A Whole Lot of Etudes and Minuets, Solo & Ensemble


Kylie Harmala, Writer

Each year, countless high school musicians spend months perfecting a two-minute piece of music. In solos and small ensembles, they will perform for judges at a ‘Solo and Ensemble’ competition hoping to secure a spot at the next level of competition. Junior, Reta Jimaa, has spent many hours preparing for this musical competition,

“I’ve had to really focus on the piece I’m playing this year for solo and ensemble. I’ve spent a lot of time at home working really hard and I’m excited for the competition.”

This year, performances will be hosted by Novi High School through January 31st and February 5th, 2022. The time slots for each performance are chosen at random and emailed to each participant. Although, this year due to covid-19, musicians are given the chance to alternatively submit an online performance.

This video is done through an online link that gives the solos and ensembles only one shot at recording their piece. Prior to January 31st, each participant had to decide how they would like to perform, and then those who chose online are allowed to submit any time of day between the 31st and the 5th. For those performing in person, they are required to wear bell covers over their instruments to limit any covid transmission.

From West Bloomfield bands this year, we have ten students competing at solo and ensemble. All are either performing in either duets or solos with their required piano accompaniment. During their respective band class at school, private instructors have frequently come to work one-on-one or with ensembles on the piece, they will be performing. Rylie Schell plays the trumpet and has spent a lengthy amount of time in preparation. 

“This year I’ve spent a lot of time on my solo. During class, I’ve worked with a private instructor to try and get a division one ranking.”

After the student(s) are done performing for the judges, they will receive a division ranking out of 5, hoping that they receive a division one. Musicians that receive a division one ranking have the opportunity to perform at the state competition. Then, those that receive a high ranking at the state competition will receive that chance to perform at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honor Band. 

“Solo and Ensemble is always an important part of all the music classes,” said Rylie Schell, “It gives students something to work towards.”