Since September, 2017, JAZZ.FM91 has facilitated improvisation-based music education programs for children, youth and adults in collaboration with The Trillium Foundation and four community arts organizations throughout the Greater Toronto area. These programs have been great successes and have further established JAZZ.FM91 as a socially active organization, dedicated to promoting arts education in under-served communities.
The project was a free music education program, designed to offer children, youth and adults opportunities to engage in jazz-based group improvisation, both vocal and instrumental. Central to the initiative was a fundamental belief that many of the concepts at the heart of jazz, such as an emphasis on spontaneity, respectful and supportive collaboration and listening skills can aid in the development of healthy, vibrant communities in myriad ways.
The JAZZ.FM91 Building Vibrant Communities curriculum was developed in collaboration with our community partners and involved the delivery of weekly improvisation workshops.These workshops were designed in accordance with the following core educational tenets:
-The rich legacy of jazz music is centered on group improvisation.
-The primary responsibility of educators in group settings, especially in the context of vulnerable communities, is the establishment of supportive, “safe” spaces, in which participants are given freedom to express themselves in a respectful, engaged environment.
-An effective way to instill self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment in participants is to provide professional, high-end accompaniment. This is why trained jazz musicians will be employed as assistants to the chief educator in each session; the group musical collaborations will “sound good.”
1. Believe To Achieve
This organization caters to children and youth, age 4 to 18, providing after school and summer day camp opportunities emphasizing sports and art activities. JAZZ.FM91 provided group vocal and steel pan instruction at the Believe to Achieve “Spider’s Web” centre, located in the Jane and Wilson community.
This Parkdale-based organization provides arts and life-skills support to youth in transition from homelessness. JAZZ.FM91 provided weekly, jazz-based instrumental improv workshops.
3. East End Music Project
Location: East York, Toronto. This organization provides one-on-one music instruction to children, age 5 – 12. JAZZ.FM91 presented weekly group instrumental improvisation workshops.
4. Star Learning Centre
The Star Learning Centre is a Regent Park-based organization, supporting adults transitioning from homelessness. JAZZ.FM91 led weekly vocal improvisation workshops at the centre, utilizing fundamentals of comedy/theatre improvisation techniques.
JAZZ.FM91 would like to thank our funder, The Trillium Foundation, for the opportunity to realize this project.