Our Story


It all started when…

Founder Andrew Johnston discovered there was an opportunity and achievement gap in music education. After much research he realized that there was no national organization whose sole purpose was to help provide high quality music education directly in low income schools.  

In 2014 Andrew launched Jazz Empowers with a founding board of directors which comprised of diverse skill sets and a common passionate for music education.  Over the next year Jazz Empowers developed an innovative curriculum that focused on performing jazz standards, music education, ear training and improvisation. In the 2015-2016 school year Jazz Empowers raised $10,000 in capital to launch a pilot program in two low income serving schools in Nashville. This program served 30 students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to learn music.  

Building off the success of the pilot program, Jazz Empowers launched its programming full scale for the 2016-2017 school year.  Since then Jazz Empowers has provided jazz instruction to over 500 students and has provided over 150 instruments to students.   In 2017 Jazz Empowers launched its Band Director Support Program which provides instruments, resources, and coaching to band directors as they start and build jazz programs at their schools.  

On August 1st, 2018 Jazz Empowers plans to launch its Online Support Site which be an online hub for students and instructors to learn jazz.