NYJO believes that jazz can have a transformational impact on young peoples’ lives. Studying music is widely proven to have impact on health & wellbeing as well as developing social skills.

It is still an unfortunate reality that not all young people get equal opportunities to access jazz education. On average UK jazz degree courses have 6% female instrumentalists, and very few of the teaching staff are PoC. While this has been a sector wide issue, NYJO wants to contribute to changing this paradigm and aims to “Level the Playing Field in Jazz Education” through active promotion and positive role-modelling.

This year, within our professional ensembles – the Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Exchange and Jazz Messengers – we have seen significant progress towards building a more diverse organisation.  This year, 29% of our young professional musicians are female and 24% are from ethnic minority backgrounds. Although there is still a long way to go, NYJO feels positive about the future of the wider sector and its own impact in guaranteeing everyone feels seen and represented.

To help us keep track of our goals and learnings, we have a thorough Diversity Action Plan, to which we welcome everyone to contribute with ideas and feedback. If you wish to be part of the conversation, get in touch with our Head of Learning & Participation Claire Furlong on claire@nyjo.org.uk.