Performing Arts High Schools
Through the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, the Institute brings respected jazz musicians and educators into a dozen public performing arts high schools in cities across the country to provide intensive jazz training for exceptionally gifted and motivated student musicians. This specialized performance-based program enables students to participate in small combos and receive instruction in theory, composition, improvisation, history, and styles, preparing them to attend leading college, university, and conservatory music programs. The program offers students the opportunity to participate in a highly specialized performance-based jazz curriculum, study with some of the world’s most eminent jazz artists, and perform in jazz combos comprised of their peers.
With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to impact learning across the country, the Institute is working closely with teachers and officials at each of its partner schools to offer instruction that meets student needs while also adhering to all public health policies in the relevant school district. The Institute is continuing to offer virtual programming where necessary.
The Institute Experience
The Institute provides the performing arts high schools with consultation regarding curriculum development and instructional methodology, periodic residencies by Institute staff, high-profile performance opportunities, and visiting guest artists and educators, as well as private lessons for each participant. In addition, the Institute invites combos from selected schools to participate in weeklong Peer-to-Peer Jazz Education Tours in which the students perform with renowned guest artists in public high schools across the nation. The visiting students perform at assembly programs and conduct jazz workshops, playing alongside their like-instrument counterparts and providing hands-on tutelage peer to peer. Of particular importance, they teach their peers about the values jazz represents: teamwork, unity with ethnic diversity, and freedom with responsibility. Each tour culminates with a public concert, providing invaluable performance experience for the participating students.
In April 2022, the Institute returned to the U.S. Department of Education headquarters in Washington, D.C. for its first in-person informance since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The session was hosted by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and featured students from the National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program, with Secretary Cardona joining the ensemble on percussion! Read more, and watch the entire informance, by clicking here.
The National Performing Arts High Schools Jazz Program is offered at:
- Arts High School (Newark)
- Baltimore School for the Arts
- Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Dallas)
- Chicago High School for the Arts
- Duke Ellington School of the Arts (Washington, DC)
- Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (Houston)
- Los Angeles County High School for the Arts
- Music and Performing Arts Academy at Hamilton High School (Los Angeles)
- New Orleans Center for Creative Arts*
*2021-22 program dedicated to the memory of Lynda Thomas
- New World School of the Arts (Miami)
- Ramon C. Cortines School of Visual and Performing Arts (Los Angeles)
- Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts
Recent program highlights include master classes led by pianists Danilo Perez and Helen Sung, saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeters James Morrison and Rashawn Ross, and a virtual jazz informance featuring students from the program along with Institute Chairman Herbie Hancock and U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. Students have performed at the U.S. Capitol, at a reception for the Congressional Black Caucus, at the U.S. Department of Education, and at the DC Jazz Festival.
Los Angeles highlights include master classes conducted by pianist Kenny Barron, guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Jimmy Heath, and trombonist Steve Turre. Program participants have performed for tens of thousands of people at the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Hollywood Bowl, and the Staples Center. In New Jersey, an all-star group of students recently had the incredible opportunity to record an album at the studios of legendary engineer Rudy Van Gelder. Overall, the program continues to have a tremendous impact on both the participating students and the community.