Instrumental Jazz Ensemble


    Dear Parents/Guardians and Students,

    Welcome to the Miller Place High School Jazz Ensemble! I offer you my sincere congratulations on your acceptance into the ensemble and look forward to a productive and successful year. My goal every year is to continue the fine jazz tradition that Miller Place High School is renowned for.  We have always been fortunate to be able to provide the students plenty of playing opportunities which expands their knowledge and even in these changed times I will do my best to offer a wide range. We will begin by exploring a full range of genres both in the standard, and more contemporary styles. Additional topics will include but, not be limited to, their role in the ensemble, modes, changes, composers and the history of jazz.

    As everyone in the group is aware, jazz is not only about playing in a section, but being comfortable in the art of improvising. We will continue to improve upon the skills learned during your previous years of instrumental playing.   The goal is to teach everyone in the group the skills necessary to playing an improvised solo comfortably.   In addition, we will be discussing the importance of being a strong sectional player. The students will continue to learn a variety of scales which will aid in their improvisational skills and will explore a variety of techniques on their instruments.   Small combo playing will be featured throughout the year and I know that this experience will allow the students to grow as independent jazz musicians.

    In the past an expansion of the Instrumental Jazz curriculum has included guest artists that work with our students on improving both their sectional playing and improvisational skills. These opportunities will be pursued as the situation permits.  

    Grades for this class are based on participation, preparedness, punctuality, and attendance at both lessons and rehearsals. 50% of the quarterly grade is based on rehearsals with lessons and written work 25% each.   Lessons will be offered throughout the year with a minimum of three per quarter.  The lessons will be rotated through periods one, three, five, seven, eight and ninth.  A schedule of lessons will be provided in the coming weeks. 

     Students are required to have their chrome book, music and a pencil at all rehearsals, in addition to any necessary components of their individual instrument (valve oil, reeds, etc.). Failure to comply with either of these requirements will result in a reduction of their quarterly grade. 

    Mandatory Performances already scheduled with others to be added as the year progresses.

    Pop/Jazz Concert Thursday, December 8, 2022, 7:30PM

    SCMEA Day of Jazz Saturday, February 4, 2023, Time TBD

    MPHS Jazz Night Thursday, April 27, 2023, 7:30PM

    Pop Outdoor Concert Tuesday, June 6, 2023


    NYSSMA Jazz Festival Friday, April 21, 2023-Saturday, April 22, 2023, Sachem School District


      I am excited to see what the year brings and welcome the opportunity to work with all of you!

    Note to Percussionists:

    All percussionists are required to have the following:

      • Your own stick bag
      • Drumsticks
      • Brushes



     MPHS Jazz Combo




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