Gold Coast Jazz Society Band Quartet

Gold Coast Jazz pros jam with students

Gold Coast Jazz Society has a rich history of community outreach and over the years has expanded its outreach and education programs.

Gold Coast Jazz Society has a rich history of community outreach and over the years has expanded its outreach and education programs. For those who cannot attend mainstage concerts, free outreach concerts are provided throughout the area allowing access to cultural arts programs to economically disadvantaged residents. This program, which includes a live jazz quartet, helps students improve their reading, math and test taking skills through jazz.

In addition, Gold Coast Jazz has presented several other jazz education presentations in local elementary schools. Gold Coast Jazz also provides the free First Friday Jazz Jam program, where local students can jam, before a live audience, with a professional jazz quartet led by local jazz musician and educator Nicole Yarling.

The program integrates the music of jazz with elements of Language Arts, Math, and Social Studies to help students with critical thinking skills and strategies for test taking. Students learn how musical forms relate to concepts such as essay writing forms, how musical rhythmic patterns relate to mathematical concepts such as percentages and how the ethnic origins of jazz relate to the geography and social studies. How long have you lived and worked in Florida? I grew up from age 11 on in Palm Beach County.

I attended college in New York and stayed in NY after graduating. In , when our kids were in elementary and middle school, my husband and I decided to relocate to Broward County and we have lived and worked here ever since. I had been doing a jazz program while working in the Hudson Valley, but one of the things that really gave me direction was seeing my sons just sitting at desks doing busy work. They were totally disengaged; they just did not want to be in school.

I saw so many connections between academics and music and was inspired to really start developing the program. So, I went back to my roots.

After I graduated, I worked in a Title I school in the South Bronx that was doing the same thing- using music to teach students that were way behind in reading. I wanted to develop a program in Broward County that taught academics through jazz. I am so grateful to the Gold Coast Jazz Society for their funding and organizational support and the teachers in Broward County, who have, over the years provided wonderful feedback and suggestions that have helped me continue to develop the program. What is the best part about your job?

Without a doubt, working with the students is the best part. Just seeing them make connections and seeing light bulbs go off in their heads is so cool. Oftentimes, it is a student with special needs that will allow the connections to become physically apparent by standing up and dancing or clapping to the music. I love to use this as an opportunity to put students that are handicapped or have special needs— students who are usually being bullied— in a leadership role.

It is just super cool to be able to do this. Teaching academics through the arts is such a powerful way to reach students. What are some examples of how JazzSLAM integrates musical concepts with academics to enrich learning? Our programs focus on language arts, math, and social studies concepts.

For example, we use AABA song form as a parallel learning device for narrative essays. Students learn how narrative essays tell a story. Fairy tales are a perfect example: The lyrics and structure of AABA song form do the same thing. The A sections introduce free things to be grateful for. The B section presents a problem: The last A section resolves this by revisiting our gratitude list, which we can pull out when we are down in the dumps and remember all of the things that are good in life.

After the presentation, Ms. That you can calm yourself with music. And how about using music to teach math? Along with our drummer, Orlando Machado, I divide the room into five groups.

Each group is responsible for one of five divisions of the beat: Orlando demonstrates the divisions and I stand in front of the class. Then, the students are asked to analyze the divisions of the beat while I show them a pie chart, i.

I think every kid in America should have the opportunity to learn this way. How has the program grown over the years? The first year, we probably did four or five schools with fifty students each. When we started getting grants for the program, we were able to expand. I initially thought that I could do the program for students at a time, but that turned out to be overwhelming, so we limited it to groups of up to to ensure that each student receives equal opportunity to participate.

Now, we are serving about 20 schools a year and I am also focused on growing our eLearning programs. Tell us more about your eLearning programs. Now, through the Center for Innovative Learning and Collaboration cilc. It has been really cool to hear from educators in tiny towns without supermarkets across the nation that they are using and loving JazzSLAM in their classrooms.

Which counties have participating schools? How many children participate each year? In the past 16 years, the program has served around 60, students in South Florida. It exposes students to the incredible musical heritage of our nation, which is jazz, while allowing more interactive academic experiences. Oftentimes jazz organizations have difficulty getting into school systems, but because our program is academically focused, that has opened doors. I think the future for us is in continuing to give live presentations and develop the eLearning programs, so that we can reach students throughout the state of Florida and the nation.

I would also love to partner with a college or university to train future teachers in the JazzSLAM methodology. I have to figure out a way to get this to more teachers— to everybody!

Why are the arts and culture important to our state? Certainly here in South Florida, we see that arts and culture are a huge draw for snowbirds and tourists. When I was growing up in Palm Beach County, there was close to nothing to go to. There were no opportunities to hear live music other than if you went to a private party or a club or community center.

There is certainly a much more vibrant arts community in South Florida than when I was a kid. The more we have for visitors and year-round residents to do, the happier everybody is with Florida! To learn more about Gold Coast Jazz Society, visit:

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