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DC Jazz Festival Education


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Inspiring the next generation of DC's jazz artists

DC Jazz Festival® (DCJF) Education provides free-of-charge and 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 program has received numerous awards including the Wells Fargo Cultural Excellence Grant and the DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Excellence in Creative Industries. 

DCJF Education 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.


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

Early Childhood Music Education

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DC JazzBops!

DC Jazz Bops!, our literacy-based early childhood education program, uses jazz-inspired books and interactive lessons to establish children’s early music skills, encourage good social and behavioral development, and promote an early interest in reading and math. Each session is paired with a playlist that encourages young learners and their parents and caregivers to sing, dance, read and explore in their own home.


The 2023-24 DC JazzBops! program is made possible, in part, with major grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; with awards from Galena-Yorktown Foundation, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Venable Foundation, CareFirst, and the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation. ©2023 DC Jazz Festival. All rights reserved

Elementary, Middle and High School Education

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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

The 2022-23 Jazzin’ InSchool programs are made possible, in part, with major grants from the Government of the District of Columbia, Muriel Bowser, Mayor; DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; National Capital Arts and Cultural Affairs program of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts; and with awards from the Galena-Yorktown Foundation, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Venable Foundation, Arts Forward Fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation, Les Paul Foundation, and the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation; with corporate support from CareFirst and Amazon. ©2022 DC Jazz Festival. All rights reserved. 

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Jazzin’ AfterSchool

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 2022-23 Jazzin’ AfterSchool programs are made possible, in part, with major grants from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and; and with awards from the Galena-Yorktown Foundation, Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, The Venable Foundation, and the Les Paul Foundation. ©2022 DC Jazz Festival. All rights reserved. 

DC Jazz Festival Education Jazz and Go-Go: Teaching Its Connections

Jazz and Go-Go: Teaching Its Connections demonstrates the main elements in jazz and Go-Go, DC’s unique art form. Teaching artist Elijah Balbed and the JoGo Project will guide students through an engaging and interactive lesson on jazz and go-go, demonstrating the overlapping themes of swing, improvisation, blues,   sampling, signifying, and swagger. The JoGo Project is a WAMMIE Award-winning band from Washington, DC that fuses many styles of music with jazz harmonies with a driving Go-Go beat at its core.


Music, Geography, and History teachers are encouraged to participate. This program is designed for DC public and charter school students. Appropriate Teaching Levels: 4-6th Grades.

DC Jazz Festival Education: MINGUS 100 Celebrating the Life of Charles Mingus

DC Jazz Festival Education, in partnership with the Library of Congress, presents MINGUS 100, in celebration of the 100-year anniversary of Charles Mingus’ birth. Composer/bandleader/bassist Charles Mingus is one of the great jazz musicians and composers of the 20th century. An interactive performance of his original works by the Mingus Dynasty Band will feature DCJF Artist-in-Residence Orrin Evans on piano. The field trip will include an introduction on The Charles Mingus Collection at The Library of Congress.  

The Mingus Collection includes collected papers—including scores, sound recordings, correspondence, and photos from Mingus’ career spanning three decades. Student in attendance can sign up for a Library of Congress library card. The Collection also includes Mingus’ annotated drafts of Mingus’ autobiography, Beneath the Underdog.

This field trip, part of the 2023 DC Jazz Festival Education, is made possible by a major grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; with additional funding from the Galena-Yorktown Foundation, The John Edward Fowler Memorial Foundation, Venable Foundation, and the Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation.  

All Ages Music Education

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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 our premier global completion. DCJazzPrix applicants will have their music heard by a prestigious jury of jazz luminaries. Three finalist bands will be selected to travel to compete at the DCJazzPrix Finals to Washington, DC before an enthusiastic crowd of jazz fans during the annual DC JazzFest. The winning band will receive a $15,000 grand prize, and a yearlong association with the DC Jazz Festival that includes customized business development and career impact services, extensive publicity training, and a highly visible 2025 DC JazzFest engagement with commensurate compensation.

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The 2024 DCJazzPrix program is made possible by major support of The Leonard and Elaine Silverstein Family Foundation and Venable Foundation. The DCJazzPrix award is made possible by the generous support of the Gillon Charitable Fund and the Galena-Yorktown Foundation.

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Meet the Artist

Meet the Artist provides a rare opportunity for DCJF audiences to get “up close & personal” with the artists we present.  Free-of-charge, the one-on-one interviews engage artists in dialogue on their artistic and career development, including insights on their creative process and artistic journey.  Meet the Artist sessions are designed to engage listeners off the bandstand, presenting unique opportunities to learn about the creative artist who make the music. These sessions “demystify” the art form providing lively, informative, and insightful opportunities to learn more about the music we call jazz.

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NEA Jazz Master Ron Carter, bandleader and the maestro of the bass, and ace bassist Corcoran Holt will serve as the 2024 DC Jazz Festival’s Artists-In-Residence.

Artist-In-Residence Program

The aim of the Artist-In-Residence program, part of DC Jazz Festival Education, is to foster deeper connections between artists, DC Jazz Festival and our jazz community. During the residency, artists engage in a number of activities including serving as guests curators, collaborating with other artists, participating in master classes or interviews, and supporting DC Jazz Festival Education community engagement activities.


NEA Jazz Master Ron Carter, bandleader and the maestro of the bass, and ace bassist Corcoran Holt will serve as the 2024 DC Jazz Festival’s Artists-In-Residence.


A 3-time Grammy winner and 5-time nominee, Ron Carter holds the Guinness Book of World Records distinction as the most recorded bassist in recorded music history.  Ron Carter is universally recognized as our most prolific bassist.  As a leader he has made over 60 recordings.  As an MVP contributor to myriad sessions, he has recorded with a who’s who of American and global music, from Geri Allen, Miles Davis, Horace Silver, peers such as Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, to Aretha Franklin, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Paul Simon, and Jefferson Airplane.  Additionally, Carter has passed along his universe of musical knowledge to succeeding generations as an educator.  He is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at City College of New York, and a faculty member at the Juilliard School. "Serving as DC Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence is a new affiliation that I greatly relish and look forward to,” said Maestro Ron Carter. 


Ron Carter shares the residency with a next generation bassist whose career has been inspired by Mr. Carter.  A native of Washington, DC, Corcoran Holt is graduate of both the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and the DC Youth Orchestra program.  Holt earned a Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies degree from Shenandoah Conservatory.  Holt holds an Assistant Professorship at Arizona State University.  “This DC Jazz Festival residency exemplifies coming full circle to my DC roots,” said Corcoran Holt.


For more information about the Artist-in-Residence program and to sponsor this program, email Raeanna Grey at

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