Jazz in Schools


Bay Area Jazz Society


The mission of the Bay Area Jazz Society (BAJAZZS) is to provide music education to students in the Bay Area by providing seminars, workshops and music venues by local musicians for youth while expanding opportunities for local musicians to “give back” to the community. 

Jazz in the Schools Program is a program that teaches students about Jazz music’s historic connection to the important role in shaping all forms of music. It provides low income students with the opportunity to explore the world through music. (BAJAZZS)  members  are music instructors, performing artists, song writers, producers, recording engineers, music historians, and world traveled professionals. (BAJAZZS) artists have a rich history in performing in local venues as well as national and international concerts.  (BAJAZZS) hopes to inspire all students but especially at risk youth with the opportunity to discover the rich music history of Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Hip Hop, Funk, Pop and Classical music and the artists that contributed to this history.  There will also be a focus on the contributions of the musical giants who happened to be from  the Bay Area.


In its early stages Jazz was a mostly  commercially successful art form, popular at home and abroad. Currently Jazz’s popularity has diminished much of this due to the lack of educational opportunities for our school aged youth this coupled with now minimal support for Jazz music from popular media.  Jazz is not currently promoted in the mainstream. Though other forms of music have evolved on the popular market after Jazz  e.g.,  Hip Hop and Rap, popular with youth, none of this music requires the rigorous  training that comes with  mastering an instrument. We need to encourage our youth to pursue and develop the skills to play real musical instruments

We know that exposing young children to Jazz music along with other popular music  and teaching them how this music actually developed during the early days of American society, is  fascinating to young minds and helps them  become more inspired to listen and learn. This also generates a strong desire to learn to play music. Mastering an instrument  teaches students critical thinking skills and mental discipline while teaching them  to learn to read musical notes along with adapting instrumental fingering techniques.

This importantly  goes hand in  hand with building self-esteem and character while also developing critical computer skills, studio recording and performing techniques and how to perform with other musicians. Our program also promotes diversity and inclusion.


Jazz in Schools was initiated by the Bay Area Jazz Society  in 1985 and provides free jazz education and performances by professional musicians in Elementary and Middle Schools.  The purpose of the project is to introduce young students to jazz as a uniquely American art form and to recognize the important contribution made to American culture by African Americans Jazz composers and performers.  

There exists a dire need for funding for arts in Bay Area Public Schools.  This is especially true in the Bay Area where music classes are an underrepresented curriculum. Consequently,  exposure to jazz is almost non-existent. Often the private funding for music programs comes from the rich neighborhoods  those particular students live in. Music funding is not based on the  economic disparities that are found to exist in poor neighborhood schools. Those schools that are in poor neighborhoods need special help.


The program is designed especially for the enjoyment and education of young people and also to help teachers identify new learning tools and work to help students who may be  interested in music as a potential career.  During concerts, students are introduced to the various instruments and get to watch how professional musicians create the notes and melodies individually and in harmony. They also get to witness how the musicians relate to each other while improvising; These young students are exposed to different forms of jazz and get to hear and learn how Jazz developed historically and how that relates  to current forms of Pop, Funk, Rap and hip Hop  music as they  interact with musicians while clapping along, dancing, marching and even singing along with the music.  Students also learn about Latin, Caribbean and other World Music  and its relationship to American jazz with an introduction  by  musicians from a variety of cultural backgrounds who will be employed by our musical team. Students will learn that Jazz provides equal opportunities for all Americans of all persuasions including women and members of the LBGT community.


Our music in the Schools program consists of small to large assembly presentations where four to five musicians perform a variety of Jazz compositions mixed featuring a variety of  musical styles and each individual musician then explains the history of his instrument and other pertinent details. Jazz in the Schools seeks to make its school concert and music history  lecture a learning and fun experience by preparing the students by presenting teachers with a pre-prepared CD that features some of the music to be performed and asking teachers to identify  any  student who might qualify to perform on a particular composition.  

Goals and objectives have been established by a committee of music educators, jazz musicians and Jazz Society board members.  At the end of each concert, children should:

          Know the names and functions of each instrument

          Know the names of important Jazz greats 

          Understand the difference between Jazz and other American Music styles–

          Understand how Jazz originated

           Understand the ups and downs of picking music for a career

                Discover the importance of higher education as an important tool involving a music career and as a crucial tool for personal success and financial security


The Jazz in Schools program employs  jazz combos usually consisting of four to five musicians.  All of the musicians are among the finest and most experienced jazz musician and educators in the Bay Area. See attachment regarding our music team.

100% of the sales of the Higher Power Project CD go into a special fund in support of Musicians & Artists that find themselves seriously struggling in today’s economic climate.

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