In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30th as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.
Here are some ideas on how to participate:
- Each year, a different global city is selected to host International Jazz Day. Washington, D.C. is the 2016 Global Host City. Present a geography lesson on this year’s city and discuss how jazz is being celebrated on this special day. Watch the webcast or re-broadcast of the concert.
- Design a record album cover inspired by a field trip to a local record store or a classroom listening session.
- Play jazz recordings or video clips and have students write or share their reflections.
- Discuss how jazz inspires peace, unity, teamwork and communication.
- Organize a jazz-themed performance by your school band or choir.
- Create a class mural or decorate your classroom with jazz-inspired drawings or posters (of instruments or musicians, for example).
- Explore the mathematical basis of the swing rhythm.
- Research the history of jazz in your town or city. What makes jazz in your area unique?
- Develop your own lesson plan centered around jazz – and let us know how it turns out!
Share the vibrancy and vitality of jazz music with students and educators from around the world on April 30th. International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts on all continents to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact.
Once you have planned your activity, please be sure to register your event or email us and see how others are participating.
For additional ideas, visit our Toolkit or see some sample educational resources below.
- Lecture: Symmetry as a Compositional Principle in the Music of John Coltrane
- Lecture: The Compositional Techniques of Duke Ellington
- Handout: Introduction to Figurenotes
- Activity: Seven Figurenotes Arrangements
- Video: Jazz Collaborations Playlist (YouTube)
- Video: What Are the Blues?
- Video: What is Improvisation?
- Video: What Are Spirituals?
- Video: How to Build a Drum Solo Using Motivic Development
- Video: How to Trade Solos in Jazz
- Video: Playing Bass in a Big Band
- Video: How to Expand Your Harmonic Vocabulary: Dominant Sevenths
- Video: All Jazz Academy Playlists
- Lesson Plan: Playing 12-Bar Blues in the General Music Classroom (by Natalie Wilson)
- Lesson Plan: Writing Blues Lyrics (by Natalie Wilson)
Do you have a handout or other teaching resource you would like to see represented here? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.