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Educational Workshops

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival

This year’s University of Idaho Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival explored the power of jazz as we celebrated 50 years of jazz education, performance and inspiration. Students had the opportunity to experience jazz taught by world-class musicians through the festival’s Jazz in the Schools program. This remarkable program brings master jazz artists and educators to schools throughout Idaho and Washington providing a mini lesson and an interactive presentation with elementary, middle and high school students.

During the performances children listened, danced, and asked questions while gaining inspiration within the fun and interactive lesson. The program’s purpose is to create interest in a truly American art form. It encourages active listening, inspires students to explore musical arts and reinforces the importance of strong music education in our schools. As in previous years the Jazz in the Schools program will be guided by national standards to give participating students a quality educational experience. The program’s many years of education have allowed thousands of students to experience this unique art form and we look forward to continuing the program in future years.

The Essential Question that guided our projects’ focus was:

How do we judge the quality of musical work(s) and performance(s)?

The broadest goal of Jazz in the Schools is that students and music directors gain a greater appreciation and love of jazz that expands their world view and enriches their personal artistic experiences. Following a Jazz in the Schools presentation, students and educators may continue to build upon the understanding and inspiration gained through their participation.

The primary Artistic Process on the National Core Standards Artistic Literacy continuum addressed through the Jazz in the Schools is that of “Responding” with a focus on the Anchor Standard #9 “Apply criteria to evaluate artistic work,” with the Essential Question “How do we judge the quality of musical work(s) and performance(s)?”

Three of the National Core Arts Standards discipline-specific knowledge and skill standards that students will know and be able to do in the arts as an outcome of participating in Jazz in the Schools are as follows:
1. MU:Re9.1.8a. Apply appropriate personally developed criteria to evaluate musical works or performances
2. MU:Re7.2.7b. Identify and compare the context of music from a variety of genres, cultures, and historical periods
3. MU:Re7.2.6a. Describe how the elements of music and expressive qualities relate to the structure of the pieces

At the conclusion of the project, students responded to questions related to the identified Standards:

“Jazz Band, thank you for coming to our school. I don’t really like jazz, but your jazz made me like it more. My favorite kind of music is like loud music. Like Katy Perry or something like that. You were great. I have one question how do you get your songs so fast?” Student Note (Pictured above)

“Dear Musicians, thank you for playing music at Winton Elementary. You inspired me. I think when I grow up I want to be a musician. The music was sensational. I wish when I am older I can be just like you because what you do is inspire children and I appreciate that. So thank you sooo mutch [sic]. I with [sic] I can inspire people like you do. Love, Lila” Winton Elementary student response

“It has been great as far as the students are concerned. I really like the interaction between artist and student, and when they talk about a certain characteristic of jazz and then show examples of how it is done. The kids LOVE that – and so do I! Sometimes it seems more like a performance rather than an ‘informance’.” Educator Survey Response


Originally started in 1995, the JIS program continues to fulfill Lionel Hampton’s vision of taking Jazz music, history and education to rural schools, providing students with a one-of-a-kind Jazz experience. Lionel Hampton himself began the tradition of taking Hamp’s Trio to Lapwai Elementary School on the Nez Perce Indian Reservation. Jazz in the Schools was offered on Tuesday, February 21st, and Wednesday, February 22nd.

33 Idaho and Washington Schools visited
12 Guest artist and music educators involved in presentations
7,100 Students Reached, K-12

Participating Schools
o Palouse Prairie Charter School
o Russell Elementary School
o West Park Elementary School
o Lena Whitmore Elementary School
o St. Mary’s Elementary School
o Moscow Charter School
o McDonald Elementary School
o Genesee School
o Lewiston District – All one assembly and all 5th graders
-McGhee Elementary School
– McSorley Elementary School
– Whitman Elementary School
– Orchards Elementary School
– Centennial Elementary School
– Camelot Elementary School
– Webster Elementary School
o All Saints Catholic School
o Dalton Gardens Elementary School
o Hayden Meadows Elementary School
o Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Humanities
o Winton Elementary School
o Garfield-Palouse High School
o Jefferson Elementary School
o Franklin Elementary School
o Sunnyside Elementary School
o Lapwai School
o Nezperce School District
o St. Peter & St. Paul Catholic School
o Potlatch Jr/Sr High School
o Deary School


“Now, why is a student-artist interaction so important? Because, in actuality, when you are a teacher, you learn from your students, and it’s a beautiful thing.” Claudio Roditi – 2017 Jazz in the Schools Artist

“Jazz in the Schools has been huge. The great thing is the kids… its unique to them. So, they’re quiet, they’re attentive, and it’s something I can’t provide for them. I can’t be a three piece combo. So, to have somebody play it, and then stop and talk about it. How do I get to do that as a student? How do my students get to do that? Its so vital for our kids to know that there is a culture beyond that they can be a part of… Its worth its weight in gold.” Kathy Stefani – McDonald