Jazz Education Ensemble vocalist Miko Marks performs with students at Thornhill Elementary School

Jazz Education Ensemble: Concerts & Beginning Jazz Classes

Jazz Education Ensemble 2020 Concerts:

May, 2020 (date tbd) - Thornhill Elementary School/Oakland, CA

May, 2020 (date tbd) - Kaiser Elementary School/ Oakland, CA

August 9, 2020 - San Jose Jazz Festival/San Jose, CA


The Jazz Education Ensemble works as mentors to enrich the future of our global community by empowering children with the ability to solve problems through creative thinking, and by developing the knowledge, confidence and skills to work together in groups to achieve artistic,  self-esteem and leadership prowess beyond previous limitations.

Our goal is to offer this program free of charge to parents and elementary schools that can't afford to pay for the program, initially throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, then state wide and eventually nationwide.

Jazz is recognized around the world for its rich cultural heritage rooted in the African-American experience. Since its inception in the early 20th century, jazz has contributed to and been a reflection of American culture and is widely considered to be the only truly original American art form. Yet, most Americans graduate from high school with little knowledge of the history or importance of jazz. In order to provide a “hands on” educational experience about jazz for our nation's students, the Jazz Education Ensemble has developed a live, interactive, jazz curriculum featuring live performances as well as music classes for students of all ages. Our goal is to be able to offer jazz instruction and education to our nation’s youth, on a national basis and free of charge to students and their parents or guardians.

Along with training and providing opportunities for the next generation of jazz artists to enjoy performing, the Jazz Education Ensemble is dedicated to developing jazz audiences for the future and enriching lives in the process. Our mission is to help incorporate jazz history into public elementary, middle, and high school social studies and American history classes beginning with San Francisco Bay Area schools and expanding beyond as time and resources allow.

Our performances include three components:

1) Story telling the chronological history of jazz from the early 1900’s through current times

2) Musical performances of jazz tunes from each period during the development of jazz

3) Student participation allowing music students and non-music students alike to perform on stage and in the audience along with professional jazz musicians   

 In addition to our educational concerts the Jazz Education Ensemble offers beginning jazz classes to elementary school students. 

The curriculum is taught during 45-minute classes that have been designed to be either stand-alone music instruction courses or a integral components of social studies courses. Each set of the age-appropriate lesson plans presents an historical overview, examines characteristics of various jazz styles, and highlights contributions of important performers and composers. Most importantly, they underscore the social, economic, and political contexts within which jazz evolved, providing an additional and engaging modality for the study of American History. Each lesson highlights interdisciplinary connections among content areas, promoting interdisciplinary instruction and stimulating further communication among educators, students, parents, and the public. 

 While helping to create a greater understanding of and appreciation for jazz and its contribution to and reflections of American culture, the Jazz Education Ensemble also provides insight into such intangibles as teamwork, freedom with responsibility, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the American spirit. The study of jazz helps students develop a better understanding of and respect for this country's diverse cultural heritage. And, perhaps, there is no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble -- individual freedom but with responsibility to the group. 



Our Sponsors and Benefactors


Jazz Education Ensemble extends its deepest appreciation to our sponsors, benefactors and supporters

Foundations & Related Support

California Arts Council

City of Oakland

Joseph and Mercedes McMicking Foundation

Business Partners

Alexis Entertainment Group

Challenge to Learning

Intersection for the Arts

Kaiser Elementary School

Photon Creative Video Agency

Thornhill Elementary School

Individual Support

Ken Ellis -Videography

Kristin Fairfield - Instructor

Linda Green - Instructor

Nia Jacobs - Administrative Support

Robert Jacobs - Instructor

In Kind Support

Jeanne Bernard

Sally Bonini

Teresa Contreras

Stephen Daubenspeck

Dennis Guikema

Sherry Kaetzel

Claudia McCarthy

Maya Novack

Zettie Ruane

Tony Sotelo

Robert Wilkins

Donated Professional Services

Eje' Lynn-Jacobs - Sound Management

Leon Joyce, Jr. - Stage Management