More than 80 students at the Senator Frank Lautenberg School/Public School No. 6 in grades five through eight learned about a variety of musical instruments on Wednesday from professional jazz musicians at a special “Instrument Day” presented by JAZZ HOUSE KiDS. The nonprofit jazz education organization is partnering with Paterson Public Schools and School 6 to institute a new Jazz Scholars Program at the school.
“The people who are here today from JAZZ HOUSE KiDS are here to help you discover the musicians in yourselves,” said Superintendent of School Eileen F. Shafer. “When you’re listening today, I want you to ask yourselves, ‘Is this something I want to be a part of?’ You’ll decide today whether you want to participate.”
“We applaud the leadership of the Paterson Public Schools District and School 6 on the adoption of the Jazz Scholars Program and our shared commitment to put instruments in the hands of young people,” said Melissa Walker, Founder & President of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS. “We look forward to working with the students, reigniting their love of music, and sparking enthusiasm that fosters achievement.”
In her remarks, Shafer thanked Assistant Superintendent Cheryl Coy and credited her for suggesting that the JAZZ HOUSE Jazz Scholars Program be brought to School 6.
“The parents, students and faculty at Senator Frank Lautenberg School/Public School No. 6 are very excited for the launch of JAZZ HOUSE KiDS at their school,” said Coy. “I want to thank administrators Jalyn Lyde, Dewitt Evering, and Melanie Brown as well as Music Teacher Stephanie Assal for everything they have done to bring the opportunities to learn from JAZZ HOUSE teaching musicians to the School 6 students.”
Two Paterson Public Schools alumni, who are also JAZZ HOUSE alumni, were among the presenters. Donovan Marshall, who graduated from Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts in 2016, played the drums. Monae Clancy, a trombonist who graduated from Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts in 2014, was the emcee for the mini-concert.
“I remember being in JAZZ HOUSE in my first year and being just like, ‘Wow!’ said Clancy, who had directed marching bands and substitute taught before being a police officer. “So many great musicians, so many great teachers, so many great opportunities. Definitely, pick an instrument and play. Music can take you anywhere.”
Seven musicians from the JAZZ HOUSE introduced the students to five different instruments – trumpet, trombone, clarinet, flute, and alto saxophone through live performances and informal talks on Wednesday during which students asked questions. This week, School 6 will be hosting an online parent orientation about the JAZZ HOUSE Jazz Scholars Program.
Instruments are being provided to School 6 students through JAZZ HOUSE KiDS Give An Instrument–Build a Musician Program with a special gift from primary program underwriters Janet Shapiro and Phillip Byrd in partnership with RS Berkeley Musical Instruments. Now in its 11th year, the program has donated more than 500 instruments and provided music education to students in under-resourced New Jersey Public Schools.
JAZZ HOUSE KiDS has a long history of working with Paterson students, with the Rosa L. Parks School of Fine and Performing Arts jazz band participating in its annual “Inside the Jazz Note” program, where Artistic Director and seven-time GRAMMY-winning bassist Christian McBride and special guests would conduct an all-day masterclass for high school students and their music teachers in the region.