On Feb. 13, students from Logan High School competed in the Central Ohio District 15 Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated event, held at Pickerington North High School.
Solo and ensemble events allow soloists and small groups the opportunity to perform for a qualified adjudicator, who will observe the performance and provide feedback and comments for improvement.
“It helps them grow musically,” said Pam Price, assistant director of bands at Logan High School. “They just get more independent as far as reading music and learning music and they’re challenged much more than just by playing in a large group.”
The students committed to solo and ensemble at the end of marching season, and the students began rehearsing right around Thanksgiving. The students practiced on their own time, coming together once per week after school with a director to rehearse. Price shared that practicing only once per week can be a challenge, especially given the weather.
The students are assigned a piece by the directors based on their skill level from a list of approved songs established by the Ohio Music Education Association. In addition to playing a full piece, soloists are required to play a scale, or in the case of percussionists, to demonstrate basic rudiments, or techniques. Ensembles are not required to perform scales or rudiments.
Approximately 60 students signed up to participate in the voluntary activity, which according to Price is a fairly typical number for Logan High School, which boasts a full band of roughly 144 students.
Senior Lainie Nakanishi has participated in solo and ensemble all four years of her high school career.
“It’s fun and you get to meet new people,” said Nakanishi. “You get to play different pieces every year and expand your horizons with the music.”
Nakanishi shared that her experiences in Solo and Ensemble have made her a better performer, and though she is very sad that this was her last year she is looking forward to graduating.
Jessica McLin, a junior, made her third appearance at solo and ensemble, and shared that the adjudicated performance is much different than performing with the entire band.
“It’s a lot more exposed,” said McLin. “You have to really know your part because only a couple of people have it, so it’s harder. It’s interesting.”
McLin said that practicing for solo and ensemble made her much more focused on reading her part and knowing her music, forcing her to really pay attention to what is on the page. She said they really have very little time to practice for the event, and so she had to learn faster.
All three performers shared that the experiences is a wonderful one, and believe that it is one that would help any band member become a better musician.
Performances are assigned a rating based on the competency of the performers. A score of poor means that the performance lacked the most basic skills and that attention should be given to the fundamentals prior to the next performance.
A fair rating means that it was a poor performance that showed poor music conception, incomplete instrumentation, technical errors, and a lack of many other essential qualities.
A good rating signifies an acceptable performance that shows promise, but was overall not outstanding and lacked one or more essential qualities.
An excellent rating indicates that while the performance was very good, it is not quite worthy of the highest rating because of minor errors.
The superior rating is reserved only for truly outstanding performances, and indicates that the piece was executed with very few technical errors and showed a truly musical expression.
In all, the performers from Logan High School represented themselves and the district extremely well, earning three excellent ratings and 10 superior ratings.
“Obviously this is a strong reflection on the quality of instruction that we have in the band department,” said Logan High School Principal Jim Robinson. “It’s also obviously a tribute to the talent of the students and their dedication to their craft. You don’t get ratings like that without a lot of extra time, effort and dedication.”