The Santa Monica High School
About the Samohi Jazz Bands
Jazz Bands Syllabus
Course Objectives/Outcomes (See Course Outline of Record and Student Learning Outcomes for Your Department):
DATE OF FINAL EXAM: TBD
STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
Alternative Sample – Extra Credit
Piano and Guitar
Support Jazz Education!
The bands play at least three concerts and two jazz festivals plus public performances in the community by the jazz combo each year. Click here for a calendar of scheduled performances at jazz festivals and events in the community.
The Samohi Jazz Band class promotes cultural awareness and dialogue because of the rich history of jazz as a true American art form and as a part of the class, students discuss how jazz developed as a result of European harmonies and African rhythms.
Students are expected to be responsible for practicing their music, attending after school rehearsals and performances and presenting to the class about a favorite jazz musician or composer and be able to explain why they chose that artist. Creativity is all about jazz and improvisation. Students are taught that improvising is like composing on the spot! In the class, the students are taught many different ways to approach improvisation. Students are exposed to articles on all aspects of jazz and contemporary music and they are provided with a play along cd to practice with as well as regular visits from guest clinicians.
Students who have participated in the Samohi jazz band are motivated to succeed in all their academic classes, because they are motivated to be in school, they believe in themselves and they are proud of their accomplishments. Many of the students thought that they wouldn’t be able to learn how to play jazz because they’re experience had only been in the classical music realm, but they soon learned that they can do both well and that it is a blessing for students to be exposed to a well rounded music curriculum.
The Samohi Jazz band has and will continue to play at numerous events on campus and in the community. For example, after the Katrina hurricane disaster, the jazz band performed at a student fundraiser on campus to help the victims of the disaster and the Samohi jazz band and combo has also performed at the “Walk Now For Autism” event at the Pasadena Rose Bowl. In addition, the jazz band has helped the concert band at Samohi by encouraging students who play flute or clarinet, to learn either alto, tenor or baritone saxophone as well so they can broaden their skill sets and become “doublers”.
Santa Monica High School Jazz Band
Mondays and Wednesdays from 3:30-5:30
Instructor: Tom Whaley
Office Number: 310-450-8338 ext. 70287
Office Location: Santa Monica High School band room
Office Hours: By Appointment
Participation in the Jazz Ensemble gives students the opportunity to rehearse and perform both new and established works in the repertory of the genre. Students are also exposed to techniques of jazz improvisation, jazz style characteristics, and elements of jazz formal structure. There will be a minimum of three public concerts throughout the year and one of the concerts will feature a prominent jazz composer/performer. This course is open by audition only. This course is a dual enrollment course between Santa Monica College and Santa Monica High School. Only students who are already enrolled in a Santa Monica High School music class during the day are eligible to enroll in M78.
Course Objectives/Outcomes (See Course Outline of Record and Student Learning Outcomes for Your Department): The learning goals for M78 include the understanding of current and professionally accepted instruction in jazz performance and pedagogy using the medium of the "Big Band. Instruction focuses on the fundamentals of jazz style, intonation, articulation, technique development, elements of overall musicality, exposure to jazz ensemble literature in the standard repertory.
Students will demonstrate proper standards of rehearsal etiquette, learn to improvise or improve their ability to do so and successfully complete scheduled concerts and festivals throughout each semester.
Course Materials: There is no required textbook for this course. Recordings and/or other information may be made available to students through the Music Library or the instructor. Students will need an instrument and if they do not, an instrument can be provided by the Santa Monica High School music department in most cases. When appropriate, students are responsible for disposing of educational/fair use copies immediately after their temporary use for rehearsals.
Your grade will be based on the following scores:
460-600 points = A Excellent
420-459 points = B Good
380-419 points = C Satisfactory
340-379 points = D Poor
Below 340 points = F Failing
Total Possible Points:
Unexcused absences after the first one will result in a drop of 1 letter grade per absence. Lateness to rehearsals will be reflected in the rehearsal grade. An unexcused absence to a dress rehearsal or concert will result in a failing grade for the semester.
We each have roles that will facilitate your understanding of the course material. My role is to aid you by demonstrating and discussing the various methods of improvisation, articulation, phrasing and dynamics.
