Jazz Ensemble: New Schedule, New Practice Hours

With the introduction of a new academic schedule this year, many extracurricular activities and groups have been reassigned to different meeting times. Jazz Ensemble, a musical group with rehearsals previously conducted from 7:00-8:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, now meets during B block, akin to an academic course. This stark schedule change raised many eyebrows from members of the ensemble.

For seniors with numerous time commitments and extracurricular activities, having Jazz Ensemble as a B block “class” holds distinct negative effects. “I liked the old schedule,” Sebastian Chang ‘18, a trombonist, said. He continued, “From a personal perspective, I think it would be nice to change the current schedule. I would have had a double early out on Tuesday and Thursday, which would be totally nice because I could get a lot of work done.” Dani Zanuttini-Frank ’18 added, “I didn’t appreciate it as much during the old time, but I enjoyed having more frees during the day. I had two less free blocks than I had expected coming into the year, which is a lot. I find, in terms of homework, I’m way more efficient during the day compared to at night. I can really feel it on the nights that I don’t have my frees. Frankly, the new schedule is less efficient for me.”

The new meeting time renders some musicians unable to participate in the orchestra. “Jazz Ensemble is being incorporated as a class whereas traditionally it has been treated as an extracurricular, which makes it tough for students who to enter the group if they take six classes or if they want to join later in the term. It’s stressful, or at times, impossible. I’ve had a friend this year who was interested in joining, but couldn’t. Joining Jazz Ensemble would be equivalent to adding another class, which wouldn’t work for his schedule.”

The new meeting time has also led to various scheduling conflicts with other classes. Zanuttini-Frank said, “There are some students who wanted to join Jazz Band and weren’t able to due to conflicts in schedules. It is a huge loss to have some students who can’t do Jazz Band because of their other classes.” He stated as an example, “In the spring, there is a music elective called Music of the 1960’s taught by Mr. [Noah] Baerman, during B block. I really want to take it, and I know a lot of other people who want to take it but can’t because of Jazz Band. So while I appreciate freedom in the evenings, the new B block meeting time has been causing headaches in scheduling.”

However, while the new Jazz Ensemble schedule serves as an inconvenience to some, it benefits other members. Chang said, “I’d like to change the schedule, but I haven’t spoken to enough people to know if a change would do more good than harm. There are a lot of compressed activities in the evening.” “I don’t know whether or not the new meeting time has freed up more people’s schedules or clogged up more schedules. I don’t have the most accurate perspective.” Zanuttini-Frank agreed, “There isn’t a general consensus or agreement. Some people like it, some people don’t like it.”

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