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School of Music recognized for Jazz program

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Texas A&M University-Kingsville is listed among other top-rated schools when it comes to music.

Downbeat magazine, a music publication devoted to Jazz, included the School of Music in its Student Music Guide: Where to Study Jazz 2021.

The university is the only Bachelor of Music degree in Performance with an Emphasis in Jazz Studies in South Texas, south of San Antonio.

“Many high schools in South Texas have jazz programs to include big bands and combos,” said Dr. Paul Hageman, Regents Professor and Director of the School of Music.  “It is more typical to find these programs at the larger schools but, some smaller schools also have excellent programs.”

Hageman said interest in jazz music has grown significantly over the past 30 years. Two main events that reflect that include the Texas Jazz Festival, a three-day event held each October, and the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Annual Jazz Festival. Hageman said the university’s event, now in its 53rd year, has grown significantly in the number of schools that participate. 

“In the last few years, we have had 35 to 40 high school and middle school jazz bands in attendance at our festival.  And a point of which we are very proud is that more than half of the school jazz bands that participate in our festival are directed by alumni of our jazz music program,” Hageman said. “The popularity of jazz music in South Texas prompted us to develop our jazz emphasis degree program, and we currently have several students enrolled as jazz emphasis majors." 

Hageman said Jazz is very popular with many of the music majors as the School of Music has now grown to having four big bands, two combos and a Latin Jazz Ensemble.

The School of Music has jazz music faculty who teach all of the typical instruments taught in jazz studies: Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Jazz Piano, Jazz Guitar, Jazz Bass, and Drums. 

The program has been honored three times by DownBeat magazine for outstanding performances in 2004, 2010, and 2020.  Jazz Band I has performed at the annual Texas Music Education Association convention five times in the last 25 years. The school now has its own state-of-the-art jazz rehearsal hall and a recording studio. 

“The quality of our jazz students, the jazz music professors, the jazz festival, and our jazz ensembles has continued to grow and evolve, and all of those components have attracted and continue to attract some of the finest jazz students in all of South Texas.”

 

Category: General Univ , Arts/Sciences

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