Your role is to come to the class prepared. Students are expected to come to class equipped (instrument, music and a pencil for every rehearsal). Preparation for rehearsals, successful participation in concerts and other performances, and improvement over the course of study is extremely important in terms of success in this class. Failure to adequately prepare, or other failure to meet the expectations listed above or addressed by the instructor will result in deductions from the lesson grade.
Students are encouraged to ask questions. The only wrong question is an unasked question; if asking that question would have improved your understanding. I will attempt to answer all student questions during the rehearsal except when it is apparent that the student has not been paying attention. I am also available during office hours, via telephone, e-mail and by appointment.
Students are expected to come to class on time, set up their chair, stand and begin warming up on their instrument. Once class has started, students must avoid any necessary conversation and raise their hand to express a concern, use the restroom or ask a question. No gum, food or drinks other than bottled water will be permitted in the band room. Students will also be expected to use good playing posture throughout the length of class. TURN OFF CELLULAR PHONES, TEXT MESSENGERS, ETC. UPON ENTERING CLASS!!!
At the end of class, students will put their instruments/equipment away and leave the classroom after all music and equipment has been put away.
Currently Scheduled Recitals/Concerts:
2016-2017 Samohi Jazz Ensemble Performance Dates
• To be announced
As with any course, it is crucial that you do not miss any classes! Subject matter covered in the book and in lectures may appear on quizzes and tests. If you are late or absent, you are responsible for submitting homework before the assigned deadline and for keeping abreast of lecture topics. Excessive tardies or unexcused absences may result in a lower grade and/or being dropped from the class. In addition, participation in concerts and festivals withdrawn if a student has more than 3 unexcused tardies/absences, as missed rehearsal time negatively affects the other members of the ensemble as they work to prepare music for a performance.
Students are responsible for withdrawing from a class and must not expect faculty to initiate withdrawal procedures for them.
I am happy to make academic adjustments for students with documented disabilities. Please contact the Center for Students with Disabilities if this applies to you. The Center for Students with Disabilities is located in Room 101 of the Admissions/Student Services Complex, located on the north side of Main campus, next to Admissions. For more information, call (310) 434-4265 or (310) 434-4273 (TDD)
Samohi Jazz Band Audition Information
All new and returning Jazz Musicians must audition in the Fall for placement in the Jazz Bands
All jazz musicians will be asked to prepare a short jazz solo or demonstrate a jazz standard like: Take the A Train, Have You Met Miss Jones?, Girl From Ipanema, There Will Never Be Another You. Students can learn and practice jazz standards by working with the Jamey Abersold Jazz Standard Play Along series of albums found online or in stores.
The Samohi Jazz band program would not be possible
if not for the generous support of the following:
Santa Monica College
The Ella Fitzgerald Foundation
The Flourish Foundation
If you’d like to contribute to the Samohi Jazz Bands, a check can be made out to:
“SMAPA – Samohi Bands.” (Santa Monica Arts Parents Association).
Please write “Jazz Band” in the memo of the check
so the funds will be directed to the Jazz Program at Samohi.
The Samohi Jazz band’s numerous achievements include placing first in 2011 at the largest high school jazz festival in the world, the Berklee College of Music Jazz Festival in Boston. The big band and combo placed first in the highest division at the festival and Steven Gordon- piano and Jake Noveck- guitar, were chosen as the two most outstanding soloists of the festival.
Click Here for Berklee Festival Performance Video and Interview with Tom Whaley
The Samohi Jazz bands won numerous other festivals including: The Western States Jazz Festival and Super Jazz Festival. In addition, the band performed at some of the most prominent jazz clubs in Los Angeles including the Jazz Bakery and the Catalina Bar and Grill.
Past guest artists have included: Gordon Goodwin, Eric Merienthal, Lee Thornberg, Bob Mintzer, Doug Webb, Wayne Bergeron and Steve Reid. Select students from the jazz band were also featured in concerts with Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Heart, Dave Mason and Billy Idol to raise money for arts education in the Santa Monica-Malibu district.
Wade Thomas created/organized the first jazz band at Santa Monica High School - in 1937. They were known for many years at the Samohi Serenaders.