Band earns flood of Superiors at Solo and Ensemble

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photo by Joshua Krob

Junior Eshan Kabir practices his solo for solo and ensemble. of the 117 people who participated in solo ensemble, 137 got superiors.

Junior Eshan Kabir sat down on the stage, nervously looking around. The judge stared at him, looked down and nodded. Kabir pulled his instrument up to his mouth, the accompanist started to play the beginning notes to his solo “Concerto for tuba in F minor,” he took a breath, and his solo began.

Solo and Ensemble is an event held annually for band students across Seminole County. At Solo and Ensemble, students are tasked to pick a solo or ensemble (group) piece, learn it by themselves and perform it in front of a judge who will write critiques and recommendations to help the student improve as a musician.

Of the 137 band students who participated in solo ensemble, 117 received the highest rating, Superior. Kabir received Superiors on all three of his pieces. 

“I balanced the three pieces by starting them pretty early, months in advance from the performance day,” Kabir said.  “After all that practicing, I felt very good about all three pieces I was a part of.” 

Practicing methods for solo and ensemble can differ from student to student. Strategies include using a metronome to get the song on one single speed, playing parts one note or phrase at a time to work out any possible kinks or to playing along with a recording of the accompaniment. 

“[For the solo] you have to practice a lot in order to get your lip muscles to the point where you can play that,” Kabir said. “You basically take it very slow, measure by measure. If you find any mistakes, you just keep repeating and repeating until you get it right.”

Some students made plans for Solo and Ensemble even before the start of the school year, such as freshman Amya Waters, who played in a flute choir.

Every week, my group got together [to practice our ensemble]. I just [practiced my solo] whenever I had time,” Waters said. 

For all those in band, Solo and Ensemble is an event that allows them to become better musicians. 

“I got to spend time with my friends. I got to perform music, which I really love to do,” senior Zack Dayeh said. “It motivates you to work on something and it helps me get better.”

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