Jazz in the Middle

Jazz in the Middle

Established in 2001, Jazz In the Middle (JIM) sends jazz musicians and poets into middle school humanities classrooms to unlock the proud history of jazz from a social, historical, and creative perspective. Through the process of collaboration JIM explores connections to the African Diaspora, focusing on our shared experiences and cultures. Participants create work inspired by our collective past and present while developing leadership and teambuilding skills.

SFJAZZ believes everyone is a creative agent for change. We believe the practice of art and music expresses our common language, builds community, transforms lives, and develops creative thinkers.

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.

“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

Curriculum Themes

Blues & Poetry

Led by SFJAZZ teaching artists, this residency links the history of blues and poetry to language arts curriculum. Students explore the foundations and history of American jazz, blues, poetry, and spoken word by studying important figures and styles, while making connections to our common heritage. Combining interactive musical activities with literacy skills development, students create their own spoken word performance to present on their final day backed by a live jazz trio.

Jazz & the American Spirit

This residency helps students understand the resilience 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.

Contact Information

Vanessa Varela
Community Outreach Coordinator

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