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

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.

Next MasterClass:


“Bass Walk and Talk” with Corcoran Holt

Jazzin' AfterSchool MasterClass

Wednesday, April 6, 2022 

6:00-7:30 PM EST

Sitar Arts Center

1700 Kalorama Rd. NW #101

Washington, D.C. 20009

OPEN TO ALL DC STUDENTS *Preregistration required via Eventbrite*

Program Description: DC Jazz Festival Education presents world-renowned bassist, educator, and mentor Corcoran Holt; who will lead the "Bass Walk and Talk" Jazzin' AfterSchool MasterClass at Sitar Arts Center for DC students and educators. Holt will demonstrate the roles and responsibilities of the bass on the bandstand and throughout various genres of music. He will play the compositions of elders such as Night In Tunisia, So What and Bolivia, as well as contemporary music. If you want to hear a talk on the history of the music and the roots of walking basslines; This “Walk and Talk” should not be missed.

This Jazzin’ AfterSchool MasterClass is part of the 2022 DC Jazz Festival Education Program, and 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. ©2022 DC Jazz Festival. All rights reserved.

Herman Burney, Associate Professor of Bass and Jazz Combo Director at The George Washington University, previously led the Jazzin’ AfterSchool program. 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.

"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.

For more information, please contact Heidi Martin, Education and Outreach Coordinator, at

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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.

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2021 Winners

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DC Jazz Festival Crowns Sixth Annual DCJazzPrix™ Winners in Unprecedented Tie

Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé finish in an extraordinary tie vote as co-winners of the 6th Annual DCJazzPrix™ on September 5 as part of the recently concluded 17th anniversary DC Jazz Festival. Launched in 2016, DCJazzPrix is the DC Jazz Festival’s international competition created to recognize and support top rising jazz band talent.


Each of the winning bands specialize in electrifying expressions of 21st century jazz. These brilliant young bands were selected following the DCJazzPrix finals, which took place before an enthusiastic, standing-room-only audience at Union Stage as part of DC JazzFest at The Wharf.    


Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé, both based in New York City, competed as two of three DCJazzPrix finalist bands that also included British saxophonist Camilla George’s vibrant quintet. All three bands presented exceptional 20-minute sets, rousing a packed audience to its feet and significantly raising the bar for our judges’ deliberations.


Trumpeter and Nassau, Bahamas native Giveton Gelin was mentored by the great trumpeter Eddie Henderson and the late trumpeter Roy Hargrove. He leads the Giveton Gelin Quintet, a classic jazz, tradition-based and original composition-fueled acoustic ensemble with piano, bass, drums and saxophone. Self-taught from the age of 10, Gelin studied at the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory and The Juilliard School, and was selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead education intensive at the Kennedy Center. His current release is True Design. 


Havana, Cuba-born pianist-keyboardist Dayramir Gonzalez founded Habana enTRANCé in 2004. The ensemble specializes in an infectious brand of Afro-Caribbean jazz expression and includes musicians from Argentina and Chile. Gonzalez’s first professional affiliation came at age 16 with former Irakere member Oscar Valdés’ Afro-Cuban jazz ensemble Diákara. He matriculated at the renowned Berklee College of Music and has been mentored by Cuban master pianist-bandleader and DCJF Lifetime Achievement Award winner Chucho Valdés. Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé’s current release is The Grand Concourse (Machat).


“It is exciting to identify and promote the careers of emerging jazz artists committed to the creative and professional development of their very own excellent bands,” said DC Jazz Festival President and CEO Sunny Sumter. “DCJazzPrix is unique in that it recognizes bands over soloists. It allows jazz artists to pause and concentrate on band identity on multiple fronts, increase performance opportunities, and sustain collective output.”


In addition to a $15,000 cash prize, the Giveton Gelin Quintet and Dayramir Gonzalez & Habana enTRANCé have earned a year-long association with the DC Jazz Festival for professional development consultation and business support addressing their varied needs, such as publicity, artistic and financial management, booking and touring, audience and social media engagement, grant writing, commissioning of new works, and brand development. Each band also will receive a paid 2022 DC Jazz Festival mainstage engagement.


2022 DCJazzPrix Application Opens in December 2021.

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. 


Orrin Evans - DC Jazz Festival Artist-In-Residence, 2022-2023 

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.


In late 2021, DCJF announced that prolific pianist, composer, and bandleader Orrin Evans will serve as the organization’s Artist-In-Residence for a 2-year period beginning January 2, 2022.

"Making music has always been an essential part of my life but presenting music is also a passion,” said Evans. “The chance to create and fellowship with the music scene in DC is a welcome one, and I am so excited about the possibilities. My sincere thanks to South Arts and DC Jazz Festival for the opportunity.”


Orrin Evans’ DCJF residency is part of the Jazz Road Creative Residencies program, a program of South Arts. Jazz Road Creative Residencies is a uniquely artist-centric program that promotes artistic flexibility. “With a Jazz Road Creative Residencies grant, artists are given the flexibility to design and propose their own project with funds of scale that make a difference. We are putting the direction and power directly in the hands of the artists,” said Sara Donnelly, Director of Jazz with South Arts.