Jazz at Enloe
Jazz is America’s musical contribution to the world! At Enloe we offer students the opportunity to study jazz during the school day. Our study is focused on the elements that make jazz special: communication and improvisation.
While reading music is absolutely essential to our endeavors, the primary focus is on eye-to-eye and ear-to-ear communication within a small group, or combo. Students enrolled in the “Jazz Ensemble” course are divided into small combos, which rehearse independently. Interest in the class has boomed and in order to keep the combos to manageable numbers it has been necessary to divide the class into four combos.
Space only allows for two combos to rehearse each day, so we alter rehearsal days with listening days. Through their combo students learn many jazz tunes, but more importantly, they learn to communicate non-verbally in meaningful and musical ways within their combo.
In order to excel at improvisation students must learn basic music theory. Students learn to read chord symbols (Dmi 7, G7, Cmaj7) and learn how to improvise melodies based on these symbols. This requires intense individual study.
Once a certain level of study has been accomplished students are able to tryout their discoveries within their combo. When each member of the group is prepared they are able to experience synergetic rehearsals. This is what keeps them interested in jazz!