Amsterdam News Staff
Music teacher Jasmine Britt is tooting her own horn when it comes to contributing her talent to educating the world.
She serves as a founding member and president of the Metropolitan Music Community and as one of four band directors at the Grand Street Campus High School in Brooklyn. Along with teaching young people instrumental music in public school, her leadership in the MMC gives local mature adult musicians an outlet to play music in the Brooklyn Wind Symphony and the Grand Street Concert Band.
A native of Pembroke Pines, Fla., Britt began playing music in elementary school on the clarinet.
“When I started playing music, it gave me a solid identity,” she said. “I started practicing like crazy and I developed fast, and my band director noticed. I was a pretty good student, but music was the thing I was most passionate about.”
As a high school student, her talents developed so well that she participated in local and national music competitions. However, it was her work as a section leader in band that peaked her interest in music education.
“I made up my mind in the ninth grade that I wanted to pursue music education,” she said. “I enjoyed being more involved in the process of teaching rather than performing.”
Britt graduated from Florida State University, where she majored in music education and was also a member of the FSU Marching Chiefs. She earned her master’s degree in music education from Ithaca College.
During her early years as a music teacher, Britt taught band in Dania Beach, Fla., at the middle school level, where her students participated in All-County Bands and All-State Bands.
She moved to New York in 2007 after being recruited to become the band director at Middle School 50 in Brooklyn. She transformed the music program, leading the symphonic band to gold medal ratings for multiple years.
“I was looking for a change of pace, and I came to New York,” she said “I’ve been really blessed to find an artistic opportunity here.”
At her current position at Grand Street Campus High School, she teaches music to students attending the three high schools in the building. The music program is one of a few in the city public school system that consist of symphonic and jazz bands, choirs, chamber ensembles and a world drumming program.
With MMC, her duties as president include managing the staff of volunteers, fundraising and working with the board of directors. The ensembles, made up of amateur adults at all music levels, are under the direction of Brian Worsdale.
The bands have performed at Lincoln Center and are performing at Carnegie Hall later this year.
“The overall mission is give any adult the opportunity to play in a wind band,” Britt said. “We try to help our musicians and give something the community can be proud of.”
For more information about MMC and the community bands, go to www.metropolitanmusiccommunity.org.