The DC Jazz Festival Music Education Program provides free and low-cost education programs to over 2,500 DC Public and Charter School students, teachers, and their families, especially in underserved communities; and serves 4,800 through Jazz ’n Families Fun Days, a prelude to our annual festival. From early childhood through to adult learners, the DCJF Education Program engages and enhances the lives of a vast demographic of DC Metro-area community members with robust and comprehensive programming. The DC Jazz Festival is a recipient of the 2018 Wells Fargo Cultural Excellence Grant based on our fundamental ground work with DC Jazz Bops! and the 2018 DC Mayor’s Art Award for Excellence in Creative Industries–presenting great concerts and high-quality music education programs throughout the DC area.
In partnership with Sitar Arts Center, Jazzin’ AfterSchool provides year-round weekly instrument training and jazz history sessions for Sitar music students. Bassist, educator and George Washington University music professor Herman Burney (who has accompanied the likes of Nnenna Freelon, Marcus Roberts, Wynton Marsalis, Monty Alexander, Etta Jones and Natalie Cole to name a few) leads this popular course which also features visiting guest artist clinicians. Each semester, students enrolled in this course are joined by upwards of 80 other Sitar music students for a lively masterclass session focusing exclusively on jazz performance, history, and appreciation. A core group of students performs in a culminating concert at Sitar Arts Center for their peers, teachers, and families and also are featured each year in an exceptional performance at the DC Jazz Festival’s Jazz 'N Family Fun Days event.
Jazz 'n Families Fun Days®
The DC Jazz Festival presents its highly popular Jazz 'n Families Fun Days each June. This free two-day annual program serves thousands of students, teachers, and families. Hosted and in collaboration with The Phillips Collection; Jazz 'n Families Fun Days celebrates the synergy between jazz and the visual arts with family-oriented live jazz performances, storytelling, art workshops, and instrument petting zoo.
DC Jazz Bops!
“Over the past year, we have seen our toddlers delight in the musical and storytelling activities led by your engaging teaching artists.” – Dr. Chimere Jones, Covenant House
DC Jazz Bops! The DC Jazz Festival’s early childhood education program, uses jazz-inspired books, storytelling, and interactive lessons to establish early music skills, encourage good social and behavioral development, and promote an early interest in reading and mathematics. Using a collection of award-winning literature and dynamic lesson plans, we share stories about the joy of jazz and the lives of jazz legends, in an accessible and child-friendly environment. Each session is paired with a recommended playlist allowing young learners to sing, dance, and explore long after the class is over. DC Jazz Bops aims to offer children and caregivers the opportunity to explore jazz as a tool to educate and express themselves together.
Meet the Artist
The Meet the Artist series is a year-round endeavor with its heaviest concentration of activities during our festival season. This series provides a rare opportunity for DCJF audiences to get “up close & personal” with the artists we present. These are free-of-charge, one-on-one interview sessions before an audience that engage artists in dialogue on their artistic and career development, including insights into their creative process, affiliations along with their respective artistic journey, and their views on society, including dialogue on elements of social change.
Our Meet the Artist sessions are designed to provide DCJF audiences with artist insights off the bandstand, and presenting unique opportunities to learn about these creative people beyond the performance of their craft. These sessions serve to “demystify” the jazz art form for our audiences, providing them with ample occasion for their inquiries and questions to artists beyond those posed by our interviewers. Interviewers for these sessions are historians, educators, and media jazz authorities whose expertise engages lively, informative, and insightful opportunities to Meet the Artist.
Fishman Artist Embassy Series
The Charles Fishman Artist Embassy Series, named in honor of DC Jazz Festival Founder Charles Fishman, shines the spotlight on established professional jazz artists of all ages. The Embassy Series is a year-round program hosted at some of the finest Embassies in Washington, DC. Embassy partners have included the Embassies of France, Italy, Morocco, Turkey, Singapore, Switzerland, India, Japan, Colombia, and the Mexican Cultural Institute. 2018 partners include the embassies of France, Italy, Switzerland, Peru, Korea, Japan, and Luxembourg.