Jazz Education Network Gets NEA Grant to Support Trad Jazz Curriculum Project
Posted 6/20/2013

The Jazz Education Network (JEN) has been awarded a $40,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support final production and distribution of the Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit.

The Traditional Jazz Curriculum Project has developed a package for teaching traditional jazz styles to high school and college students. The Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit provides music teachers with tools to teach young people how to perform the early New Orleans styles of jazz and their outgrowths. The kit contains lesson plans; music arrangements, transcriptions and lead sheets; a sampler CD; an instructional double-DVD; a resources guide; a jazz style guide; and a poster. The curriculum has been successfully piloted across the country and is tied to the National Standards for Music Education.

While jazz education programs are widespread in schools, there hasn’t been a formalized curriculum for teaching New Orleans-derived styles until now. The Traditional Jazz Curriculum Project will acquaint students with the music of Louis Armstrong, Joe “King” Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, Lu Watters, Turk Murphy, Eddie Condon and later exponents of traditional styles, including the top traditional jazz artists of today.

“JEN is honored to have the prestigious support of the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Mary Jo Papich, JEN co-founder and past president. “We are excited about reviving traditional jazz in the instrumental music school curriculum. Dave Robinson, project director, has worked very hard to develop a quality package for teachers and students.”

Robinson, founder of the Traditional Jazz Educators Network, said, “Traditional or ‘trad’ jazz isn’t merely a historical footnote; it is a living, breathing art form that remains exciting and relevant today, yet it has slipped off the radar screens of many jazz educators. This project will give today’s educators and students the tools they need to get involved in this aspect of the music.”

A requirement of the NEA grant is that it must be matched from other funding sources. JEN is currently seeking support from individuals and foundations to bring the project to fruition.

JEN is one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The recommended grants total $26.3 million and span 13 artistic disciplines and fields.

In August 2012, the NEA received 1,547 eligible applications for Art Works grants requesting more than $80 million in funding. Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff, and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and merit. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, visit the NEA website.

Formed in 2008, JEN is dedicated to building the jazz arts community by advancing education, promoting performance and developing new audiences. JEN hosts an annual conference serving the international jazz community. For more information, visit the JEN website.

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Dave Robinson, director of the Traditional Jazz Curriculum Project

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