George Lucas Educational Foundation

At what age should the musical styles of jazz be introduced to young musician?

At what age should the musical styles of jazz be introduced to young musician?

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Adam Fuechsl's picture

Jazz should be introduced as soon as children can count to four, clap their hands together, and stomp around the room. Jazz is one of the few things in existence that is truly an American creation and our children need to be exposed to this art that is a centerpiece of our culture. It frightens me when I talk to middle school students who have never heard of Duke Ellington, Louis Armstong, Count Basie, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton or any other innovators and creators of jazz. These should be household names in America! Every student needs exposure jazz, not just the ones who play instruments. General Music courses can teach jazz standards and 12 bar blues and incorporate basic improv concepts into the curriculum. This should not be done as a "jazz unit" but needs to be involved continuously throughout the entire scope of curriculum. Students in our schools deserve to learn about their own American culture and as music educators it is our duty to expose them to jazz. Any child can learn to clap on 2 + 4 and any child can learn to appreciate jazz.

Claire Hogan's picture
Claire Hogan
General Music Specialist, Grades K-6, Worthington, Ohio

I agree! I incorporate Jazz with every grade level I teach, and believe me, Kindergarteners LOVE to listen and move to jazz! Chop Monster Jr. is a wonderful resource for introducing young learners to this genre.

Theresa Stager's picture

We incorporate jazz into the curriculum immediately in Michigan. By the end of first grade they will be able to tell the difference between jazz and classical music, and will be able to aurally give their responses to this. Jazz is the basis to so many different styles of music. Teach it as early as possible.

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