The Jazz & Democracy Project® (J&D) is an interdisciplinary, music integrated program that utilises music appreciation and the power of metaphor to engage students in high order thinking skills about society and their place within it. J&D students are continually asked to evaluate, synthesise, and apply knowledge, to think elastically across domains that, at first, may seem dissimilar: music and the social sciences, particularly history, current events, government and culture. However, interviews with over 40 jazz musicians provide insight on a range of topics vital to students: leadership, social responsibility, the importance of practise, perseverance, and integrity, just to name a few.
At first blush, “jazz and democracy” may appear to have little to do with Australian schooling. However, J&D Founder, “Dr. Wes,” has tailored school presentations for over a decade in classrooms starting in Year 5 right through to uni. Therefore, J&D presentations can be adapted to address historical and current events, thematic content, even school mottos/ethics. Below please find an initial sample of topics. If any of them intrigue you, or if you’d like to propose something for your students, please contact us to arrange a meeting with Dr. Wes.
Dr. Wes opening "Ethical Explorations Day" at Rosebank College in Five Dock, a collaboration with Philosophy in Schools NSW.
J&D is well suited for gifted & talented students who benefit from outside the square challenges. Because of the engaging, multi-sensory presentations and Dr. Wes’ teaching style, J&D has also been successful at engaging disaffected students. As one secondary teacher reflected, “For high achieving kids, J&D offers a different lens from which to interpret something they already understand well. For kids that struggle, J&D could be the missing link for connecting to complex curriculum.” Dr. Wes also lectures at the tertiary level, and provides teacher professional development.
Note: No musical experience is required to benefit from J&D presentations. J&D was built with the non-musician in mind. And yet, young artists benefit at an even deeper level.
J&D workshops in schools are perfect for music classes immediately following an end-of-term musical performance, or as a stimulating change of pace during/after a period of standardised testing.
J&D is suitable for classrooms, auditoriums, community and corporate spaces with audiences ranging in age from 10 years old through to adults.
J&D courses have ranged from 4 after school students to 315 students filling an auditorium.
J&D has funds to subsidise programming in disadvantaged schools where students come from socio-economically challenged environments. J&D is keen to locate schools where it may have a recurring presence year-on-year. So, please contact us with interest, especially if you don’t think you can afford it!