Jazz in the Middle

Jazz in the Middle

Established in 2001, the Jazz in the Middle program integrates jazz performance and history in the language arts and social science classroom. Fostering connections between core subjects and the arts, SFJAZZ teaching artists and poet mentors engage students in a process of creative transformation. Students learn specific jazz concepts, experience musical performance, write creatively, and perform publicly.

Offered free to public middle schools, the JIM curriculum complies with government guidelines and district content standards in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classrooms.

To request a JIM residency or detailed curriculum information please click the button below.

Contact Information

Vanessa Varela
Community Outreach Coordinator


6th Grade, Blues & Poetry

Led by SFJAZZ teaching artists and poet mentors, this residency connects academic learning and jazz, combining interactive musical experiences, literacy skills, and hands-on technology learning within 5 sessions. The final day features a performance by the students and the SFJAZZ Jazz in the Middle Trio.

7th Grade, Freedom & Jazz

Students explore the concept of freedom focusing on percussion and storytelling. Led by SFJAZZ teaching artists and poet mentors, participants engage in interactive exercises through the medium of jazz as they learn about African, Caribbean, and New Orleans percussion traditions. Students create and perform music, listen to and write stories on different aspects of freedom, and create original artwork. The residency culminates in a final collaborative performance.

8th Grade, Jazz & the American Spirit

This residency helps students understand the resiliency of the American spirit and how that spirit is reflected in the evolution of jazz. Students explore the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, and the Civil Rights Era through a series of interactive exercises. Working with SFJAZZ teaching artists in music and improvisational theater, students create original music and stories and learn to improvise.

“Jazz in the Middle continues to be an important part of my journey. I was blessed to have amazingly passionate teachers who helped shape me into the musician I am today, and I want to pass that same love of music on to as many others as I can.” — Terrence Brewer, JIM Teaching Artist since 2010.

“JIM was really fun and it boosts your self-esteem!” — 6th grade student

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