Announcing two free ways to learn about jazz this summer

The Institute is pleased to announce two free summer jazz programs to help students across the United States and around the world engage in new ways with jazz, its rich history and its legacy of diversity and innovation. Starting June 22 with Jazz in America, Institute Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas will explore the complex origins of jazz music, rooted in the African-American experience in the United States, with three 8-session mini-courses for students in grades 4-12. On June 25, Institute teaching artists will launch a 10-week BeBop to Hip-Hop Summer Program for aspiring high school producers, musicians and rappers to learn collaboratively from some of the most renowned names in hip-hop. Both programs are offered at no cost to participants.

The Institute’s virtual summer jazz programs are made possible through the generous support of AT&T.

Jazz in America Summer Sessions

What is jazz? Where did it come from? Take a journey through the history of America’s greatest musical gift to the world with this free 8-session webinar series taught by Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President of Education & Curriculum Development. Students will learn about basic musical concepts like melody, harmony and improvisation; discuss how jazz began as a uniquely American art form; become familiar with the key eras of jazz, including swing, bebop, modal jazz, fusion and more; and hear and see performances by important jazz innovators like Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Billie Holiday and Herbie Hancock.

Mini-courses are offered for students in grades 10-12 (June 22-July 8), grades 7-9 (July 13-29) and grades 4-6 (August 3-12). Advance registration is required. Learn more

BeBop to Hip-Hop summer jazz program

For more than 15 years, the Institute’s BeBop to Hip-Hop program has brought together jazz and hip-hop students under the direction of professional jazz musicians and hip-hop artists to create a new art form demonstrating the genius of both musical genres. Aspiring young artists study the musical dynamics of both jazz and hip-hop and learn about the historical influence of jazz on hip-hop.

The BeBop to Hip-Hop summer jazz program will allow promising emcees, rappers, lyricists, producers, turntablists, vocalists and musicians in grades 9-12 to learn directly from some of the industry’s most accomplished figures. Instructors including DJ Khalil, Mike and Keys, and Tariq Beats (with more to be announced) will guide students as they create original music over the course of 10 sessions. Applications are required and will be accepted through Tuesday, June 23.

Students will meet with instructors online each Thursday from 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm PDT/7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT starting June 25th and running through August 27th. In between sessions, students will be given assignments by instructors to help them develop their original music and prepare for the culminating online performance. Learn More

International Jazz Day 2020 Virtual Celebration Features Artists From Across the Globe

Top jazz artists will lead interactive educational sessions in six languages

Video submissions from around the world to be featured on

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 9th annual International Jazz Day worldwide celebration will transition to a virtual format for 2020 instead of taking place as previously planned in Cape Town, South Africa and other locations around the world on April 30th.

International Jazz Day 2020 will take place online and be hosted by Herbie Hancock. The day’s centerpiece will be a virtual Global Concert featuring artists from across the globe, streamed live on The concert will begin at 3:00 pm US eastern time and will feature performances by Marcus Miller, Lang Lang, Charlie Puth, Cécile McLorin Salvant, John McLaughlin, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Sibongile Khumalo, Alune Wade, John Beasley, Ben Williams, Lizz Wright, John Scofield, Igor Butman, Evgeny Pobozhiy, Youn Sun Nah, A Bu, Jane Monheit, and Joey DeFrancesco, among others.

Leading up to the virtual Global Concert, there will be a free series of educational masterclasses, children’s activities and discussions via web conference featuring renowned educators and jazz artists, streamed live via

Schedule of Free Masterclasses, Children’s Activities and Panel Discussions:

LanguageFormatArtistUS ET
ChineseMasterclassA Bu06h00
ArabicMasterclassTarek Yamani09h00
SpanishMasterclassDanilo Pérez11h00
RussianMasterclassIgor Butman11h30
FrenchChildren’s activityDee Dee Bridgewater12h00
EnglishChildren’s activityOran Etkin12h30
EnglishPanelNate Chinen, Sibongile Khumalo,
Marcus Miller
EnglishMasterclassLwanda Gogwana14h00

The program will also include a panel hosted by Nate Chinen, Director of Editorial Content for WBGO and chief jazz contributor to NPR Music, addressing how International Jazz Day, and art in general, can be a relevant response to the social isolation precipitated by the current public health crisis. The panel will feature artist participants including GRAMMY Award-winning bassist and composer Marcus Miller and legendary South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo. A live audience will be able to submit questions throughout the session. NPR will co-host a live stream of the virtual International Jazz Day activities.

