DC Jazz Festival Education



Inspiring the next generation of DC's jazz artists

DC Jazz Festival® Education provides affordable jazz education programs to students of all ages, teachers, and families, especially in underserved communities. From early childhood through adult learners, DC Jazz Festival Education engages and enhances the lives of a vast demographic of the DC-metropolitan community with robust and comprehensive programming. Our dynamic, interactive, and immersive DCJF Education have received numerous awards including the Wells Fargo Cultural Excellence Grant and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Creative Industries. 

DCJF prides itself on providing top-quality music educators and teachers who have dedicated their lives to teaching the true essence of jazz. They take joy in sharing their talents with youth. Learn more about our award-winning programs in this brochure.


To learn more or to book an education program at your school or community center, contact Heidi Martin, DCJF Education Coordinator, at

Early Childhood Music Education

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DC JazzBops!

DC JazzBops! is the DC Jazz Festival's early education program that uses jazz-centric books and interactive lessons to establish early music skills while promoting an interest in reading, mathematics​, and self-expression from a young age. There are lessons that allow for hands-on instruction with instruments and plenty of group-based activities. The DC Jazz Festival was a recipient of the Wells Fargo Cultural Excellence Grant based on the fundamental and innovative ground work we laid out with our DC JazzBops! program.

This program is made possible by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, U.S. Commission on Fine Arts, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, the Venable Foundation, and The Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. 

Elementary, Middle and High School Education


Jazzin’ InSchool

Jazzin’ InSchool engages elementary-aged students in an interactive exploration of jazz, its development in the U.S. and its relationship to other global musical art forms. With live music experiences, Jazzin’ InSchool includes singing, instrument interaction, social studies, history and geography. Focus areas include Jazz and Hip Hop, Jazz and South Africa, Blues Harmonica Workshop, Guitar Ensemble Program and more.


Session Time - 60 minutes 


Ages - 7-11 


“The DC Jazz Festival offered students (and teachers!) a wonderful learning experience that pushed their thinking and gave students the opportunity to explore the major elements of jazz, go-go, and hip hop in a unique way!” - DC Public Schools Office of Teaching and Learning


Jazzin’ AfterSchool

Herman Burney, Associate Professor of Bass and Jazz Combo Director at The George Washington University leads Jazzin’ AfterSchool. Burney is a seasoned jazz bassist and educator who has considerable experience working with young, aspiring jazz musicians. He has performed with many well-known jazz artists, including Nnenna Freelon, Marcus Roberts, Freddy Cole, Wynton Marsalis, and Eric Alexander, to name a few.

In partnership with Sitar Arts Center, Jazzin’ AfterSchool provides year-round weekly instrument training and jazz history sessions for Sitar music students. Each semester, students enrolled in the 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 Families Fun Days event.

"The Masterclass was absolutely wonderful! It publicly showcased the incredible impact that the DC Jazz Festival partnership is having on our developing young artists at Sitar. Professor Burney and his peers are inspiring the next generation–giving a gift of music understanding and appreciation, while strengthening their self-identity as young people and providing them with confidence in their real and growing artistic skills which can then propel them to whatever next level they wish to achieve. For some, this has sparked interest in further study at schools such as Duke Ellington and Berklee Music School (and for the students that are first-generation college applicants that is transformational)!" - A. Lorraine Robinson, Senior Director of Special Projects, Sitar Arts Center.

Wednesdays from 6:00 - 7:00 PM.


Students 9+ are encouraged to apply. Must have at least one year of experience playing an instrument and have basic music reading skills.

For more information, please contact Heidi Martin, Music Education Coordinator,

All Ages Music Education


DCJazzPrix™ International Band Competition

DCJazzPrix is an annual international band competition that provides a unique professional and adjudication platform for emerging bands, outside of the traditional academic and commercial arenas. Unlike other performance-based contests, DCJazzPrix puts the emphasis on the essential interactions between band members and recognizes these relationships as the core pursuit of the jazz aesthetic. Young and emerging jazz bands from around are encouraged to apply for what apsires to be a premier global platform for jazz band's seeking new audiences and exciting career navigation opportunities.

All DCJazzPrix applicants will have their music heard by a prestigious jury of jazz luminaries. Up to three finalist bands will be selected to travel to Washington, DC during the annual DC JazzFest to compete at the DCJazzPrix Finals before an enthusiastic crowd of jazz fans. The winning band will begin a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival to include: a $15,000 grand prize, customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2022 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.

Applications Closed For 2021, Finalists TBA

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As of April 27th, 2021, applications are now closed for DC Jazz Festival's seventh annual international band competition, DCJazzPrix. 

Congratulations to the 2020 DCJazzPrix Winner: The EJB Quartet


DCJazzPrix program is made possible by the generous support of The Leonard and Elaine Silverstein Family Foundation. The DCJazzPrix award is made possible by the generous support of Conrad Kenley, and the Galena-Yorktown Foundation.


Meet the Artist

The Meet The Artist initative, part of the DC Jazz Festival Education Program, is a year-round endeavor with its heaviest concentration of activities during our festival season. This initiative provides a rare opportunity for DCJF audiences to get “up close & personal” with the artists we present. These one on-one interview engage artists in dialogue on their artistic and career development, including insights into their creative process, affiliations along their respective artistic journey, and their views on society, including dialogue on elements of social change. Meet The Artist  are designed to provide DCJF audiences with artist insights off the bandstand, presenting unique opportunities to learn about these creative people beyond the performance. These sessions serve to “demystify” the jazz art form for our audiences, providing them with ample occasion for their own inquiries and questions to artists beyond those posed by our interviewers. 

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2019 Artist-In-Residence Terri Lyne Carrington

Artist-In-Residence Program

The DC Jazz Festival recently launched our Artist-In-Residence Program to provide our community with valuable perspective and insight from a bevy of world-renowned artists who will use their collective experiences to inform and enrich our programming. We are beyond honored to announce that the presiding DCJF Artist-In-Residence is none other than the multi-talented Terri Lynne Carrington. Read more about her accolades and what she brings to the program through the header above.