The Jazz Lab Band is one of the many classes music and non-music majors can take to expand their skills and experience.
The Jazz Lab Band is a large jazz ensemble open by audition to all students focusing on jazz fundamentals, with a particular emphasis on swing styles, according to the BYU-Idaho course catalog.
Steven Hendricks, a visiting professor in music education, leads the Jazz Lab Band. He also teaches Marching Band Methods, Basic Conducting, University Band and band practicum courses.
Hendricks said he focuses on jazz standards and Christmas music in class in preparation for the concert since there is only one every semester.
“We are doing a little cool arrangement of The Little Drummer Boy and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” Hendricks said.
He also said he mostly focuses on the sound. Tone quality, intonation, improv solos, style and balancing of the band are keys factors in making the performance sound its best.
“When we get beyond that, making great music that touches your heart,” Hendricks said. “Helping the students really grasp that music is about making something beautiful and it is their job to do it.”
The majority of the class aspires to reach these goals as well. The common goal is to sound like a well-rehearsed ensemble.
Daniel Black, a freshman studying mechanical engineering and a trumpet player in the band, said he wants to improve his playing by working on difficult rhythms and blending together as a band.
“I think just being more cohesive of working together with the section and listening to the whole band while I played has helped me improve,” Black said. “I always want to improve on my playing as well.”
Jennifer Hartley, a freshman studying music education composite who plays the baritone saxophone in the band, said the hardest part about the class had to be getting her skill level to where it needs to be.
“There is a lot of mixed talent in this class, and it was just awesome for me to have that challenge to improve my skill,” Hartley said.
Black participates in the ensemble because he loves music. He used to play in high school and decided to pick it up again after his mission.
“It is a fun class,” Black said. “I want to play as a hobby. I enjoy it.”
Hartley said she loves jazz band and can listen to jazz all day.
“Right now, we have a lot of really cool swing tunes,” Hartley said. “We are playing a classic piece called Grove Merchant. That is just one of my favorite pieces to play. It has got an awesome saxophone soli and cool solo opportunities.”
Hartley said a soli is when the whole section, such as a saxophone section, will play a solo in unison. Many songs will feature each section as a whole.
Hartley’s favorite part of the class is the environment and the ensemble she participates in. She has made many friends and has fun learning how to play music with everyone.
“We are all just a bunch of goofballs that come together and play really fun music,” Hartley said. “We have lots of fun together.”
The concert will be held on Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Snow Center in room 181.