International Jazz Day would not be possible without the thousands of independent organizers around the world who faithfully help bring the message of this unique music into their communities each year on April 30.

UNESCO and the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz have issued a call for these organizers, artists and fans around the world to create video messages, audio recordings and other expressions of participation to show solidarity with everyone affected by the pandemic. Submissions will be featured as part of the daylong virtual celebrations on Submission criteria are available at

Herbie Hancock, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue and Co-Chair of International Jazz Day, said, “These are unprecedented times for world citizens and we are most grateful for the support, understanding and partnership of our Jazz Day community. Armed with optimism, patience and grace, we’ll work through these challenges as families, communities, countries and as a stronger united world. Now more than ever before, let’s band together and spread the ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement around the planet and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect, especially in the midst of all this isolation and uncertainty.”

Our deep gratitude and appreciation go to the South African Department of Sports, Arts and Culture; South African Tourism; South African National Commission for UNESCO; City of Cape Town, SPIN Foundation; many local partners and community leaders in South Africa; and the worldwide International Jazz Day community for their efforts in support of International Jazz Day 2020.

Established by the General Conference of UNESCO in 2011 at the initiative of UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock, and recognized by the United Nations General Assembly, International Jazz Day brings together countries and communities worldwide every April 30th to celebrate jazz and highlight the music’s important role in encouraging dialogue, combating discrimination and promoting human dignity. International Jazz Day has become a global movement reaching more than two billion people annually on all seven continents, including Antarctica, through education programs, performances, community outreach, radio, television and streaming, along with electronic, print and social media. The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is UNESCO’s official partner in the organization and promotion of International Jazz Day.


Click here to download this advisory as a PDF

For more information, contact

To learn more about International Jazz Day and register events on the official website, visit or

Institute Education VP Presents Jazz Piano Clinic at Annual SCSBOA Conference

A man sits with his hands on an electric keyboard
Dr. JB Dyas presents a jazz piano chord voicings clinic at the annual SCSBOA Conference on January 18, 2020

Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development, presented a piano voicings workshop and participated in a best practices panel discussion at the 2020 Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) Annual Conference. The three-day conference welcomed more than 500 band directors, music teachers, and honors students representing elementary, middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities.

“The primary purpose of the clinic was to teach non-pianist band directors how to teach the piano players in their jazz ensembles to form authentic jazz chord voicings from chord symbols,” Dyas explains. “When I work with high school jazz bands around the country, I find that too often the pianists are just playing basic chords, not jazz chords, simply because they haven’t been taught how to play jazz chords.”

Utilizing a series of mnemonics, Dyas explained and demonstrated how any jazz voicing can be transposed easily to any key. “Once you understand the system and see how the chords are formed,” Dyas adds, “playing them in all keys, and progressing smoothly from one chord to another, is a snap!”

Dyas also participated in a “Best Practices” panel discussion alongside Dan St. Marseille and Charlie Richard, directors of jazz studies for California Baptist University and Riverside City College, respectively. The panelists fielded questions from the audience regarding the best ways to teach key jazz topics and direct ensembles.

“The main point I wanted to get across was that a jazz ensemble should not be a ‘concert band with a swing beat,’ with everyone just reading their part,” Dyas iterated. “In jazz, every band member should know what’s going on, and that includes knowing the form and chord progression for all the tunes they’re playing. And it’s imperative that everyone listen to the definitive recordings of the tunes they’re working on, know who the seminal players are, and emulate them; this experience will inform and inspire their own individual voices.”

Read more from Dr. Dyas

Learn about the Institute’s public school jazz education programs

National Performing Arts High Schools Students Perform at 2020 JEN Conference in New Orleans

Combos from three partner schools in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program participated in the annual Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conference in New Orleans on January 8 and 9, 2020. The Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) Jazz Quartet and a combo of top students from the Baltimore School for the Arts and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts each performed a set, sharing a bill with distinguished artists including Tia Fuller, Sean Jones, Dick Oatts, Terell Stafford, Chucho Valdés, and Mark Whitfield.

“I’m so proud of the way these students performed and comported themselves,” said Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President for Education and Curriculum Development. “They have made incredible progress since the last time I worked with them just a few months ago!”

