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Seattle JazzED Hits a High Note: Funded Winter 2012

Seattle JazzED provides exceptional jazz education and performance opportunities to Seattle area youth, regardless of their prior music instruction or ability to pay.

A Satterberg Foundation Capacity Building Grant funded curriculum evaluation and planning for JazzED.

This class serves students with no previous experience and who have minimal opportunity for music education. While open to any student, the primary purpose of this class is to promote equitable access to high quality music instruction for underserved and at-risk youth. JazzED's goal is that these students will receive the instruction and support that they need to matriculate through the program, eventually achieving advanced levels.

The pilot year had many challenges, as well as some significant successes. The class was filled to capacity at 20 students, of which 75% were children of color and 72% received financial aid. JazzED struggled with issues like consistent attendance, student preparedness, family communication, behavior challenges and varying skill levels. All of these issues were barriers to the students' musical progress. JazzED found that kids whose parents were engaged and present were far more successful in their learning than students whose parents were absent.

Those issues inspired JazzED to adjust their program.  They now ask families to sign participation contracts which state their understanding of JazzED's high expectations of its students. JazzED also has a case manager for the families who need additional support with attendance, communication, and child behavior challenges.

As part of the capacity building work that Satterberg Foundation funded, JazzED staff and board spent time addressing the issue of sustainable funding for the program. The result of this work is a multi-year funding strategy that will be launched this fall.

JazzED student Dyllan Centro's mother said, "Music has made such a great impact in his life. He is a 100% changed kid. There was a lot of trouble at home ... and since he started playing music it all changed. We are still struggling to adjust but I can see a new spark in his eyes. He is more confident and so proud [that] he is able to play an instrument. Thanks for giving him this amazing opportunity."

Photos by Britt Madsen and Todd Green

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