Can you gig it

Jazz students advance from TMEA regionals


Submitted by Noah Levine

In his studio, Levine practices a song with his acoustic guitar

Riley Stinson, Social Media

With COVID-19 coming into play, our band’s TMEA (Texas Music Educators Association) All-State Jazz Auditions look a little different this year. The Regional meet was virtual for the first time ever, but senior Noah Levine and junior Eric Parmelee still put in their all resulting in their advancement to state.

If it was a normal year, we would go into a room with everyone auditioning and play a live audition for a panel of judges,” Parmelee said. “Then the judges rank you and give you results right after the audition is over. If you advance to the area round then they schedule a recording session and you would go into an auditorium and record your etudes with only one take as you are being professionally recorded at this stage of the audition.”

For the audition, students have to prepare a three page-long jazz excerpt and perform an improvisation section backed by pre-made recording for roughly a minute. After submission, TMEA then uploads audition results to their website about a week later.

Last year, the audition was held in one room where you had to play for all the judges as well as the other people auditioning for the spot,” Levine said. “So it being virtual submissions made the process a lot less nerve-racking.”

After advancing, Levine and Parmelee will head to state. Meaning that the competition is now between all the auditionees from Texas, putting more pressure on their next audition. Submitting another addition means they would have to take a new recording and the improvisation sections would be more challenging and longer.

“Preparing for the state audition is a lot more of the little nitty gritty work and ironing out small musical issues while adding little things to help make you stand out from everyone else auditioning,” Parmelee said. “At the state level you are competing with everyone in Texas and you are ranked accordingly.”

With both Levine and Parmelee playing an assortment of other instruments, music has played a role in their high school careers greatly, so a Regional win came with great praise.

“I was very excited,” Levine said. “Both Eric and I have worked very hard for a while in preparation for this music, and results reflected that for the both of us.”