easy charts–lack of time.
  • I would like to have jazz as part of the curriculum.
  • Scheduling is difficult, we still try to require all jazz members to have membership in a “concert” ensemble…
  • We could certainly do more if it were a daily class. That may come later.
  • Having both, and staying in the public eye, my groups are becoming very talented!
  • We have more participation than we would if it were during the school day.
  • Class size is limited a bit with State requirements and such, but we are now looking at an 8 period day to help all the elective classes.
  • Being inside the curriculum makes it difficult for some younger students to fit in because of labs, but it works well for most since they must be concurrently enrolled in another music ensemble. Meeting during early bird means not having to give up another time slot to take jazz.
  • I lose kids who don’t want to get up early.
  • Students are extremely busy and it’s another night they have something. Having said that, our school has a 6 period day so adding it into the schedule will be difficult based on constantly increasing requirements. We started a combo program that focuses on improvisation as a way to provide that instruction to more students.
  • The class has plenty of time for jazz instruction, but the lunchtime group only has time to work on a few songs–no jazz history or theory.
  • We will never reach our potential with the limited amount of time. I can’t spare as much time as I need to expose students to recordings or to practice improvising.
  • Plus for school, students, expands musical knowledge.
  • The ensemble is not as strong as it could be, and improvisation is not nearly as well cultivated.
  • Conflicts with sports, some students can’t get rides and miss.
  • It greatly limits what we can accomplish.
  • Outside the curriculum allows students to choose jazz without impacting the number of periods available for core or other extracurricular classes.
  • I am able to keep kids in program who take vocational ed and would not be able to enroll in band during the regular school day.
  • Participation in chorus is very limited due to block scheduling.
  • In curriculum (very small school) = schedule conflicts = sometimes smaller band….(15 pc big band)
  • Not enough time to really teach fundamentals to beginning students, lot of work through home practice.
  • The quality of my ensemble has suffered since it was moved from during the school day to after school.
  • Having a curricular jazz program is absolutely essential if you’re going to perform at a high level in competitive festivals.
  • We are lucky to be able to have it at all. Dedicated kids make it work.
  • It’s great having Jazz Band everyday…we accomplish a lot musically and become very close….. like a family.
  • It is our primary curriculum for band education and is crucial that it be scheduled during the school day due to after-school activities.
  • It’s great having it in the school day! But it does take away from concert band time. With a little give and take we usually can work things out and be ready by the concerts.
  • It works just fine. Not so much fun getting to school at 6am…class is from 6:45-7:40.
  • Our students are very busy and they have many opportunities in many areas. I’m glad to have what I have, but I’d like more time.
  • The Jazz Ensemble only has time to address the notes/rhythms but not enough to learn about jazz.
  • I don’t always get my best players, because their parents need to have a schedule that allows them to bring them before school.
  • Students who cannot provide their own transportation are sometimes not able to be in Jazz Band because they can’t get to school by 7am.
  • It will allow for students to participate who were not able to do it as a class period. However, it will not meet the same performance expectations that we enjoyed when it was an academic class during the day.
  • More of a learn the style jazz band, then a learn improvisation jazz band.
  • Before school, I can get kids there for rehearsals. After school there are too many conflicts. I also believe that improvisation is the essence of jazz. If you aren’t teaching even basic improvisation, you’re not teaching jazz and you’re cheapening the experience. Improvisation should start at the middle level, when kids “don’t know what they don’t know.”
  • We meet every day, just like all other full credit classes. This gives us ample time to prepare a great deal of music (3-4 complete concerts each year).
  • Jazz Band has been a very positive addition for the students and community for the Middle School I teach in. Students are progressing far more rapidly since the addition of Jazz Band, as opposed to only rehearsing every other day for Concert Band.
  • KIDS ARE COMMITTED. Drawback is that the ineligible policy applies…

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