A man stands in the foreground playing his trumpet with a group of students, also playing instruments.
Internationally renowned jazz trumpeter Jon Faddis performs with students from the Baltimore School for the Arts and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts at the 2020 JEN Conference in New Orleans

Remembering jazz giants

Contributing to the ongoing centennial celebrations for the late jazz icons Charlie Parker and Dave Brubeck, the ChiArts Quartet performed noteworthy standards by both artists, including Parker’s “Donna Lee” and “Anthropology” and Brubeck’s “Koto Song” and “Here Comes McBride.” The Baltimore/New Orleans combo performed a set of early New Orleans jazz tunes, including “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Just a Closer Walk with Thee.” They incorporated modern twists in the style of Gumbo Nouveau, the noted album by New Orleans’ own Nicholas Payton. Internationally renowned jazz trumpeter and Institute teaching artist Jon Faddis joined the group for its finale, Bourbon Street Parade.

“My hat’s off to not only these talented students but, especially, their excellent directors, Anthony Bruno, Ed Hrybyk and Michael Pellera,” added Dyas. “They keep producing superlative young players, year after year, reassuring all of us that the future of our music is in good hands.”

Four students playing jazz instruments perform on a stage with a black backdrop.
The Chicago High School for the Arts Jazz Quartet Performs at the 2020 JEN Conference in New Orleans. From left: Jaden Berkman (senior), Claudia Easterwood (junior), Leo Milano (freshman), Simon Burke-Kaiser (senior)

Newport Festivals Foundation supports Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA with donation of instruments

The Newport Festivals Foundation made a generous donation of musical instruments to the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, helping to ensure that current and future students in the program will have access to top-of-the-line tools for honing their craft.

The Sakae drumset, Zildjian cymbals and Korg Kronos keyboard contributed by the Foundation will be used by the Institute’s students throughout the year as they study, compose, rehearse and perform under the guidance of Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and Artists-in-Residence like Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, Billy Childs, Chris Potter and many others.

The leading graduate-level college program of its kind, the Institute of Jazz Performance is a tuition-free, two-year program that accepts one ensemble of musicians for each class. All of the students receive full scholarships, as well as stipends to cover their monthly living expenses. The musicians study both individually and as a small group, receiving personal mentoring, ensemble coaching, and lectures on the jazz tradition. They are also encouraged to experiment in expanding jazz in new directions through their compositions and performances.

The Institute and the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music thank the Newport Festivals Foundation for its generosity, and for bolstering our efforts to help exceptional students develop into the jazz masters of tomorrow.

Application now available for 2019 Guitar Competition

The 2019 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition will be presented on December 2-3 in Washington, D.C. The Competition is open to all guitarists who plan to pursue jazz performance as a career. Eligibility is exclusive to guitarists who are 30 years of age and under as of December 3, 2019. Applicants must not have any binding record label or distribution affiliations. Applicants must be free, willing and able to accept all prize awards, including a recording contract with Concord Music Group.

Prizes and scholarships will be awarded as follows:

First place – $30,000 and Concord Music Group recording contract
Second place – $15,000
Third place – $10,000

Fifty percent of each prize will be paid directly toward the winners’ future musical studies. The remaining funds may be applied toward music education expenses or the promotion of the winners’ careers.


The application for the 2019 Guitar Competition can be found here. All materials must be submitted no later than Friday, October 11, 2019. Please email any questions to Leonard Brown or call +1 (202) 364-7272.

Access the 2019 Competition Application

Worldwide celebration of International Jazz Day, 30 April to kick off in Australia

The 2019 All-Star Global Concert will be webcast for free on, YouTube and Facebook at 15:00 UTC / 11:00 New York / 16:00 Paris on Tuesday, April 30.

Paris and Washington, D.C.—UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock today announced the programme for the 2019 edition of International Jazz Day, which will be launched in Australia and celebrated in more than 190 countries around the world.

Global Concert to take place in Melbourne

On 29 and 30 April, a wide range of jazz performances, education programmes and community service initiatives will be presented in partnership with the Melbourne Conservatorium, University of Melbourne, featuring more than a dozen celebrated jazz masters. The events on International Jazz Day itself (30 April) will culminate in an All-Star Global Concert at the Melbourne Arts Centre’s renowned Hamer Hall.  It will be webcast via YouTube, Facebook, the United Nations and UNESCO to millions of viewers worldwide.

The Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall will host the 2019 All-Star Global Concert with Herbie Hancock, James Morrison and others.

