Today a local music teacher announced that his high school’s administration plans to cut the jazz band class because it has fewer than 30 students. The teacher wrote a great letter requesting that the administration reconsider. I’d like to list his reasons along with my own here.
1. Jazz bands (“big bands”) are traditionally around 20 members. Jazz music is arranged for this specific instrumentation.
2. Most high schools fund a jazz class this size.
3. Not having a jazz program effectively prohibits students from majoring in jazz performance at college.
4. Jazz is THE American art form.
5. Jazz theory is complex and requires a highly qualified instructor. Club status would be severely limiting.
6. A jazz class sinking even below 20 students for a while is not an acceptable reason to cancel the class.
7. School jazz bands provide entertainment at school functions and community events.
8. Playing at community events brings positive attention to the school.
If I had a child planning on a career in music (I do) and they were zoned for a high school without a jazz class (they aren’t) I would, without a doubt, transfer them. Please keep jazz in your school!