Jazz is more than music. Its individuality and self-expression. Its math and improvisation. It’s about community and coming together. It’s about being present, yet getting lost in your imagination.
Jazz St. Louis is dedicated to providing transformative musical experiences that expose youth to the cultural significance of jazz, nurture students' talents, and develop the next generation of patrons of the arts. Through these opportunities, students gain self-confidence, develop creativity, and learn important life skills such as leadership and teamwork. Our programs support our core value that all youth deserve the same access to the arts and the same opportunities to succeed, regardless of any demographic, geographic or economic considerations.
For 15 years, Jazz St. Louis has been providing education and outreach activities to youth in St. Louis. To date we have reached more than 140,000 students by working with schools in both wealthy neighborhoods and underserved communities. Our programs train educators, expose youth to jazz through in-school performances and special events, and provide one-on-one training to student musicians. Ninety-nine percent of our programs are offered at no cost to students, families and schools.
Risk & Challenges
In St. Louis and around the country the arts are facing shrinking resources. Yet, studies continue to show that arts access and education is a stepping stone for success for young people. A 2010 report from the Missouri Arts Council found that students’ participation in the arts is significantly related to higher standardized test scores, higher attendance and graduation rates, and lower disciplinary rates across the state, regardless of student poverty level or ethnic status. Additional studies have shown that music education in particular is a key tool to success for young people - improving math abilities, enhancing motor skills, and fostering creativity and confidence.
Through our commitment to expose kids to music and help train the next generation of great musicians, Jazz St. Louis has forged strong relationships with more than 100 area schools, including several underserved districts in North County. Understanding that schools all over St. Louis are cutting arts programs as non-essential subjects, we are working to fill the gaps by offering a variety of opportunities that bring music into kids’ lives and help them achieve their highest potential.
What are some specific Jazz St. Louis education programs?
Jazz St. Louis presents a myriad of education programs that educate, engage, and train youth in our community. The Artist Residency and Emerson Jazz in the Schools programs both bring professional musicians and educators into schools to conduct master classes and clinics with middle and high school musicians, as well as perform for larger groups of elementary school students. Our Youth Concerts bring 4,000 students each year to the Touhill Performing Arts Center to experience exciting and interactive concert presentations about jazz music. Our Elementary Curriculum Partnership works with school districts to provide training and support to music teachers. JazzU, our flagship training program, works weekly throughout the school year to train some of the best student musicians in our community. Jazz Academy is one of our newest education programs that works specifically with middle school students in Normandy and Riverview Gardens school districts to provide one-on-one instruction and ensemble training. Students in need may also receive instruments to use throughout the school year.
How can I learn more about Jazz St. Louis education programs?
Check out www.jazzstl.org/education-outreach/ for more information. You can also call our office at 314-571-6000 and ask to speak with someone in either our education or development department.
As a not-for-profit organization, how does Jazz St. Louis serve the community?
In addition to our award-winning Jazz at the Bistro concert series, Jazz St. Louis presents education and outreach opportunities for both students and adults. Our programs include music therapy, curriculum development, one-on-one instruction, school outreach and adult “edu-tainment,” including lectures, discussions and coordinating performances.
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