5 Reasons Parents Are Choosing Jazz and Creative Institute for Their Kids

5 Reasons Parents Are Choosing Jazz and Creative Institute for Their Kids

Parents in Southwest Michigan are now using jazz music lessons to inspire their child’s love of playing. In only six months, this Kalamazoo-based jazz school for children (ages 6 and up) through adults has grown to almost 100 students in private lessons and ensembles. Why do parents love these jazz lessons? We found out:

Faculty artist Rufus Ferguson jams with our Jazz Orchestra pianist and his Jazz Academy student.

Faculty artist Rufus Ferguson jams with our Jazz Orchestra pianist and his Jazz Academy student.

1. The teachers are exceptional.

Jazz and Creative Institute interviewed over twenty jazz teaching artists from Grand Rapids to Lansing, to Ann Arbor to find teachers who are well-qualified, who care deeply about their students, and who know how to inspire kids into a life-long love and appreciation for jazz music. Because the student-teacher relationship is based on encouragement and mentorship, faculty members go above and beyond to support the individual goals of the student. Whether it’s helping research and procuring the right new instrument, providing seasoned advice on college choices, writing recommendation letters, or inviting students to sit in on their gigs - students build real connections with their teachers.

 
Our Jazz Orchestra bassist meets and plays with NYC-based/world-touring bassist, Mimi Jones.

Our Jazz Orchestra bassist meets and plays with NYC-based/world-touring bassist, Mimi Jones.

2. Kids are developing confidence.

Jazz and Creative Institute parents report that their children show a huge increase in confidence, not just as musicians, but that they’ve grown as people through communication and performance. Parents say that kids are no longer shy about improvising and creatively expressing themselves through jazz music.

 
These trombonists are friends on and off the bandstand.

These trombonists are friends on and off the bandstand.

3. Kids are finding friendships.

Parents and kids both tell us that being part of the Jazz and Creative Institute goes well beyond learning music and that they have made lifelong friends from being involved. These friendships and connections that will last a lifetime are so important for young people in our modern world as we navigate what true “connection” means.

 
Faculty artists Nathan Borton, Andrew Peck, and Kevin Jones work with a Jazz Academy student on drums during a jam session.

Faculty artists Nathan Borton, Andrew Peck, and Kevin Jones work with a Jazz Academy student on drums during a jam session.

4. You can’t beat the value, or the experience.

The Jazz Academy private lesson program tuition is comparable to other local music schools, but that’s where the comparison stops. Other schools may have a recital or two throughout the year, but taking lessons is mostly a solitary endeavor and parents end up adding practicing to their kid’s “to-do” list. Joining the Jazz and Creative Institute is a decision that actually gives kids all the support they need to succeed at playing their instrument and playing with others. In addition to weekly private lessons with an expert, students are invited to attend Saturday morning sessions to meet and play with other students. This semi-coached “hang” is how kids learn those all important skills of working with others. This is where all their hard work in lessons starts to make sense. Our students also play alongside their teachers monthly at our jam session event in front of parents and friends in the audience. Learning jazz is the same as learning a foreign language. You can either learn it in a classroom, or you can spend time in a new country conversing with native speakers.

 
Co-Founder and Jazz Orchestra Director Benje Daneman poses with an ensemble performing at Miller Auditorium before a show.

Co-Founder and Jazz Orchestra Director Benje Daneman poses with an ensemble performing at Miller Auditorium before a show.

5. It’s risk-free to get started.

Your first month of tuition is entirely waived - a $125 value. Use offer code PLAYJAZZ when filling out our registration form to start your experience for free. If you decide that jazz lessons aren’t for you, you can quit anytime with a quick email. No commitment necessary!

Benje Daneman