Monday, February 12, 2018

Student Selected for A-JAM Program 2018

Marco Salinas, San Antonio College student drummer and percussionist has been selected as the 2018 A-JAM student representative. Please join me in congratulating Marco and his applied percussion instructor, Joe Caploe of the Palmetto Center for the Arts at Northwest Vista College! Many thanks to our judges, Gregory Gonzales of St. Phillip's College, and Richard Oppenheim of the Musicians Society of San Antonio. Read Marco Salinas' essay below to understand his journey to jazz and A-JAM. We wish him the best on his journey through the A-JAM mentorship program.
"Discovering Jazz On My Way To A-JAM," by Marco Salinas

You can say I've been on the path to A-JAM for a while now. I first heard about this opportunity being involved in the jazz ensemble at San Antonio College. I remember the instructor Mr. Andrew Gignac asking me how long I've been studying jazz, and I said, "I really don’t know, but I just have a feel for it." I can remember first discovering jazz when people mentioned swing! I love the snaps on beats two and four. I discovered so much more in high school from other drummers. They taught me basic patterns, but did a lot of name dropping. I took more from that. This is when I started paying attention to guys like Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta. A few years later a friend of mine played me some John Coltrane, which led me to Elvin Jones. Listening to these guys and this music you can see that there is a lot going on.

I guess you can say this is why I'm interested in becoming a jazz musician. In a jazz band setup everyone has a responsibility. As a drummer, my main objective is keeping tempo or the beat for the group. I'm also listening and watching the other musicians for any cues. Sometimes a thirty-two bar song can last ten minutes due to solos, and it's very easy to get lost in the form of the song because of these solos, especially when you are trading fours with the band. Of course, jazz has a lot of improvising, which makes jazz seem free. So you can see there's a lot going on in a jazz setting. This is why I'm interested in being a jazz musician.

I expect to give it my all for A-JAM. I'm still learning, and that’s what I love about music or jazz. It seems never ending. I'll come prepared for every session we have and grow from it. Hopefully I can bring something new to the table. I'll bring a positive attitude. I also expect to gain a lot from A-JAM. I want to learn and grow as a musician with the experience I will gain from this wonderful opportunity. 


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