Jazz House Kids


347 Bloomfield Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
County: Essex


Ms. Anneke Demarest

Grant Amount


Program Area



Grant Details

To support Jazz House Kids' year-round programs in schools, at the Jazz House facility, and in the community.

Organization Background

Now in its 14th year, Jazz House Kids has gained a reputation as one of the nation's preeminent arts education and performance organizations. Professional jazz vocalist Melissa Walker founded Jazz House Kids to expand upon the "Let's Build a Jazz House" educational assembly programs she created and led in Newark public schools at the request of Newark's WBGO jazz radio station.

Jazz House Kids' mission is to transform lives by helping students gain an "artistic edge" through music, mentoring, education and apprenticeship. Our work takes place in the schools, where we provide free, weekly music education programs; at the Jazz House in Montclair, where we offer 20 introductory, intermediate and pre-professional ensemble programs; and in the community, where our students and jazz professionals perform nearly 80 concerts annually. Working with young people from all backgrounds, we use jazz as an effective teaching tool to enhance academic achievement, build essential 21st century skills, and cultivate tomorrow's community leaders and global citizens.

Jazz House Kids immerses students in a culture of success, using an authentic jazz education approach. Our students have unparalleled access to dozens of extraordinary, professional jazz musicians, including Artistic Chair Christian McBride, a five-time GRAMMY Award-winning bassist and educator.

Our school-based programs have served 45,000 New Jersey students performing for half a million people. Out-of-school time programs serving students from 43 New Jersey communities and six states have produced some of the nation's top young jazz musicians. Community programs, including our free Montclair Jazz Festival, serve thousands and build community through jazz.

Jazz House Kids is respected for bridging the gap in arts education for thousands of students; no student is ever turned away due to financial circumstances. We meet families where they are by offering significantly reduced, sliding-scale tuition; free, private music lessons; and donated instruments for students who otherwise would be unable to participate in our life-changing programs. Our organization has been selected to lead long-term residencies for students with special needs as well as troubled youth who attend alternative schools. By studying jazz, all students gain an artistic edge that will serve them throughout their lives.

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