Indiana Jazz Masters in the Schools

Monika Herzig, Senior Lecturer, Arts Administration, Indiana University

Indiana Jazz Masters in the School is a community outreach program under the leadership of Indiana University Arts Administration faculty Monika Herzig in collaboration with B’town Jazz presented to area Elementary Schools for the past two decades. Especially during this year of isolation and division, cultivating a sense of belonging and local pride is crucial. So instead of putting the program on pause, we pivoted towards producing video materials, virtual connections, and online resources with the support of the Smithville Charitable Foundation and the Musician’s Union.

Indiana Jazz Masters in the Schools is a program led by Indiana University Arts Administration faculty Monika Herzig in collaboration with B’town Jazz, a non-profit service organization in Bloomington, Indiana. For two decades, a jazz group featuring area professionals and IU students visits the area Elementary Schools funded by sponsors, foundations, and the Musician’s Union. The interactive program teaches about the elements of jazz and the rich legacy of Indiana Jazz, including songwriters Hoagy Carmichael and Cole Porter, and the history of Indiana Avenue with Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, the Hampton Family, J.J. Johnson, David Baker and so many more.

With the isolation caused by COVID and teachers struggling to find teaching materials for virtual interaction, the program pivoted into a multi-media format including videos, virtual class visits, and online materials to be developed in collaboration with the Indiana Entertainment Foundation. Funding was provided by the Smithville Charitable Trust Foundation and the Musician’s Union. This is an example of various units coming together for the common good of providing our schools and teachers with much-needed support in times of crisis. This program also demonstrates the creation of resources for all parties involved – facilitating the learning of teaching artistry and arts management skills to students, bringing funders together in support of the community infrastructure, and sharing learning experiences and resources with Indiana students and teachers.

In this showcase, I will share the concepts of this specific program as well as the materials developed playing excerpts from the videos and sharing the lesson plans. I will provide an overview of the Indiana jazz heritage and the teaching objectives as well as the process of creating the needed materials. The program was developed based on my experience as a touring professional jazz pianist, arts manager, as well as the author of the book “David Baker: A Legacy in Music”(IU Press, 2011) that chronicles Indiana Jazz History. The session is a model for effective collaboration of higher education institutions with primary and secondary school systems as well as community funders. The content is of interest for faculty in the arts, humanities, and education, students in the same areas as well as community leaders, and primary and secondary teachers. “