The NPHS Jazz program has two Jazz Bands (Jazz I and Jazz II) as well as one or more combos, depending on student interest and availability.
Jazz I is a more advanced group for students with more experience and ability to play Jazz. The focus of the group is to play more challenging repertoire as well as developing improvisation skills. This class meets during 0 period every day (7:15-8:20). Auditions for Jazz I will happen in August each year, the week before school starts.
Jazz II is for less experienced musicians and provides a great opportunity to learn how to play in the contemporary big band style as well as gain experience improvising. There is no audition to be in this group, other than you need the fundamental ability to read music and play the saxophone, trumpet, trombone, piano, bass, drums, or guitar. This group meets from 2:35-3:45, Tues-Thur starting right after Winter Break.
Both groups travel during the spring to local and regional jazz festivals and get an opportunity to compete with other schools of similar ability. Outside of competitions, either group may also have local performances at community events or school concerts as they become available.
Fun Things To Check Out
10 Minute Jazz Lesson Podcast – Nick Mainella has put together a terrific video course on playing the blues that I highly recommend for individual study. This video course costs less than a private lesson and has 8 weeks of videos with pdfs and other supplemental materials that will walk you through the jazz theory of more sophisticated blues playing. Check it out!!
Jazz Education Resources
Check out some of the links below for inspiration or helpful resources to help you learn to improvise!
Bebop Boot Camp – This is a terrific resource for ANYBODY to start learning how to improvise. It is a subscription website, but the instruction and method are exceptional. Highly recommended!!
Improv Pathways YouTube Channel– Simple play along, call and response improve lessons that start easy and get fairly advanced. This is a great resource for anyone that would like to learn how to improvise.
Purchase companion book here
Jazz Everyone – A subscription based website with a whole series of sequential lessons that will take you from absolute beginner to master improviser.