Teaching Artists Roster
Jazz is about creativity and community. The Jazz Arts Group’s teaching artists offer both while working with students through assemblies, residencies, and special projects. Each artist works within the academic structures of individual school districts. The roster of artists offers skilled performers who teach with expertise and passion.
We asked each teaching artist why they value teaching jazz through the Jazz in Schools programs. Check out their involvement, dedication and their passion:
Jazz is a path to creativity, discovery, and openness, and jazz education is a great way to start students of any age on that path.
Jazz education deals with creativity – individualism – and the opportunity to get kids to think and act as individuals.
Jazz education in a child’s early years sets a foundation for future jazz lovers. Through live performance, Jazz 4 Kids gives its listeners the tools to interact and identify with the music. Live music can transform jazz listeners into jazz participators and jazz appreciators.
Columbus Jazz Orchestra
This is a wonderful American art form and, as with any esthetic, the lasting value is the sharing of the joy, beauty and struggles of the art and the artist. We value the making of the art and the learning to appreciate the artists that make it.
With the dwindling popularity and availability of live music, artists have a responsibility to introduce students, particularly young students, to what it means to experience music in its truest form. Jazz is a form of music that embraces and celebrates creativity, individuality, and experimentation, and students (and adults) who latch on to and embrace these basic concepts will develop strength, confidence, and a personal drive that will follow them wherever they go in life.
Jazz at its highest level is nothing more than simple democracy, a delicate balance of freedom and cooperation that truly expresses the American cultural ideal. It’s important for children to understand that live music is indeed a living thing that they can contribute to by dancing and singing or just by listening attentively.
I believe that our Making Choices program is of great value: a solid foundation in the blues is essential for a jazz musician and exposure to the blues at an early age is a huge advantage.
Much of the jazz tradition is based on improvisation which provides an intense creative experience for students. Jazz also provides a strong emotional outlet for young people. Not only is there a wide breadth of music to explore, but a musician can explore the styles, emotions and sounds in a deep and meaningful way. Jazz challenges musicians to understand their role in a dependent and independent way.
Jazz is needed in our schools because it’s more than ‘just another language.’ It’s much more powerful because it stimulates not only the mind but is very effective in reaching the heart and soul. I’ve witnessed this in diverse environments. We should be proud of this. OUR original art form should be cherished and nurtured so that it can reach even more people.
Through my study and performance of jazz music, I have learned and developed critical life skills that have truly enriched my life. Things like discipline, creativity, and teamwork, are just a few examples of what I have received from this musical art form. What excites me even more is the opportunity to share this music with kids and see the impact it has on them, both immediately and continually.
Jazz is a journey of discovery, and the earlier you get started the better. Jazz 4 Kids provides that first helping hand to our youngest of listeners. It has been such a joy for me to watch as the jazz we perform and discuss brings a smile to their faces or lights a spark when you can tell they’ve discovered something new.
To know jazz is to know our American musical heritage. Jazz connects rich harmony, exciting rhythms, and individual creative expression. The nuances of jazz are heard everywhere in American culture from Leonard Bernstein to Michael Jackson, from the streets of New Orleans to the techno-pop of New York City and L.A. Jazz is everywhere!
Jazz teaches about people working together, sharing a common musical goal to work in harmony and unity, and yet maintain their own creative spirit and voice. Jazz teaches an individual how to think spontaneously in an organized manner as in an improvised solo.
Jazz is America’s art form – it’s home grown – just that reason alone makes it very worthy of attention. But, it’s also very rewarding. Like a painter who paints a masterpiece, the musician creates his work, practices and finally performs and the completed masterpiece is gratifying.
All of the jazz training and exposure that I traveled miles to find as a young person is available here in Columbus thanks to the Jazz Arts Group. I hope our students will join our global community.
Music is a powerful force that reaches people on many different levels. It’s an absolute joy to entertain, enlighten and expose the wonderment of jazz and the development of this uniquely American art form. My objective is to show students and teachers that there is more wonderful information about jazz yet to be discovered.
As an artist and an educational administrator, I am in a unique position as an advocate; both as a performer and a policy maker. Arts Advocacy means “to actively support and promote the arts with an emphasis on affecting policy and change.” A leader is “one who guides, especially by going in front.” Jazz music is uniquely American, and encourages non-traditional expressions of creativity. To be a jazz musician is to be a musician who can think outside of the box, because of a detailed understanding of the box. The beauty of my position is that I can position myself to lead as an advocate for the music I love.
Vocal Jazz Camp
Bringing jazz to students is a very powerful and important part of preserving our culture. Live musicians interacting with students is the best method for bringing the concepts of improvisation, interpretation, and communication celebrated through this style of music. Not only does the music speak directly to one’s own creativity and growth as a person, but jazz is truly the voice of America, and in saying that, the voice of freedom! To understand jazz is to understand who WE are! When we are able to reach out and bring jazz to schools that are not regularly exposed to it, we engage students in a new world of opportunity and understanding.
To me, jazz improvisation is not a euphoric mystery. True jazz performance emerges from the practice of studying basic music and live communication between novice musicians and experienced ones. It is important to demonstrate how jazz is compatible with basic music skills to communicate the artist’s intent.
**Photography provided by the Ft. Hayes Photo Department.**