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Perspective

November 2, 2013

This week is the 8th week of practice for the Greencastle Middle School jazz ensemble. A collection of dedicated DePauw University jazz ensemble members and I have been meeting every week at 7 AM to head over to the middle school. I have said many times throughout this process that most jazz musicians do not know there are 2 sevens on a clock.  This is early!  And quite frankly, eight weeks into an incredibly hectic semester, I am tired. So tired in fact, that I began to question my sanity about taking on a middle school jazz ensemble–not to mention one that rehearses at 7 AM.

And then, two things that make it all okay.

Rose, a middle school trombone player, comes up to me after the Tuesday morning rehearsal and says “Thank you so much for doing this. I really love this.” Okay. Sign me up for another rehearsal.

Then, in the next rehearsal, I watch three university jazz musicians run really brilliant rehearsals. We’ve added a university bass player and suddenly everything is different. The middle school kids are really playing well and are genuinely excited about this opportunity to play this style of music in a middle school. The college folks are also obviously enjoying the high level of playing and the success of their efforts. Something is coming together. And we all feel it.

We come to the school in the morning before the sun is even up. We walk into the building in the dark. Lately we’ve even come out of the building in the dark, but today, somehow, it is all worthwhile. A single comment and a good rehearsal can put it all in perspective.

This is all a part of 21CM. The new 21st-century Musician initiative and mission of the DePauw University School of Music. Is it typical? No. Is it easy? No. Is it great? Yes.

Middle school students and university students, you are truly a class act. Thanks for brightening my day.

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