Junior High Band
Jazz Band Tips

Give Jazz Band Grades

There was no jazz band at the junior high when I got there. I was told the only way to have one was through the community education program. The students paid a minimal fee and there were no grades or credit given. We tried that for a year. It was held before school. It did not work. Without grades and credit it was too easy for the students to sleep in and come late or just not come. The following year the principal let me teach the early-morning period as part of my contract.

Having membership in another band as a prerequisite for jazz band strengthened both bands. The requirement was justified because the rehearsal schedule did not give us time to have playing tests, and so forth, in jazz band.

Attendance was 30% of the grade. An absence could be made up by being present at the next four rehearsals. Punctuality was 30% of the grade. A tardy could be made up by being on time to the next four rehearsals. Students kept track of their attendance and make-up work on a Jazz Band Report Form (See Jazz Band Report Form)

The rest of the grade was concert attendance (10%), written work (10%), and the student’s other band grade (20%). Extra credit could be earned by auditioning for a solo, or doing any other Jazz-related activity.

The grade scale was even more lenient than the concert-band grade scale:

91-100 = A
  81-90 = A-
  71-80 = B+
  61-70 = B
  51-60 = B-
  41-50 = C+
  31-40 = C
  21-30 = C-
  16-20 = D+
  11-15 = D
    6-10 = D-
      0-5 = F

Video Disclaimer

The attached videos are not perfect examples of how each tune should be played. They are recordings of junior high students, some of whom have had their instruments for only a few months. Also, they are not professional recordings. They were taken by band parents using home equipment and naturally focusing on their own children.

I include them for two reasons: (1) To give you an idea of what the arrangements are like, and (2) To illustrate the kind of performance you can expect from your junior high students.