Jazz Moves Into Every San Francisco & Oakland Middle School
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Jazz Education Moves Into Every Oakland and San Francisco Middle School

October 19, 2017 | by SFJAZZ Education

Jazz In Session teaching artist Michael Mitchell works with a student

SFJAZZ is excited to announce that it is expanding its in-school education programs to reach every public middle school student in San Francisco and Oakland!

More than 23,000 students in 70 schools will benefit from the expansion, which includes school day concerts, standards-based classroom learning residencies, and support of school music ensembles. Over the next three years, the SFJAZZ Education Department will develop and implement these programs with teachers, school administrators, parents, and students to bring jazz into Bay Area classrooms.

SFJAZZ received a generous grant from the Stupski Foundation to provide for this expansion and to support bold new thinking in jazz education.

“Jazz education has never been more needed in the classroom than right now."

SFJAZZ CEO Donald Derheim


“Jazz is the American art form and SFJAZZ is the perfect organization to deliver the curriculum and experiences that teachers and students are craving. It’s our belief that the lessons in teamwork and improvisation will benefit all of us for years to come.”

Jazz In The Middle teacher Terrence Brewer at Willie Brown Middle School

In this academic year, the grant enables the immediate expansion of SFJAZZ School Day Concert into 29 schools. Professional musicians and student graduates perform concerts in conjunction with an academic theme, such as Black History, along with a live lesson and assessment that supports key learning goals. The popularity of these concerts with teachers and students at the SFJAZZ Center—where they are performed for hundreds of students and streamed to select schools around California—has inspired SFJAZZ to now take these concerts “on the road” directly into schools.

School Day Concert at SFJAZZ Center

“The excitement generated by concerts in schools makes the School Day Concert a perfect emphasis for the first year of program expansion,” says SFJAZZ Director of Education, Rebeca Mauleón. “From the concert assemblies and into the classrooms, jazz education is vital in providing access to and equity in the arts.

“This is an incredible opportunity for SFJAZZ to impact the lives of thousands of students, teachers, and professional jazz musicians, and will have a transformative effect on the educational reach of our organization.” The School Day Concerts program works to link the musical experience with educational subjects, while the Jazz in the Middle program provides students with an engaging, in-classroom, jazz-themed curriculum module for language arts and social studies. This essential program will expand to reach all 147 middle school classrooms in nine schools across San Francisco and Oakland with in-depth two-week residencies.

The Jazz in Session program cultivates young musicians with hands-on instrumental instruction, performance opportunities, and mentorship from professional musicians. This program will expand to serve ten school sites between San Francisco and Oakland. Each of these schools will work with SFJAZZ to host an intensive jazz band program. “We have seen life-changing outcomes from these programs at SFJAZZ,” says Mauleón. “The ability to impact so many students and teachers is an incredible opportunity, and a responsibility that our team is incredibly eager to fulfill.”

For more information on SFJAZZ school programs, click here.