Like its string and singing counterparts, Jazz Band resumed practicing starting October 5. Virtually, students will meet for fifteen-minute, one-on-one sessions with Director Mr. Philip Giangiordano.
“In August, I talked with Mr. Hengst about how we would work this,” Mr. Giangiordano said. “And I settled on working with each person in the band on Zoom or something else.”
For about three hours every week, Mr. Giangiordano will have back-to-back meetings and comment on each individual’s performance.
“Once everybody has their parts down individually, we can have the trumpet section do a Zoom session together,” Mr. Giangiordano said. “And we can work it [the song] out with more than one person at a time.”
The effectiveness of these rehearsals is promising. More individual attention leads to a stronger performance overall, both for the ensemble and the player.
“In some ways, one-on-one sessions might be better,” Mr. Giangiordano said. “In the past, we’ve done [section practices], but now, if it’s me and you, I can listen to you play the whole thing and just comment.”
Those in the ensemble agree that time alone with Mr. Giangiordano is beneficial. Fifth Former Patrick Corcoran discussed some of the positives.
“I think it’ll be pretty helpful,” Corcoran said. “[Mr. Giangiordano] can walk us through parts, tell us how something should feel, or how fast it should be, or how loud or soft.”
Others, however, are wary that a lack of practicing together as a group will hinder progress.
“That [one-on-one sessions] is going to affect a lot,” Sixth Former Will Schaefer said. “I play based on the band, and a lot of my stuff is working with the others in the rhythm section.”
Jazz Band members are eager to get back to practicing and improving as musicians.
“Personally, I’d just like to get better at playing saxophone,” Sixth Former Decker Patterson said. “In general, I like to improve my skills as a musician, and it’s the biggest thing that can come out of [virtual practice].”
After preparing for a few months, students will come in to record their parts, and the tracks will be edited into one cohesive recording for the school to listen to.
While incomparable to a live performance, many feel the video will bring more popularity to the Jazz Band.
“There are a lot of benefits to the virtual performance,” Corcoran said. “The school could use it to market better, and, while it will be weird and new, it is much easier to watch, and more people will be able to listen.”
The pandemic has made the lives of musicians difficult since March, but the ensemble has adapted and found ways to continue playing and working together.
“I feel like the biggest part missing is being together,” Patterson said, “but I think we have a lot to look forward to the end product. With a lot of hard work, we can make it the best performance possible.”