In 2017, NYJO piloted a new initiative – the NYJO Jazz Messengers. Led by NYJO saxophonist Chelsea Carmichael, the Jazz Messengers is designed to reflect the diversity of the NYJO Family and engage children and young people in listening & learning jazz music through inspirational in-school concerts. The NYJO Jazz Messengers role-modelling is important for increasing diversity in jazz as you ‘can’t be what you can’t see’. This project is a first-step on a progression route for children who are interested in taking up an instrument and learning jazz – what’s more inspiring than hearing some of the best young musicians in the country, right in your school hall! All concerts are followed up by the offer of free or highly-subsidised instrument lessons and hire from the local music education hub. Since it started, the band has performed more than 50 concerts to tens of thousands of children.
We have been all over the UK, partnering with music education hubs like the David Ross Education Trust, Severn Arts and Accent Music Hub, and schools all over the place, to deliver concerts and digital resource packs designed to give teachers confidence in incorporating jazz into the classroom. We hope that the concerts will give children a kick-start in their musical journey and all our partner hubs will be working hard to make progression routes, and instruments, available to interested budding new musicians. Together, we’ll be monitoring their development over the next few years, enabling us to further understand jazz progression routes across the country, and barriers to participation.
Now in its third year, the Jazz Messengers will continue touring the nation, bringing jazz to a school near you!
2017/18 Band leader Chelsea Carmichael, summed up her motivations for taking part in the project;
“Great organisations like NYJO or Tomorrows Warriors, and the various other music services, residencies and projects/workshops for young people all over London weren’t so accessible in Warrington where I grew up, so finding the right advice and other young people to play with was difficult.
Sometimes, a chance opportunity like that [NYJO Jazz Messengers concert] is the difference between being inspired and not even considering music as a potential path in the first place. Secondly, I think it’s really important for young people to see themselves in people whose paths they may follow. The rich diversity of people I have met in music since moving to London has been so refreshing, and we need to show that to young people up and down the country.”
If you would like further information on how NYJO can work in partnership with your music school or hub, please contact our L&P manager, Claire@nyjo.org.uk