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The Orchestra Swings

“Swing” is many things. It’s a distinctive rhythmic feel; a musical era dominated by big band jazz; a style of dance that grew alongside the music; and that elusive but unmistakable feeling that results when musicians are deeply tuned into each other and playing in sync, or “in the pocket.” Though swing is characteristic of jazz, an orchestra can also swing. Through the Link Up repertoire, hands-on activities, and a culminating interactive performance with an orchestra and jazz ensemble, we will explore the elements that contribute to that magical moment when the orchestra starts to swing.

Concert Repertoire

Repertoire Explorations

Learn fundamental concepts of music and engage in creative activities through a deeper exploration of the ideas and themes of the Link Up repertoire.

What is Swing?

Learn about the beginnings of swing as a style of jazz music and discover how other genres can also feel what it means to swing.

The Orchestra Swings with Rhythm

How do musicians create swing using rhythm? Students explore the fundamentals of swing rhythm in “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “I Got Rhythm” and create their own rhythm section.

The Orchestra Swings with Form

How does form help musicians swing? Students establish an understanding of form and explore A-A-B-A form in “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and 12-bar blues form in “Duke’s Place.”

The Orchestra Swings with Improvisation

How do musicians use solo improvisation to swing? Students learn to improvise solos on “Duke’s Place.”

The Orchestra Swings with Communication

In what ways do musicians communicate when they swing? Students explore musical dialogue in “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” and musical conversations within the ensemble in Bernstein’s “Riffs.”

Instrument Families

Get to Know the Orchestra

What is an orchestra? Students learn about the instruments and families of the orchestra.

Concert Experience

Prepare for the Culminating Concert

How can we prepare for and reflect on our culminating concert experience with our Link Up partner orchestra? Students learn about Carnegie Hall and important landmarks in their own neighborhood, as well as prepare for and reflect on the culminating concert.

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