Why Jazz?

Below are three core reasons that reveal how jazz can be the most dynamic music genre to transform low income student's lives.

1. Jazz Speaks for Life

As the great Martin Luther King Jr.  said in his opening address at the 1964 Berlin Jazz Festival,  "Jazz Speaks for Life". Jazz was formed by great Americans that grew up in poverty such as Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.  These pioneers did not only overcome their personal poverty through jazz, they also helped found America’s most prized cultural contribution to the world. The solidarity that today’s low income youth can find with the pioneers of jazz has the potential not only to change the course of their own lives, but also the future of jazz.

2. The Practicality of Jazz Programs

Low income schools usually have very limited funds, especially when it comes to funding the arts.  Running a jazz program at a school is significantly less expensive then other instrumental music programs because there are really only two main costs: instruments and sheet music. The flexibility of the size of a jazz band allows both smaller and larger schools to develop strong jazz programs.

3. The Rigor of Jazz 

Due to its heavy focus on ear training, music theory, and improvisation, jazz music is one of the most rigorous styles of music to play. This can help maximize all of the cognitive benefits that come from learning music.