SALMON — Jett Kauffman compares success in school to success playing the bass guitar — both require preparation and dedication.
And Jett would know. He ranks top in his class, owning a 4.0 grade-point average, and was selected to perform as part of the Idaho All-State Jazz Choir.
The Salmon High School senior will graduate in June and take his skills to the University of Idaho in the fall to study physics and audition for the jazz band.
“I’m ready for the new adventure,” he said.
Jett got the love for music from his dad and dreams of traveling the country in a band someday. He started performing the alto saxophone in elementary school and quickly advanced to the top. In the seventh grade, he joined the high school band as a member.
During his sophomore year he took his skills to the next level. He taught himself how to play the bass guitar through daily practice at home and YouTube videos. This gave him the opportunity to join the school’s jazz band.
“On my own it allows me to experience extreme levels of satisfaction, especially after I master something that had previously been difficult,” he said. “In a group, when everything is going right and everyone is feeling the groove, I get the best feeling in the world.”
His biggest music accomplishment came in February when he auditioned and was selected to perform as the Idaho All-State Jazz Choir’s bass guitarist. The program brings together Idaho’s most talented high school musicians and provides an opportunity to perform under the direction of college music instructors.
“The audition was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done,” he said. “I was out of my element.”
Jett loves music, but he says education comes first. He plans to earn a degree in physics and play music throughout college in hopes to be part of a band. His long-term plan is to work in engineering.
“Jett never backs down from a challenge and most often maintains a positive attitude when he is challenged with new concepts or understandings in many of his subjects,” Salmon High English teacher Denise Braswell said.
Jett is a member of the football and track teams and performed as a lead cast member in multiple spring musicals. He is also part of the travel club and visited Spain, France and Italy while in school.
“Jett is a great leader on and off the field, not because he was the most gifted athlete, but it was because of his intensity to improve and play hard every time he walked onto the field,” Salmon High football coach Sean McKinney said.
Fun facts about Jett Kauffman
- Favorite drink? Arnold Palmer
- Favorite sport to watch? Football
- What are the first three songs on your current music playlist? “Peanuts” by The Police, “Sunshine of Your Love” by Ella and “Come on Down” by Zeal and Ardor
- You just got a free plane ticket to go anywhere. Where are you going? South Island of New Zealand
- Three things you can’t live without? Family, bass guitar and Spotify premium
- Something most don’t know about you? My actual first name on my birth certificate is indeed Jett
- Favorite emoji