THE LIVING JAZZ CHILDREN’S PROJECT (LJCP) is a full year music education and performance program that Living Jazz provides completely free of charge for Oakland public elementary schools with little or no access to the arts. Concerned with the profound lack of cultural funding for the Oakland public schools, Living Jazz launched LJCP in 2005 as a way to bring music education to diverse Oakland public elementary schools.
LJCP consists of both choral and rhythm components. 300 1-4th graders from 3 Title One schools including Cleveland, Glenview and Lafayette are given weekly music fundamental classes during the regular school day. The 2016/17 choral component is under the musical direction of Terrance Kelly and accompanist Ben Heveroh and provides classes in music fundamentals, ear training, vocal and rhythm skills, harmony, stage etiquette and performance techniques. Through the songs they master, students learn about the teachings of Dr. King, Jr. and the civil rights movement and work towards performing these songs at Oakland’s only non-denominational musical tribute to Dr. King entitled “In the Name of Love”, the Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Having the opportunity to work towards performing at a high profile event, along with professional artists, is incredibly powerful and transforming for the children.
During the second half of the school year, Living Jazz provides an adjunct rhythm component. LJCP’s weekly classes in rhythm-based music education are designed to teach students the basic rhythmic skills that underlie all music learning, through a focus on mastering complex poly-rhythms from the African Diapora. The rhythm component, under the direction of Javier Navarrette and Dave Flores, also culminates in a final performance, this time at an in-school assembly.
LJCP is specifically designed to support the OUSD Band/Orchestra program that begins in the 4th grade by providing age-appropriate developmental music exposure and a strong rhythmic foundation while also teaching children how music is a profound vehicle for cultural identity and social change. LJCP encourages and inspires young students to continue their music education, while providing an important musical foundation necessary for all future musical endeavors.
Living Jazz believes that exposure to the creative arts is a profound and necessary component of each child’s education and development. The Living Jazz Children's Project provides this exposure, along with education of how music is a positive vehicle for social and cultural pride.