Jazzy Hands for Jazz Band

Mya Petchark

Jazz Ensemble is a class where all woodwind, brass, piano, guitar, bass guitar, and percussion instruments are welcome. Students learn the language, skills, habits, and techniques for music through participation. They learn from their mistakes and they learn how to perform as a team. Jazz Ensemble is a riveting class that teaches the fundamentals needed to survive in the music world.

Sophomore Nathaniel Austin Mathley, a tenor saxophone player, is one of the students in jazz band.

“It’s hard to find a thing that I don’t enjoy about jazz band,” Nathaniel replies when asked what he enjoys about jazz band, “I love pretty much all of it. The work can be pretty demanding sometimes, but it’s very rewarding in the end.”

Their hard work pays off in the end; they always sound fantastic when they play at the concerts.

Mr. Fioravanti is the Jazz Band teacher. When asked what he enjoys about his Jazz Band class, he answered, “I enjoy the level of performance that these high school students are able to achieve and the intellectual level where I can talk about things I’d talk about with professionals.”

Jazz band teaches a lot of skills.

To the question about what important skills they take away from Mr. Fioravanti’s teaching, Nathaniel replies, “Well, obviously how to practice and work at something. But I have also gained experience with deadlines and work standards. If something isn’t good enough, you get reprimanded for it by the whole group and not just the teacher. If one of us fails to represent their part then we all sound unsatisfactory,”

This class helps one understand the meaning of getting work done on time and not procrastinating.

“They are taking away three main facets: greater appreciation for music, specifically jazz, through participation or performance, a greater understanding of work ethic, and the ability to work as a team to accomplish a specific goal,” Mr. Fioravanti replied when questioned about what skills his students are taking away from his class.

Appreciation for music is crucial when participating in a musical performance and teamwork skills because the band needs to know what they are doing and how to focus on their task together. But, they don’t have to worry when they have Mr. Fioravanti to teach them the ropes.

However, the jazz band program is not perfect. It has room for improvement.

When asked what he would change about jazz band if he could, Mr. Fioravanti said, “I would like to see them start earlier in their music career. It would be great if Clark Lane were able to bring back having a jazz band. The earlier they are exposed to it, the more advanced they will be when they get here.”

While our jazz band is awesome, we could increase their potential as a high school jazz band by starting them earlier into the jazz world.

When asked what he would improve about jazz band if he could improve anything, Nathaniel said, “We could stand to take more field trips or do pieces with the other ensembles.”

Taking what Nathaniel has said into consideration, more field trips to hear other bands play could help enhance their appreciation for music. Also, playing with the other ensembles, like orchestra, would improve their ability to play with other instruments in the compositions and working together in bigger groups.

Although jazz band could use some improvements, overall, it’s a great class that teaches cooperation skills and music skills. This is a  class of exceptional class of potential talent and riveting music performances.