Cardinal Health Foundation Jazz in Schools

We believe that jazz has the power to transform the lives of young people. Educators agree; a recent Jazz Arts Group study found that a majority of teachers believe jazz and improvisational music teaches children listening skills, creativity, teamwork and provides an important knowledge of history. The Cardinal Health Foundation Jazz in Schools program aims to reach students at every level with interactive programs such as in-school assemblies, instrumental music workshops, pre-K classroom activities, the renowned All That Jazz 4th grade curriculum and more.

We specifically tailor our programs to best serve the needs of the students and educators, and are continually adapting our offerings to suit the ever-changing educational environment.

Jazz in Schools programs are made possible in part from the generous support of the Cardinal Health Foundation.

Take a look at some of our exciting programs! If you are interested in becoming a JAG partner school and hosting one of our programs, please contact us by clicking the button below.

Columbus Youth Jazz Lab in Schools

An outgrowth of the widely popular Columbus Youth Jazz Program, the CYJ Lab in Schools provides instrumental music students an opportunity to develop improvisation and musical teamwork skills through jazz. Designed in conjunction with Columbus City Schools and Fort Hayes High School Instrumental Music Director Mark Donavan, the CYJ Lab in Schools teaches students to learn and interpret music by ear and improvise within an ensemble. Using the award-winning Real Easy Book Volume 1, JAG teaching artists explore the 12-bar blues and standard jazz compositions while providing students the opportunity to create their own arrangements for performance.

The CYJ Lab in Schools is designed for 7-12th grade band programs, and is equally effective with concert bands and jazz bands alike.

  • Destiny Coleman, Director of Education and Community Programming – Opera Columbus
Columbus Youth Jazz Lab in Schools

“I was fortunate enough to sit out in the audience tonight…and I must say what an amazing job you’ve done teaching the middle school jazz band. This was a great experience and the parents were so enthusiastic about what Berwick Elementary has become.”

In-School Assemblies

Live music provides an experience unlike any other. Our interactive assembly programs allow students to witness the magic of live music while learning about the music and history of jazz.

Jump for Jazz

Jump for Jazz is an educational performance for grades K-5 that combines great jazz standards and songs from early childhood materials that adapt well to the jazz genre. Using songs and activities developed by Ms. Rebecca Ogden, an experienced early childhood music educator, Jump for Jazz aims to enhance literacy, musical awareness, and movement for young children. The audience adds “jazz” to their vocabulary while listening, singing, jumping, reading patterns and even playing instruments. The program is all about the music! The students, through their participation, are fully engaged listeners.

The trio, a professional jazz group made up of full time career musicians, brings an energetic and interactive performance experience of the highest level to the students. An outgrowth of the highly popular PBJ & Jazz concert series, Jump for Jazz offers three distinct age group designs ranging from pre-school through fifth grade, each specifically targeted for that audience.


  • Becky Ogden, teaching artist
  • Dave DeWitt, piano
  • Derek DiCenzo, bass
  • Aaron Scott, drums, leader

Jump for Jazz is available to any public or private school, including those for developmentally challenged students, churches, civic organizations or community centers. For scheduling inquiries, please contact Zach Compston, Director of Education, at

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Middle School Assemblies

JAG teaching artists will take students on a musical journey through jazz. From the blues to swing, bebop and beyond, students will learn about the musical and non-musical influences of jazz and learn how jazz coincided with important cultural, political and artistic themes in American history.

All That Jazz – presented by Grange Insurance

Designed for grades 4 & 5, All That Jazz is a curriculum-based program featuring standard jazz repertoire to create an environment where everyone can listen, learn and play.


Come join the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, led by trombonist Jim Masters, in a live performance of standard jazz repertoire at the historic Southern Theatre located in downtown Columbus. All That Jazz offers youngsters from all backgrounds the opportunity to hear the powerful sound of America’s big bands.


Students discover jazz, its origin and development throughout American history, through a curriculum developed by central Ohio’s premier children’s jazz educator, Becky Ogden. Each student receives his/her own book to prepare them for the performance.

Lessons include: Improvisation, Big Band Instruments, 12-Bar Blues, Jazz Time Line, Jazz Vocabulary, Jazz Geography, 32-Bar Song Form, Musicians Biographies and much more.


During this interactive Columbus Jazz Orchestra concert, students will demonstrate their knowledge of a 12-bar blues, sing “Route 66” and experience the excitement of the band.

All that Jazz

Tickets are $6 per person. Price includes an All That Jazz study guide for each student and “Teacher Notes” accompanied by audio recordings for educators to prepare students for the CJO performance.

All That Jazz is made possible in part with support from Grange Insurance

Jumpin’ JaKs – presented by the PNC Foundation

The Jazz Academy’s Jumpin’ JAKs (Jazz & Kids) pre-school program introduces music and encourages creative self-expression and literacy for children aged three to five. It is a powerful program that fuses arts education with codified early childhood educational practices. Jumpin’JaK’s is also designed to equip teachers with curricular tools that will continue the lessons learned at the Jazz Academy in their centers.

Jumpin’ JaKs addresses school readiness through social and emotional development – the delivery system is arts and culture.

Jumpin’ JAKs is the cornerstone of our early childhood education programming, developed in partnership with music educator Rebecca Ogden.  It is a literacy based program that invites three to five year old children to sing, listen, dance, and learn about music – from classical to jazz – in a playful environment with their parent or caregiver. Activities presented focus on:

  • creative process
  • enhanced listening skills
  • language development, and
  • self-expression

Each class incorporates an exploration of music and instruments, movement, games, story time and singing songs.  When it makes sense thematically, a visual art component is added to the course content, integrating and reinforcing the curriculum in a meaning way. On the final visit, a guest artist makes an appearance at Jumpin’ JAKs, providing the participants with a live performance and access to a musician who will share their talent, passion and expertise.

The Jazz Academy’s Jumpin’ JaKs program links to the Ohio Department of Education’s Early Learning Content Standards and well as learning outcomes established by the Child Development Center of Franklin County’s Head Start program.