Jazz Band

Jazz Band

The Phoenix Jazz Club is a program centered around the formation of a jazz big band, and encompasses every aspect of a well-rounded jazz education while covering concepts of history, improvisation, and music theory. The Phoenix Jazz Club meets regularly from 2:30-4:00 PM on Tuesday and Thursday, and is designed for students with one or more years of prior music experience.

From a national standards perspective, a jazz education program like the Phoenix Jazz Club covers each of the nine standards presented by the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME). From reading and notating music, to improvising melodies, to understanding music in relation to history and culture, jazz music provides the opportunity to not only cover, but extend and explore beyond the district, state, and national standards of music education.

Jazz is an American art form born out of, and evolved through the African American experience in the United States. The music was developed on the backs of the historically underrepresented, crossing cultural and racial boundaries while ultimately contributing to the equities and freedoms we experience today. This is the greatest lesson that jazz music can teach: the ability to collaborate and contribute within a diverse group of voices to produce something greater than any one person can create alone. The students at Sequoyah come from all walks of life, and each scholar has a unique story to share. Jazz music provides these scholars an opportunity to share their story through improvised music, all while learning from others, and contributing to something greater than themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

When are rehearsals?

Jazz ensemble will rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday from 2:35 to 4:00. Changes to this rehearsal schedule will be communicated with students and families.

Is attendance required?

Yes. Though jazz ensemble is technically an extra-curricular activity, it will be treated as if it were a regularly scheduled academic course. Most jazz ensemble members will be the only musician playing their part. For this reason, attendance is crucial. Failure to attend a rehearsal or performance without a pre-arranged excused absence may result in dismissal from the jazz ensemble.

Do I have to audition?

Jazz ensemble is open to all students who have been performing on their instrument for at least one year. The jazz ensemble is the premier performing group at Sequoyah. For this reason, students who wish to perform in the jazz ensemble must demonstrate technical skill on their instrument, music reading ability, a high level of commitment and responsibility, and the ability to work within an ensemble effectively. Students must demonstrate a high level of personal discipline and responsibility. Students are expected to practice regularly outside of rehearsal, and come to rehearsal prepared to play music at a high level. Failure to demonstrate these expectations may result in dismissal from the jazz ensemble.

How often will we perform?

The jazz ensemble serves as the “face” of our program, performing regularly throughout the year. The jazz ensemble will perform at three band concerts, two jazz festivals, and several other performances as opportunities arise. Families will be given no less than 3 weeks notice prior to any unscheduled performances. To be a member of the jazz ensemble, students must be available to perform at the Federal Way Jazz Festival on Saturday, December 8th. This is an all-day event, and families must provide transportation to and from Federal Way High School.

Can I participate in after-school sports/clubs and jazz ensemble?

Students are encouraged to participate in both after-school athletics and jazz ensemble. Students participating in after-school sports will be excused from practices on Tuesday and Thursday from 2:30-3:50. At 3:50, student-athletes will attend the remaining portion of practice. Students will be excused from jazz ensemble rehearsal on game days, but are expected to make up lost rehearsal time with at-home practice. Students participating in athletics and jazz ensemble are expected to give 100% to both activities. Students may not perform in jazz ensemble and participate in a club that conflicts with jazz ensemble rehearsals.

Is there a bus?

Yes, students without a ride home may utilize the FWPS activity bus. The activity bus will depart from Sequoyah Middle School at approximately 4:05 pm.

What instruments are in the jazz ensemble?

While our instrumentation is somewhat flexible, our ideal jazz ensemble will include 5-7 saxophones, 4-6 trombones, 4-6 trumpets, bass, piano, drum set, and jazz guitar. The band can also include 1-2 clarinets, 1-2 flutes, and baritone. Students who do not play these instruments are encouraged to learn a jazz ensemble instruments and join later in the year.