Jazz Appreciation Month

Jazz Appreciation Month (or JAM) is intended to draw public attention to the glories of jazz as both an historical and a living treasure. The idea is to encourage musicians, concert halls, schools,colleges, museums, libraries, and public broadcasters to offer special programs on jazz every April.

General Resources

The Smithsonian’s Jazz Appreciation Month website offers a variety of JAM resources, including a calendar of events; downloadable logos, posters, ads, and public service announcements; more than one hundred ideas for celebrating jazz; and webcasts and recorded performances.

PBS has a companion website for Ken Burn’s Jazz documentary. Interactive resources include a map the explores how jazz has changed in clubs and cities over time; a jazz lounge with a virtual piano, Music 101 lessons, and samples of different jazz styles; a comparison of jazz and American histories; discographies and information on jazz instruments; biographies of jazz musicians; and a look at the impact of jazz on popular culture. It also offers a classroom with lessons for grades K–5 and 6–12.

The Library of Congress’ Performing Arts Encyclopedia has a number of jazz resources, such as information on ragtime; photographs from the Golden Age of jazz; and the Gerry Mulligan Collection.

Teaching Resources

The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz hosts the Jazz in America website, which includes lesson plans for grades five, eight, and eleven. It also features a variety of jazz resources, including images, information on musicians, audio clips, and a glossary.

NEA’s Jazz in the Schools website offers lessons on the advent of jazz, the Jazz Age and the Swing Era, bebop and modernism, from the new frontier to the new millennium, and jazz as an American story. It also includes an interactive timeline, music clips to support the lessons, and a list of major artists, also keyed to lesson plans.

ArtsEdge has resources for both students and educators as well as multimedia presentations on such topics as jazz in time; jazz in DC; and jazz music, dance, and poetry.

Library Programming

DC Public Library hosted many events in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month in 2012, including the program, “The A Train Awaits”—which featured Duke Ellington’s “Take the A Train” as a metro ride through books, and included a craft. A workshop for teens used the Mac program Garage Band for teens to make jazz inspired songs of their own. The library also hosted several programs that featured live, local jazz musicians, for adults and families alike.

The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum in Culver City, California, hosted a number of programs this past April in honor of JAM, for audiences of all ages. For children, a program included stories about jazz from the library’s collection, and making instruments from household objects. For adults, programs included concerts, and film screenings, including a showing of the documentary Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock, followed by a talk back, via Skype, with the film’s director.

The Toledo-Lucas County (Ohio) Public Library partnered with Professional Musicians of Northwest Ohio to offer a day-long celebration of jazz. Performers included Jelise & Company, Glenda Biddlestone Quartet, Keith Bernhard and More Jazz Messengers, Cynthia Kay Bennett Quartet, and Gene Parker Quartet. Activities just for children were also held.

Garden City Jazz partnered with area libraries in three Georgia counties to present Sing-Clap-Wiggle-Shake: Jazz4Kids, a series of seven interactive lecture/demos. Children danced, sang, and created jazz from popular nursery rhymes in the forty-five-minute presentations.