More than 30 world-renowned artists

Iconic jazz pianist Herbie Hancock (USA) and acclaimed trumpeter James Morrison (Australia) will serve as artistic co-directors of the All-Star Global Concert, and John Beasley (USA) will serve as the evening’s musical director. The concert will feature performances by an international roster of artists from more than a dozen countries. Confirmed artists include: Cieavash Arian (Iran),William Barton (Australia), Dee Dee Bridgewater (USA), Till Brönner (Germany), A Bu (China), Igor Butman (Russian Federation), Eli Degibri (Israel), Kurt Elling (USA), Matthew Jodrell (Australia), Ledisi (USA), Eijiro Nakagawa (Japan),Mark Nightingale (United Kingdom), Chico Pinheiro (Brazil), Tineke Postma (Netherlands), Antonio Sánchez (Mexico), Nathan Schreiber (Australia), Somi (USA), Lizz Wright (USA), Tarek Yamani (Lebanon).  More artists are expected to be announced.

Artists performing at the 2019 International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert include (from top left) Ledisi, John Beasley (musical director), Kurt Elling, Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock, James Morrison, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Aditya Kalyanpur, Tineke Postma, Antonio Sánchez, Lizz Wright, A Bu, Igor Butman, Somi, William Barton, Mark Nightingale, Joey De Francesco, Ben Williams, Eli Degibri, Eijiro Nakagawa, Brian Blade, Tarek Yamani, Matthew Jodrell, James Genus, Till Brönner, Eric Reed, James Muller, Antonio Hart and Chico Pinheiro, among others.

A global celebration

Thousands of other programmes all over the world will celebrate jazz as a universal language of peace, among them jazz-themed films, lectures, book readings, theatre performances and panel discussions, as well as jam sessions, master classes, and radio and television broadcasts. As in previous years, a majority of International Jazz Day partner activities will focus on education and community impact, benefitting millions of students, academics, professional musicians and music lovers everywhere.

Read the full press release.

Christian McBride Holds Free Master Class During February Residency

Master jazz bassist and nationally recognized broadcaster Christian McBride punctuated his weeklong residency at the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA with a free master class at the Jan Popper Theater last Tuesday. The packed session was webcast live via the Herb Alpert School of Music’s website.

Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance Artist-in-Residence Christian McBride (center) performs with the Institute’s Class of 2020 during his February 12 master class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Photo: Holly Wallace / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

“For some reason, in jazz, when you see female musicians, people tend to [say] ‘that’s unusual.’ We want that to stop.”

Hosted by Hancock Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff, the master class featured live performances with the Institute’s Jazz Performance Ensemble and a Q&A session in which McBride addressed a wide range of topics, including gender equality in music. “For some reason, in jazz, when you see female musicians, people tend to [say] ‘that’s unusual,’” noted McBride. “We want that to stop.”

Institute West Coast Director Daniel Seeff (right) interviews Artist-in-Residence Christian McBride during McBride’s master class at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. Photo: Holly Wallace / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The Tuesday evening event was a highlight of McBride’s latest residency at the Institute’s two-year Jazz Performance program. Over the course of the week, the jazz master worked directly with the Institute’s Class of 2020, both as an ensemble and individually, as well as with students from the broader UCLA community. He also served as a guest lecturer for two UCLA courses—Distinguished Professor Robert Winter’s Analysis for Performers and Jazz and Political Imagination, taught by UCLA Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in U.S. History Robin Kelley.

A six-time Grammy winner, the Philadelphia-born McBride is one of the most requested, most recorded, and most respected figures in the music world today. He currently hosts “The Lowdown” on SiriusXM and NPR’s “Jazz Night in America.”

Intensive learning opportunities with masters of the music are a hallmark of the Institute of Jazz Performance program. Past Artists-in-Residence have included NEA Jazz Masters Dee Dee Bridgewater, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Dianne Reeves and Wayne Shorter, among many others.

Learn more about the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance.

Local to the Los Angeles area? Sign up for our Los Angeles area events mailing list and stay informed about future master classes and other free, public events.

Hancock Institute Brings All-Star High School Jazz Sextet to Oklahoma Public Schools, Feb. 25 – Mar. 1

Tour to feature internationally renowned recording artists Steve Wilson and Lisa Henry

Weeklong series of events includes a performance open to the public at the UCO Jazz Lab on March 1

Washington, DC – With lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz will bring its “Peer-to-Peer” jazz education program to Tulsa and Oklahoma City public schools February 25 – March 1. Combining performance with educational information, these “informances” will be presented by six of the country’s most gifted high school music students along with internationally acclaimed saxophone recording artist Steve Wilson, Kansas City jazz and blues vocalist and a former winner of the Institute’s International Jazz Vocals Competition Lisa Henry, and renowned jazz educator Dr. JB Dyas. Each school visit will include an assembly program featuring musical performances for all students, followed by jazz workshops for each school’s jazz band and choir with the visiting student performers playing alongside and sharing ideas with their Oklahoma counterparts.

