Leyburn, Cawood and Sand Hutton primary schools have had the chance to find out more about jazz as part of a pilot project delivered in partnership by NYMAZ, Live Music Now, Jazz North and the North Yorkshire Music Hub. Jazz North are looking to develop new ways of engaging primary school pupils with jazz across the north of England. With the existing partnership between NYMAZ, Live Music Now and the North Yorkshire Music Hub, and links with exciting young jazz musicians from Leeds, North Yorkshire was the perfect place to trial the new approaches.
Aimed at introducing Key Stage 2 pupils to jazz music, the project started with a participatory performance in each school by professional jazz trio, Three Jazz (pictured). During the performances pupils found out about different styles of jazz music and about the instruments being played and had the opportunity to conduct the professional musicians. Lead artist Tom Sherman then worked with three trainee music leaders, all final year students or recent graduates of Leeds College of Music, to deliver four half-day workshops in each school.
The delivery was tailored to the needs of each school and saw the musicians work with whole classes, classes split into smaller groups and, in one school, with a group of children from different year groups, all of whom either have instrumental lessons or have expressed a strong interest in music.
The fun, participatory workshops saw pupils learn about different styles of jazz music from around the world and take part in activities exploring improvisation, the importance of rhythm, the use of graphic scores and simple composition. The children loved the sessions and had a lot of fun whilst getting to grips with quite complex ideas around rhythm and composition. The gifted and talented group at Cawood Primary School performed to the rest of the school and blew everyone away with their improvised solos and how quickly they’d come together as an ensemble.
The project will culminate with staff CPD sessions in the participating schools in the summer term.