In November 2011, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) officially designated April 30 as International Jazz Day in order to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.
International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact.
Here are some ideas and resources for exploring jazz with your students on April 30th.
- Play jazz recordings in your classroom. Discuss with your students what they do or don’t like about the music.
- Play video clips of jazz performances.
- Invite a local expert to conduct the listening session or give a talk to your class.
- Schedule a jazz-themed performance or concert by your school band or choir.
- Use one of the many lesson plans available at www.jazzinamerica.org
- Decorate your classroom with jazz posters, or pictures of jazz artists.
- Ask your students to draw or write about how jazz makes them feel or think.
- Have students research the local roots of jazz in your town or city. What made jazz in your city unique?
- Ask your students to interview older relatives about their experiences with jazz. Have students listen to their favorite songs and share the results with the class.
- Have students write a skit or play based on the life of a great jazz musician.
- Encourage students to explore some of the many great jazz websites in the resource list below.
- Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz
- Jazz In America
- Jazz Education Network
- Jazz at Lincoln Center
- DownBeat Jazz School
- JazzTimes Education
- JazzEd Lessons Learned
- Aebersold Free Jazz Materials
- Jazz Standards
- Jazz – A Film by Ken Burns
- PBS Kids — Chuck Vanderchuck’s Explosion
- NPR Jazz
- Jazziz Magazine
- “Planning to Major in Jazz? 8 Top Considerations” — MajoringInMusic.com
- International Association of Schools of Jazz