Educational Resources

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.

From California, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Maine to Fiji, Lithuania, China and Tunisia, citizens from every corner of the world celebrate International Jazz Day each year on April 30th. We encourage teachers everywhere to “Take 5” – five minutes, that is – and share the positive lessons of jazz music in their classrooms.

Take 5, a developing educational outreach initiative, draws its inspiration from the chart-topping 1959 hit composed by Paul Desmond and made famous by preeminent international jazz ambassador Dave Brubeck. The goal is to have educators of all disciplines – not just music, art and the humanities – understand that teaching and learning about jazz is not only fun but also easy. Jazz is America’s indigenous musical art form that continues to make a global impact today. Appreciating what jazz represents doesn’t have to be a complicated exercise. Bringing jazz into the classroom for five minutes or beyond, whether at the beginning or end of class, can have a positive impact on students regardless of the subject.

Here are some ideas on how to participate:

  • Each year, a different global city is selected to host International Jazz Day. Osaka, Japan was the 2014 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 live stream 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.

Take 5 – or more – and celebrate International Jazz Day with your students! Once you have planned your activity, please register and see how others are participating.

For additional ideas, visit our Toolkit.