[Dixielandjazz] Jazz Program For Inner City Los Angeles Schools

Steve barbone barbonestreet at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 12 20:03:54 PST 2005

Just back from a sideman gig at a private dinner party. The Trumpet player,
UCLA grad so we talked about jazz in schools there. He said there had been a
privately funded inner city program since about 1990s. "Just surf google for
Jazz in L.A. Schools" he said. He also said the bands and musicians are paid
by the sponsors who provide the program free to schools.

Well, I did and this is what I found. The program is in 46 inner city
schools and concerts draw about 22,000 school kids a year.

22,000 kids? What we OKOMers do pales by comparison. Time to get going.


Steve Barbone

The following Los Angeles Program is funded in part by the Los Angeles
Cultural Affairs Department, The Recording Industries' Music Performance
Trust Fund, American Express, The Jewish Community Foundation and additional
personal and corporate donations. JAZZ IN SCHOOLS - L.A. California

Jazz in Schools was initiated by the Los Angeles Jazz Society in 1988 and
provides free jazz performances by professional musicians scheduled in
elementary schools during the month of February, Black History Month. The
programs have been planned especially for the enjoyment and education of
young school children. The purpose of the project is to introduce students
to jazz and to further the appreciation of the important contribution made
to American culture by African Americans in creating and developing
America's unique art form, jazz. The targeted audience is school age young
people throughout the City of Los Angeles who live in ethnic and/or poor
neighborhoods. These are young people who rarely, if ever, have an
opportunity to hear live concerts and might be deprived of enriching lessons
and  experiences in the arts. In order to include the entire City of Los
Angeles and reach the schools most in need, all fifteen City Council
representatives are contacted for their school recommendations. The number
of school children attending concerts each year is approximately 22,000.

The musicians selected to perform in schools are among the finest jazz
artists and music educators in Los Angeles and have performed with
nationally and internationally known jazz artists. Some of the musicians
participating in the past have been Buddy Collette, Bobby Rodriguez and
Patrice Rushen. Beginning in 1999, Jazz Hall of Fame artists and educators,
Washington Rucker and Ernie Fields, Jr., took leadership roles in presenting
their specially prepared programs for young people, with each artist
conducting his group in fifteen concerts. This year, the project was
expanded to include 46 schools, with jazz artist/educator, Charles Owens,
leading a third group.

Jazz in Schools is an educational program designed to stimulate young
people's interest in music in general and in jazz in particular. Prior to
concerts, a Concert Preparation Package prepared by Dr. Thom Mason,
Professor and Founder of Jazz Studies at the University of Southern
California, is sent to each school. The package consists of a Teaching
Outline on jazz history, audio tapes representing artists and music
presented in the Outline and a copy of a comprehensive book about jazz. All
materials are donated to the schools for ongoing use. During concerts,
students are introduced to the instruments and their capabilities;  they see
a demonstration of how the musicians relate to each other in the
improvisational style of jazz; they are exposed to different forms of jazz
and hear how they developed historically; they interact with the musicians
in clapping, marching and dancing. Students learn about Latin jazz as
introduced by a Spanish speaking musician.

>From administrators and teachers we have learned that students are not only
excited about the concerts, but that they also retain much of the
information. Many said "this is the best assembly we have ever had", and
"this is an experience our children will never forget".

Scientists are finding that music serves as a nurturing stimulation to
exercise children's intellect and enhances learning at a much faster rate.
Even though the importance of arts in education is beginning to gain the
attention of educators, there is still a serious vacuum at the elementary
level where the impact is greatest. Most musicians can cite a musical
experience in their early years that created an interest in pursuing music.
That is what we hope to accomplish with our project.

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