Through the Institute’s Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours, gifted student musicians from the National Performing Arts High Schools program present weeklong tours for their peers in other cities. The student musicians are accompanied by distinguished guest artists including vocalist Lisa Henry, saxophonists Antonio Hart and Bobby Watson, guitarist Kevin Eubanks, trumpeters Ingrid Jensen, Ambrose Akinmusire and Terell Stafford, pianists Herbie Hancock and Gerald Clayton, and bassist Christian McBride.
In May 2023, Institute students traveled to Arkansas and Virginia for intensive performances, workshops and presentations for students at public middle and high schools. Accompanied by jazz masters Don Braden, Sean Jones and Lisa Henry, the Peer-to-Peer groups also gave highly-anticipated concerts for local audiences at Fayetteville’s Walton Arts Center and renowned Washington, D.C. jazz club Blues Alley.
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The Institute is also proud to maintain a longstanding collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education (ED), each year presenting a highly-anticipated educational “informance” – a combination of performance and educational information – at ED headquarters featuring some of the nation’s most talented high school jazz musicians sharing key lessons from jazz.
On each day of the Peer-to-Peer tour, the musicians present an informance (informational performance) for the entire student body at a different school. They play various styles of jazz and talk with the student audiences about what jazz is, why it is important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. Throughout each presentation, the student musicians and guest artists provide further insight into important values that jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment, and the importance of finding a passion for something early in life and being persistent.
Following each informance, the guest instrumental artist presents a jazz workshop for the host school’s jazz band in which the visiting student performers play alongside their like-instrument counterparts, providing hands-on tutelage peer-to-peer. At the same time, the guest vocalist presents a vocal jazz workshop for the school’s choir. Each tour also includes public concerts at local jazz clubs or other performance venues, giving the touring student ensembles invaluable experience performing with renowned artists while developing jazz audiences for the future.
Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours have been presented in Anchorage, Austin, Berkeley, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Indianapolis, Honolulu, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Oakland, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Rochester, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle. Each year, the program has resonated with students and adults alike.
The Peer-to-Peer program has impacted students in a total of 41 U.S. states, plus the District of Columbia, since launching in 2005, with plans calling for tours to the remaining nine states in the coming years.
The Herbie Hancock Institute’s National Peer-to-Peer Education Program has lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and United Airlines.