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Jazz Lesson Plans & Resources

Why Jazz Education?

Band directors are often tasked with teaching jazz band, but most have never taken a jazz pedagogy course. Most directors that do have jazz performance experience gained it by performing in a high school or college ensemble, but those who do not play a traditional jazz instrument may have had few or no opportunities to participate in a jazz ensemble. With no training and little to no experience, it is understandable that these directors are hesitant to teach jazz! This lack of experience should not be a stumbling block to jazz education. 

But why should anyone take on the challenge of jazz education? 

Jazz offers many opportunities that are not inherently found in traditional concert music taught in schools. The jazz ensemble generally teaches part independence, having only one player on each part. With this arrangement, each student is a “soloist” and an integral part of the ensemble sound. Jazz is also a truly American art form. Jazz promotes individual creativity. Perhaps the most prominent reason for jazz education is the art of improvisation.

For the music director with little to no jazz experience, jazz pedagogy can be intimidating and the lack of experience a deterrent to developing a jazz program. This resource presents a starting point for the hesitant jazz educator. It is not all-inclusive, and there is much left for the director to learn, but by having access to a few simple lesson plans and resources, directors have a place to begin.

For sample lesson plans and activities, check out the Lesson Plans page.


Don't know who to listen to? Look through the Suggested Listening page. 

Want to learn more? Browse the Resources page. 

Interested in some research about this project? Check it out here: 

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