WJAI Summer Jazz Mentor Project

Since the summer of 2003, the WJAI has successfully conducted its summer and winter/fall, Jazz Mentor Projects. This five-week project is free of charge to participants, giving music instruction to 24 students. Participants receive hands-on instruction on their instruments and the basic tools to become successful, well-rounded artists. In addition, they are exposed to the history of jazz through lecture, demonstration, audio and video files. Students are exposed to and interacted with successful, working musicians. Our end of the program performance at Peoples Congregational Church allowed the community to see the benefits of structured arts activities. Thanks to ABC Radio, The Community Foundation’s People Helping People Fund, The Meyer Foundation, Showtime, BET Jazz, Radio One, The Rex Foundation, The Community Foundation and our many individual Angels and donors we have seen our programs grow considerably since 2003.

General Program Information

The development and maintenance of a first-class Jazz Orchestra called the New Washingtonians Jazz Orchestra; serving as a repertoire performance vehicle of this American music composed by Washington area artists and other Jazz composers of note. Our commitment is to the creation and utilization of new venues throughout the city and its suburbs to promote across generations and geography, greater appreciation and support for Jazz and young Jazz musicians in this-area.

A structured program of musical education with a focus on Jazz offering a range of opportunities for children who can benefit from artistic therapies, cultural awareness, individual and group musical training, performance experience, mentoring relationships as mentors and mentees and exposure to a variety of career options in music.

A graduated, tiered program of mentoring; providing training and support for supportive relationships between older and/or more experienced musicians and younger students who are required to mentor the next age-group down so that each level will have access to one-on-one instruction and encouragement.

The expansion of access to Jazz through audience development activities and student recruitment into music programs exposing them, their families, friends and neighbors to the music.

The sponsorship of specific outreach activities throughout the Washington Metropolitan area, particularly in communities where live music performance and affordable cultural opportunities for families are rare and where the creative energies of some children are neither recognized nor encouraged.

Professional assessment of musical talent. Referral and placement of children in programs provided by the WJAI and others recognizing that where that talent can be developed, it can be used to help children overcome other barriers to healthy social development or positive educational achievement.

A coordinated and comprehensive effort to collect, catalogue and document the artifacts of a musical and social heritage in Washington, DC and surrounding areas with a focus on the contributions of Washingtonians to the music and the context of history in its creation.

The WJAI Fall-Winter Jazz Mentor Project

This Saturday program, specifically designed to support the WJAI community jazz orchestra, provides ensemble and orchestra training for young musicians.

The Washington Jazz Arts Institute Ensemble

The Washington Jazz Arts Institute Ensemble represents the best of the young musicians who have come through our programs. We book them for private performances. The fees charged for these groups help to sustain our programs and provide paid performance opportunities for our participants.

Their professional and exciting performances as trio, quartet or big band have graced the affairs of many organizations in the Metropolitan area, including the Community Foundation, The Rex Foundation, The Victory Fund, NEA, Court TV, Patton Boggs, The Kennedy Center, The Independent Women’s Forum, the Federal City Council and many other private and public organizations.

Please contact us for bookings and information.