Jazz Goes to School, the Vail Jazz Foundation’s music education program for 4th and 5th graders, returns to Eagle County schools starting March 3. This third session brings a trio of professional musician/educators into 15 local schools to share their love of jazz and American History, and to inspire young people to embrace America’s own art form, whether as spectator or musician.
The program is lead by musician/educator Tony Gulizia. “When the kids get to use their own hands to play an instrument as they do in this session, the beauty of the music really comes alive for them. They understand how it works and why improvisation is at the heart of all jazz music,” said Gulizia.
In this session, Gulizia is joined by two jazz educators – his brother, Joey, drums and Andy Hall, bass as they introduce the blues scale and other techniques used in improvisation. Students are taught the notes of the blues scale and musical concepts like dissonance and syncopation. With this foundation, the older students then get a chance to try their hand at creating their own jazz by writing 12 bar blues compositions, lyrics put to a blues beat. At the final concert on May 5 and 6 at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, a selection of the students’ blues compositions will be presented in medley to the delight of the young composers who are scattered in the audience. The surprise on their faces when they realize they just heard their lyrics is unforgettable.
“Most kids would never be exposed to jazz, much less understand its development and relevance to American history, without this program”, said Dawn Vallejos, music teacher at Eagle Valley and Edwards Elementary Schools. The program provides music teachers with a comprehensive curriculum, pre- and post- lesson plans and follow up activities, all of which complement the three sessions with the musicians in the classroom.
Jazz Goes to School, now in its sixteenth year, supports and promotes the jazz art form with a focus on educating young audiences – fulfilling the mission of the Vail Jazz Foundation. Jazz Goes to School is presented by the Vail Jazz Foundation (VJF) to Eagle County 4th and 5th graders, including all public schools plus the Eagle County Charter Academy, Vail Mountain School, Vail Christian Academy, Stone Creek Elementary Schools and St. Clare of Assisi. Jazz Goes to School will reach over 1,100 Eagle County students this school year and has exposed over 15,000 students to this unique American art form since its inception.
Jammin’ Jazz Kids, an outgrowth of Jazz Goes to School, which debuted in 2013, will be expanded to offer 9 programs during the month of July in 2014. These will include free interactive programs each Sunday at the Vail Farmers’ Market and more in depth sessions each Monday, in partnership with the Vail Recreation District. The Monday programs will be fee-based and will last 90 minutes.
Jazz Goes to School offers an interactive musical learning experience that enhances the basic school curriculum. The program is provided free of charge, thanks to the support of each school’s PTO/PTA and program sponsors including Alpine Bank, Vail Resorts Echo, Vilar Community Performance Fund, Colorado Mountain Express (Official Transportation Provider), Eagle County RE-50J School District, Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, United Way of Eagle River Valley, Rocky Mountain Reprographics and other corporate and individual sponsors.