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I Am Excited!

I am excited

I have a six month old and my oldest daughter just started kindergarten. I'll be on the other side of the table for parent/teacher conferences starting tomorrow night. My wife and I share ideas and stories about music and students. I am fortunate. I am excited.

Wind Ensemble has worked so hard to earn this level of performance and has worked just as hard to prepare 40 minutes of challenging repertoire in six weeks. At the first Wednesday night rehearsal I shared with them that I was nervous. Not about their performance, but about not everyone showing up to rehearse. They were there with bells on and it was touching to see the dedication. I am excited for them to share their music and ideas with other music educators around the state that can share with tens of thousands of music students. The scope of what they will do next week is grand and yet, it is just us making music together on stage. We all have each other so there is no pressure, just joy. I live on stage and enjoy that so the parts I get nervous about are parking, equipment malfunction, traffic, etc. Once I am on stage with my colleagues, I am home. I am excited.

The United States Navy Band reached out to US from Washington D.C. and is doing a full day and night residency at JMM on Tuesday. Both JMM concert bands (and any other band students that talk their teachers into it periods 1 and 2) will receive a quintet performance and clinic, the whole school is invited to hear the Navy rock band period 4, the Navy Band conductor clinics our Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble that afternoon and then our Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band share the stage with the Navy Band at JMM that night.

Navy Band will then play at WMEA conference Wednesday night and we play Thursday morning, so technically they are opening for us :) I cannot wait for them to share their musicianship, experience, and music career possibilities with our students.

I am excited.

Six of our JMM Wind Ensemble students are performing with the WSMA State Honors Band and Orchestra Oct 26. They have worked towards this honor and totally deserve it. I look forward to supporting them from the audience at Overture, trying to maintain composure as I am overcome with pride for them. I am excited.

As I leave that evening event, I will transition back to the Monona Terrace where I am being inducted into the Phi Beta Mu International Bandmasters fraternity by my junior high band director. Ray Dvorak, Mike Leckrone, Mike George, Rick Kirby, and Richard Fellenz are all part of this organization. I look forward to accepting on behalf of all the students whose musicianship has put our school on the map. I am excited.

Ms. Jaeger and I have been asked to coach the WSMA Middle Level State Honors Band next Friday and Saturday. We have also been hired to clinic the Cardinal Heights bands this Friday in Sun Prairie. I look forward to collaborating musically with our colleagues across town and sharing my JMM experience with those musicians and educators. I am excited.

Three of our Wind Ensemble students, Brian Nelson, Julia Mann, and Neah Hinterberg, went on network television Channel 57 yesterday and spoke eloquently about the deep learning that has come about from the current repertoire and the preparations for the state conference. I am excited.

Thursday of this week, Andrew Ravenscroft from the Isle of Mann will deepen the learning on "Mannin Veen" for our Wind Ensemble students.

Friday, composer Larry C. Clark will skype with Concert Band II about their piece "Morning Madness" to let them know inspiration for the piece, what it's like being a composer, etc.

Both Concert Band II and Symphonic Band have also asked me to share some of my compositions with them. I am excited.

Last Sunday, I performed with my band and opened for a band name "Third Eye Blind" who had 4 radio hits when I was a teenager. We are headed to the recording studio again in three weeks for our 17th recorded release. I've performed over 1200 times in 6 countries on 4 different instruments. 1100 of those performances have been with the same 2 other people that I've been making music with since my teens. When you find people you enjoy making music with, you hold onto that. I am excited.

-Ben Jaeger

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