Kyler Granados: the only non-band kid in Jazz Band

Currently, junior Kyler Granados plays piano and percussion in Liberty’s Jazz Band. However, unlike his classmates, Granados has spend has spent his years at Liberty in Liberty Singers and Jazz Choir—not band.

Krista Kroiss, Beat Editor

Q: What inspired you to audition for Jazz Band?

A: I have been listening to jazz since I was two years old. My dad would have me on his lap in his truck and he would bounce me up and down and tap to the rhythm of the drums. When I was a older, maybe four or five, he used to tell me it was like a choo-choo train. That stuck with me. Coming to Liberty, I joined jazz choir and that reinvigorated my love for jazz. The middle school, unfortunately, doesn’t have a jazz choir. Sophomore year I auditioned for jazz band, and I wasn’t sure if I would get in because I didn’t have much time to prepare the piece. It wasn’t the best audition. I probably wasn’t going to get in, but because we didn’t have a bassist this year, Tanner was open to the idea of having three keyboardists. I think that’s part of why I got in. It was really exciting, although I was a little nervous because I’m not a part of the band culture.

Q: What is your favorite part of being in Jazz Band?

A: My favorite part of Jazz Band is the fact that I get to wake up every B day and start with jazz. And what is amazing to me is that on Wednesday B days, with Jazz Choir in the morning, that’s three hours of jazz. That’s so exciting to me, more so than going to first period and having PE or a science class. I get to start with something that I am really passionate about, and that gets me going for the rest of the day. I’ve learned so much and really been inspired.

Q: Do you think that not being in the band program has helped or hindered you?

A: I don’t think it’s hindered me. In fact, I think it’s helped me. It’s given me the opportunity to not be stuck within the symphonic, orchestral mindset because I am just going in thinking “jazz.” It really allows me to me to just focus on the jazz. A lot of people would probably say they love Jazz Band more than they do symphonic band because it allows for a true expression of themselves. It’s improvisation, and it’s really soulful. Not to say that orchestral music can’t be soulful, but in jazz music you can really feel it. It’s truly representative of the African American culture that it came out of, which is soulful and energetic and boisterous, and it really has something to say beyond the beauty of a symphonic piece. So allowing me to focus on that, I think it’s benefited me. It’s allowed me to have a little bit more feeling in soloing.

Q: Do you think other non-band musicians should audition?

A: If they’re willing to be open in terms of expression, instead of choosing to hide behind their instrument. I’m assuming that band kids don’t audition for Jazz Band because they are more comfortable reading sheet music and being nameless. In Jazz Band you have that solo, and everybody’s involved and listening to the story you’re telling. We are always learning to to tell our stories in a more clear, concise way that pertains to the language. Really, you become a storyteller.