Vice President for Education & Curriculum Development Dr. JB Dyas began a marathon tour of public schools this month as part of the Institute’s national Performing Arts High Schools (PAHS) initiative. The tour will take Dr. Dyas to six partner schools in five states and include intensive instruction for students and faculty across a variety of settings.
Partner schools served on this tour include the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts in Dallas, Texas; Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey; and New Orleans Center for Creative Arts. Taken together, the six institutions represent a high-achieving cross-section of the nation’s public performing arts high schools. They boast an impressive cohort of graduates, counting renowned jazz masters like Wayne Shorter, Sarah Vaughan, Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Norah Jones and Roy Hargrove among their alumni.
As part of his in-school visits, which are designed to complement the Institute’s year-round program of daily and weekly instruction by professional jazz artists, Dr. Dyas provides faculty development training, rehearses the schools’ big bands and smaller jazz combos, presents master classes and workshops, and gives private lessons. The visits have proven to be a highlight of each school’s jazz education offerings.
The Performing Arts High Schools initiative brings the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists into performing arts-focused secondary schools in cities across the country. The Institute provides consultation on curriculum development and instructional methodology, regular visits by guest artists and educators, private lessons, and intensive instruction. 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 world-renowned jazz musicians in public high schools across the nation.
The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz announced today that its Peer-to-Peer jazz education program will visit Fargo and Sioux Falls public schools from April 16-20. Accompanied by renowned teaching artists Don Braden and Lisa Henry, six of the country’s most gifted high school music students will present educational “informances” (informational performances) and workshops for thousands of students.
Besides playing jazz at a level that belies their years, the touring students will talk with their Fargo and Sioux Falls peers about what jazz is, why it’s important to America, and how a jazz ensemble represents a perfect democracy. They also will discuss the important American values jazz represents: teamwork; freedom with responsibility; unity with ethnic diversity; the correlation of hard work and goal accomplishment; and the importance of finding a passion early in life, being persistent, and believing in yourself. When young people hear this message from kids their same age, they are often more likely to listen.
The members of the all-star sextet selected nationwide to participate in the Dakotas tour include trumpeter Stéphane Clément, 17, and alto saxophonist Julian Gonzalez, 17, from Miami; guitarist Jordan Reifkind, 17, and bassist Dario Bizio, 16, from Los Angeles; pianist Tyler Henderson, 16, from Houston; and drummer Jeremiah Collier, 17, from Chicago. All of the students participate in the Institute’s National Performing Arts High School Jazz Program, receiving ongoing instruction from the Institute’s outstanding teaching artists and performing with world-renowned guest artists.
The weeklong tour, coinciding with Jazz Appreciation Month and the run-up to International Jazz Day, will conclude with a performance open to the public on April 20 at Sioux Falls’ premier listening venue, Fernson on 8th, where Sioux Falls residents and visitors are invited to enjoy an evening of music with Braden and Henry alongside jazz’s future young lions.
The students of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance will visit Phoenix, Arizona public schools next week as part of a four-day jazz education tour. Supported by the Arizona Community Foundation’s Black Philanthropy Initiative, the tour brings the Institute’s Class of 2018 to work with thousands of students at five schools:
Carl Hayden High School
Herrera School for the Fine Arts and Dual Language
Moon Valley High School
North High School
Thunderbird High School
Students Luca Alemanno (bass), Alex Hahn (alto saxophone), Jon Hatamiya (trombone), Anthony Fung (drums), Julio Maza (tenor saxophone) and Simon Moullier (vibraphone) will share their talents with the next generation of jazz musicians, as well as students yet to be introduced to the music. Each visit begins with an assembly for the entire school, featuring an “informance” (informational performance) on the history and theory of jazz. The Institute group then meets with each school’s student jazz band, where they workshop improvisation and ensemble skills and provide one-on-one and sectional instruction by instrument. Renowned jazz drummer Lewis Nash, a Phoenix native, will join the Institute’s musicians at one of the high schools.
The Institute has led jazz education programs in Arizona for years. The 2018 visit marks the second for our current college class. The Institute’s Peer-to-Peer program has also made a positive impact in the state. Most recently in 2015, vocalist Charenee Wade and guitarist Bobby Broom, along with a quintet of talented high schoolers from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Arts, presented workshops at schools across Phoenix and Tucson.
Interactive, public school-based initiatives are a hallmark of the Institute’s approach, which stresses students’ direct interaction with accomplished jazz musicians and jazz masters through informances, clinics and—best of all—putting instruction into practice through performance.