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The STEMs of Jazz in Hastings, Nebraska

This week, Hastings Middle Schoolers discovered the inner workings of what makes Jazz music tick!


And a good time was had by all.

Team 1 and Team 2 BOTH succeed at identifying the AABA form of a swingin' Christmas song :-)

Music is...

Through active listening and practice, students discovered the many structures of jazz standards and how

  • Music is Math

  • Music is Architecture

  • The 3-C's of good music making

    • Communication

    • Concentration/Focus

    • Cooperation

And above all, that Music is... FUN!

Team 2 confers to figure out the form of the next tune...

A few extra questions from eager young musicians after class...

Closing Concert Jamboree

Baptism by fire

After just a few short days of rehearsal and preparation, the school's 3 choir groups joined Keri on stage to sing a couple of tailor made compositions — "Dues du Blues" and the "Sol-Fa Blues"— Giving them a taste, in real time, of the freedom and flexibility that comes with understanding "The Architecture of Jazz" (aka form and structure).



The big finish - bringing all 3 groups together for a little counter melody action!

A few brave souls dared to step up and improvise! It wasn't this week's subject, but many of them still remembered what they'd learned from the Scat Cat Sessions in their Elementary School days!

Special thanks to Rick Matticks (drums), Byron Jensen (bass) and Ben Howie (hiding behind the piano) for giving the kids a taste of how good jazz musicians can pull it together with minimal rehearsal.


The Team that makes the Dream

And EXTRA extra special thanks to the dynamic duo of full-time music educators that continue to inspire and enlighten these kids on a daily basis — Lacey Franzen & Drew Pennington — and to accompanist Mary Plonk (who also took all of these wonderful photos for us!).


Left to right - Lacy Franzen, Keri Chryst and Drew Pennington.

Keri & Mary Plonk (piano, photos, and lunch! Merci!)

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