Our Mission

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Our mission is to empower youth to overcome educational inequality through jazz education.

The Problem

In America, low-income students do not have the same access to a quality music education as their more economically advantaged peers. In Metro Nashville Public Schools, a district where 78% of the students receive free or reduced lunch, only 16% of high school seniors have taken one or more years of music classes. This is happening despite significant evidence that music participation increases students' college entrance exam scores by 16%, GPAs by 15%, and graduation rates by 51%.   There is also an underrepresentation of low income schools in the jazz education landscape. 58% of all public schools in the United States are designated as low income schools. However, at the 2016 and 2017 Essentially Ellington festivals, the most prestigious high school jazz band competition in the country, only 23% of finalist were from low income schools.  

Low Income School Participation at Top Band Competitions

*Numbers based off 2017 Essentially Ellington Festival, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic, and Grand Nationals Marching Band Competition

Our Solution

All of the work that we do aims to close the achievement and opportunity gaps in music education. We use a three pronged approach to address the three major need areas we have identified.