Educational Programs – Jazz for Kids

The BJA has two programs for children.  Our five-piece Jazz for Kids band can do either or both.

(1) Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo” – Musicians introduce children to flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano, bass and drums.  Children may try all the instruments.  We can also add trumpet, trombone and guitar.
(2) “What Is Jazz?” is a concert introducing children to jazz mainly through jazz versions of familiar children’s songs. The whole audience is involved in singing background riffs behind soloists and participating in a New Orleans-style musical parade.  Audience members are invited to scat sing with our vocalist.

Since 2006 we’ve presented these programs at Eubie Blake Cultural Center, Walters Art Museum, Smithsonian American Art Museum and several Baltimore City public schools.  References are available upon request. Contact Bob Jacobson, or 410-415-5199.

On January 9, 2014, Jazz for Kids was presented at Ruxton Ridge School in Baltimore, with band members Bob Jacobson (sax, clarinet), Robert Shahid (drums), Phil Ravita (bass), George Spicka (piano), and Rhonda Robinson (vocals, flute). See below for a testimonial letter on this program and on past Jazz for Kids programs.

A scene from Jazz for Kids’s First Night Talbot program, 12/31/12

A scene from the Jazz for Kids program that took place on Oct. 7, 2012
(video courtesy of Jubilee Arts, Inc.)

Tracks by the Jazz for Kids band

“Eensy Weensy Spider”

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“Old Mac Donald”
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“When the Saints Go Marching In”
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Scenes from the October 24, 2008 Musical Instrument “Petting Zoo”
(photos courtesy of George Spicka)

Testimonial Letters about Jazz for Kids:

“The Baltimore Jazz Alliance came to our school and gave an amazing concert! It was highly interactive, giving the students the chance to sing along, get up on the microphone and try out all different kinds of instruments. The songs were some that everybody knew but done in a jazzy style. I have never had this many staff members coming up to me with so many positive things to say about an assembly before! SO awesome! I will definitely have them back again!” — Laura Allison, music teacher, Ridge Ruxton School, Towson, Baltimore County

“I want to extend my gratitude for your participation in our African American Jazz Festival. Our evaluations reflected the high level of enjoyment that came from your participation, and I was witness to all ages of visitors engaging with the “Musical Instrument Petting Zoo.” The museum was filled with noises of experimentation and discovery which was extremely exciting to hear. The level of professionalism from your group was so helpful, and the whole activity was very well thought out and planned. We were honored to have you and look forward to working with you in the future.” — Michelle Hagewood, Coordinator of Family Programs, The Walters Art Museum

“Thanks again for coming out on Saturday. I’m so happy we had such a good crowd. You guys were terrific. We got lots of compliments and I look forward to doing it again next April. “–Laurel Fehrenbach, Smithsonian American Art Museum

“Thank you for today’s performance. The families and kids really enjoyed it!” –Merav Levine, Program Director, Park Heights Jewish Community Center

“The SEED School of Maryland enjoyed having the BJA on our campus for the What Is Jazz? concert! Our middle school kids were very engaged in the scat portion of the program. Thank you all so much for coming to reinforce our Jazz character education program.” –Valarie Matthews, Student Life Coordinator

“Performing live or virtually, the Baltimore Jazz Alliance makes jazz fun and accessible for kids! ” –Jessica Letizia, Librarian II, Baltimore County Public Library