St. George’s is excited to announce the American Music Ensemble has been selected as the “Best High School Blues/Pop/Rock Group” by DownBeat Magazine’s Student Music Awards (SMAs). Considered one of the top student music competitions in the world, the annual SMAs have been a stepping stone for many of the world’s greatest musicians for 40 years.
Educators and young musicians, from junior high through college, nominate themselves in an open call for recorded performances and applications. Winners are selected from more than 1,000 entries world-wide. Judging criteria are based on musicianship, creativity, improvisation, technique, sound quality and balance, excitement and authority.
“This amazing honor reflects the commitment St. George’s has for the Fine Arts and in giving students opportunities to make real world connections,” said Tom Link, Artist-in-Residence, Middle and Upper School Band. “Memphis is one of the birthplaces of American music and the AME has become one of the premier ensembles in the nation. I’m proud that our outstanding student musicians have been recognized by this prestigious organization.”
DownBeat Magazine has been in circulation for more than 80 years and is one of the world’s leading jazz and contemporary music publications.
About the American Music Ensemble
At St. George’s, American Music Ensemble students engage with all the elements of practical music-making—concentrating on regional music and allowing them to understand other cultures and places in an intimate way. Through the study of Jazz, Pop, Rock, and other American music, students analyze the complex relationships between society, music, and the exchange of ideas, discover the critical rigors of music-making and work collaboratively to create something new within the framework of the past.
Students can look forward to developing the kinesthetic and critical fundamentals of creating music: chord/scale theory, sound production, technique, ensemble playing, composition, and style; performing repertoire of both historical significance in the Delta, Memphis, and the Mid-South; engaging in critical listening, creating new music, and using technology to capture and share their work. St. George’s American Music Ensemble students develop a sense of wonder and curiosity grounded in confidence and open-mindedness.
About the Student Music Awards
The DownBeat Student Music Awards, founded in 1976, are considered the most prestigious awards in jazz education. Hundreds of musicians, music educators and music industry professionals received their first international recognition as DownBeat Student Music Award winners. At least six winners have gone on to appear on the cover of DownBeat as professional artists. Scores have been featured in the magazine and have won either Critics or Readers Poll honors. Even before becoming professionals, students have used this recognition to garner more than $10 million in scholarship opportunities.
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