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MMS Hosts Professional Jazz Artist for Master Class and Jam Session

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On May 14, professional jazz artist Benny Benack visited Mineola Middle School for a jazz workshop and performance with middle and high school Jazz Band and Big Band ensembles.

Each group participated in a Master Class with Mr. Benack, performing their prepared pieces for him, including classic compositions from Charlie Parker, Charles Trenet and Irving Berlin. Each group received guidance and feedback that will help them move to a higher level of excellence.

Following the workshops, the three groups joined together on-stage with Mr. Benack for a jam session over a blues standard titled "Bag's Groove" by Milt Jackson. This large-scale improvisation allowed students at an individual and group level to be creative and spontaneous in their music making, while Mr. Benack was able to give tips and tricks to taking their improv to new and creative levels.

"Improvisation is an aspect of jazz that demands vulnerability as you create something new and spontaneous,” remarked Mineola Middle School Band Director Zach St. John. “Benny did an incredible job creating a space that allowed for creativity and support so our students were confident in their risk taking. A skill that every musician needs to learn, especially in the genre of jazz!"

Date Added: 6/3/2024