The 2018 National Peer-to-Peer All-Star Jazz Sextet, with teaching artists Lisa Henry (far right) and Don Braden (third from right), receive a standing ovation from students and faculty at Roosevelt High School in Sioux Falls, South Dakota during the Institute’s April 2018 Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tour. Photo: Bart Marantz / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Oklahoma tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 18, from Miami; trombonist Adan Montes, 17, and pianist Dalton Hayse, 18, from Los Angeles; guitarist Manny Michael, 17, from Sioux Falls; bassist Bakari Williams, 18, from Dallas; and drummer Nino Aiyer, 17, from Houston.“We’ve really enjoyed working on Mr. Wilson’s compositions the past couple of months,” said Clément, who recently performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC along with Hancock and other jazz greats. “His music covers the full gamut, from swing to contemporary.”

Teaching & Learning, Side by Side

Immediately following the informances, Wilson, Henry, and Dyas will conduct jazz workshops for each host school’s jazz band and choir in which the visiting students will play side-by-side with their Tulsa and Oklahoma City counterparts, providing tutelage peer to peer. In so doing, they will teach and learn from one another not unlike Herbie Hancock did with Miles Davis, Wayne Shorter, and so many other eminent band mates over the past half century. They’ll also learn about each other’s cities and culture.

Guitarist Manny Michael (right) from Sioux Falls, SD, will be one of six talented student jazz musicians visiting Oklahoma public schools as part of the Institute’s upcoming Peer-to-Peer Tour. Photo: Bart Marantz / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

“I’m really looking forward to talking and playing jazz with the Oklahoma students,” added Hayse. “So many great jazz players have come from that part of the country.” Indeed, such jazz icons as Chet Baker, Barney Kessel, Howard McGhee, Jay McShann, Oscar Pettiford, and Jimmy Rushing hail from the Sooner State.

The weeklong tour will conclude with two performances open to the public on March 1st at Oklahoma City’s premier jazz venue, the UCO Jazz Lab (at the University of Central Oklahoma School of Music, 100 E. 5th St. in Edmond), where Oklahoma residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Wilson and Henry alongside jazz’s future “young lions.” The octet will perform standards, jazz classics, and contemporary jazz, including compositions from Wilson’s and Henry’s latest recordings. The shows begin at 8:00 pm and 9:45 pm.

Read the full press release here.

Institute VP recognized at inaugural UCLA Publications Showcase

Dr. JB Dyas, the Institute’s Vice President of Education and Curriculum Development, was recognized today as part of the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music’s inaugural Faculty and Graduate Student Publications Showcase. Sponsored by the Office of the Dean and the UCLA Music Library, the event celebrated a selection of books, individual chapters, and published articles by members of the UCLA music community over the past year.

Dr. Dyas, a leader in jazz education, was honored for his recent articles for prospective and current jazz educators. “Living the dream – how to get a job in jazz education” and “Jazzing up jazz band” both appeared in issues of DownBeat magazine. They provided practical advice for music professionals, with tips for organizing student rehearsals, recommended classroom resources, and the “Theoretic Trilogy” for effective tune learning.

Click here to read “Jazzing up jazz band.”

Also in attendance at the event were Herb Alpert School of Music Founding Dean Judith Smith and Music Department Chair Travis Cross. Librarian Matthew Vest of the UCLA Music Library delivered introductory remarks.

Two men stand smiling in a library in front of a television monitor
Dr. JB Dyas, Institute VP of Education & Curriculum Development (right), with UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music Music Department Chair Travis Cross at the January 29 Publications Showcase. Photo: Holly Wallace / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

Jazz Education, Coast-to-Coast

When he is not contributing his insights to leading jazz education publications, Dr. Dyas leads the Institute’s National Performing Arts High Schools and Peer-to-Peer jazz education programs, which reach thousands of students across the United States every year. Recent Peer-to-Peer tours have brought renowned jazz masters like Don Braden, Bobby Broom and Dayna Stephens into public schools in Savannah, Georgia; St. Augustine, Florida; Fargo, North Dakota; and San Diego, California. Dr. Dyas also headed up the Institute’s groundbreaking National Jazz Curriculum initiative, which provides comprehensive online teaching resources free of charge to history and social studies instructors in primary and secondary school classrooms.

Learn more about the Institute’s public school-based jazz education programs.