[Dixielandjazz] Jazz for kids

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Thu Nov 6 13:11:43 PST 2003

In a message dated 11/6/03 8:14:24 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> These gigs do not have to be free, though you will not get rich on them.
> A one hour program for us in the gym and/or assembly sells easily for
> $70 a man. If they want a second set, it goes up to $100 a man. We also
> try and string 2 or 3 of them together in nearby schools, and do three
> one hour sets in a day, less than 20 miles apart. We use our full 6
> piece band and play Dixieland.
> As I say, this is not a get rich formula, but we all feel good about
> getting to the young folks and we make a few bucks too, during the day.
> There is school budget money for this kind of educational program, and
> it is much better spent on music than on all that other stuff. (you know
> what I mean, insert your own pet peeve here)
> Cheers,
> Steve Barbone

The school districts are all begging for these kind of programs, and again it 
comes back to they don't know where to find them or your band.  Finding a 
Band (Any Band) is just not a priority in their minds.  You would be surprised at 
how many Principals and teachers never even think about it, but when you 
approach them they are elated at the idea.

In California the elementary schools can usually find about $250.00 for an 
assembly program guest, and some of them in more affluent districts can scrounge 
up $500.00.

The California Arts council also has matching funds programs available to the 
schools who most of the time have no idea about or how to apply for them 
either.  We have many such funded programs around the country by the taxpayers 
money that are not publicized very well if at all, you have to research them and 
get involved.  There are many artists that have done so and make their living 
off of these programs.

Some of them are so simple it amazing, like taking anything cultural to a 
city or town that the State has designated as culturally lacking, all you have to 
do is put together a musical program that addresses some element of cultural 
music indigenous to some ethnic group and take it where they have no such 
ethnic group population, and you and the school can get funding.

As Steve mentioned, you won't get rich but you will have a wonderful time 
with the kids, and have yourself a lot of daytime paid rehearsals for the band.  
Combining several schools on the same day is the key to getting a reasonable 

Another thing I am doing is contacting the PTA associations and setting up 
fund raising concerts for the parents where they sell the tickets, pack the 
school auditorium and we split the money, (so they will have money to hire us or 
another group for the next assembly program).

I am getting local business sponsors to pay for printing up flyers for all 
the kids to take home announcing the program and why we came to their school 
etc.  on the back of the flyer is an advertisement for the Paid concert for the 
parents, the kids get all excited about having seen the band and go home with 
the flyer and tell their parents about it and beg them to go to the concert 
with them  (let the kids in free with the paid parents).

At the concert I then blatantly do a commercial to the parents to keep 
supporting this program, and solicit donations on the spot, I do not sell anything 
at these concerts, :)
because some school districts will not allow it, and if they did they would 
want a cut of the money.  What I do is solicit donations to the program, and 
the band will generously give the donors Two CDs for a donation of $25.00 or 
more   $50.00 or more they can also take home 2 Band T Shirts, or Kiddies Jazz 
For Kids T Shirts for their kids.

All of these funds go back into our program to play the assemblies for the 
kids, creating day gigs and paid rehearsals for the band, and since we have a 
large group I can easily divide it into two or three groups for the assembly 

I might add that this is a self supporting operation with no grants applied 
for nor anything to tax the school board from their budgets, other than those 
that have a pot for such special programs we do it like a matching funds 
situation, if they can pay half we will pay the other half.   Of course we pay our 
half with time and performance by the band members who were coming to rehearse 

You will also get offers for other paid gigs from the parents as well, many 
of whom own local businesses that could more than likely sooner or later use a 
live band, why not yours.

When you do these programs, make sure you go to the newspapers and local 
radio stations and tell them about what your doing, they will support you and give 
you much needed press coverage that is free publicity for your band and will 
lead to other gigs int he community as well.

  Always insist they put your contact numbers in the articles, and ask the 
local radio DJ top play your CD on the air when they talk about your program, 
you will be surprised at how many of them will play it at least once or twice.  
Heck ask to do a live broadcast from the station, or a taped one, same for the 
public Television stations around your area.

These resources are all readily available folks, but ya gotta go out and make 
things happen.

Do enough of these things and the income slowly starts to build the gigs get 
bigger and you make more money, why because you have greater name recognition 
and goodwill in the community, then when the good gigs come up, your name will 
be at the top of the list to call because everyone will know you.  It's just 
Musical Politics and good constant shameless self promotion.  Soon enough 
everyone in town will be promoting you as well and you will wake up one morning 
fifteen years later and realize that you are an overnight success. :))

Now go make some kids day and inspire some new ones, it's the greatest 
feeling in the world and they are a lot easier to make smile and convert to your 
music than the adults, who may have already been programed to not like Dixieland 
or OLD peoples music.

I never met a kid yet who did not like Dixieland Jazz if they heard it.  
Start them young they are the future, may they do better with it than many of us 
did, and with a little help and pushing from all of us they can and will.   
Can't wait for the first Rapping Dixie song, :)


Tom Wiggins

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