The Influence of Jazz: Resources for Your Students


Jazz Appreciation Month may not have gotten as much attention this April as in years past, but there are certainly no time constraints on a celebration. As the school year winds down, jazz is a perfect music genre for students to explore. The elements of jazz, including improv, blue notes and polyrhythms, can be used by all age levels to express creativity.

Throughout the years, J.W. Pepper has been fortunate to interview many jazz musicians who have shared their experiences perfecting these jazz basics, along with explaining how to make them accessible to students. Here are some of these interviews, along with other resources:

Advice from Legends

Multiple successful jazz musicians, including Pat Martino, Roger Ingram, Paquito D’Rivera, Dave Liebman, and Christian McBride, share the wisdom they’ve gained from years in the industry.

Non-Jazz Musicians on the Influence of Jazz

Successful composers and musicians, including Eric Whitacre, Rollo Dilworth, Brian Balmages and Mary Lynn Lightfoot, share how jazz influenced their work in other music genres.

Recent Interviews

Jeff Coffin from Dave Matthews Band gives details on the importance of practicing scales in all the keys to prepare for jazz gigs, among other topics.

Sherrie Maricle from the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra talks about how she became a percussionist and why it’s important to listen to jazz to understand how to swing when playing.

Teaching Jazz to Young Children

These videos give ideas on how to make jazz music accessible to young children:

Jazz at Lincoln Center

These lesson videos can be used in conjunction with Jazz for Young People (Volume 1: New Orleans & Jelly Roll Morton) and Jazz for Young People (Volume 2: Louis Armstrong):

The History of Jazz

In these videos, Marcus Printup and Victor Goines from the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra talk about jazz legends and the importance of studying jazz history.

Jazz Performances 

Enjoy performances from Pat Martino, Dave Liebman, Jeff Coffin, and The U.S. Army Brass Quintet.  

View Pepper’s jazz page to see the latest pop hits, swing charts and more for your band.

Other resources include books on:
Jazz pedagogy
Jazz improvisation
Jazz musicians and jazz history

Rhythm Section:

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Mary Rogelstad
Mary Rogelstad joined Pepper in 2018 as the company’s Marketing Content Coordinator. Previously she worked as a journalist in the international media and as a communications specialist at various nonprofits. In her free time, Mary has enjoyed singing in various choral groups and performing in musical theater.

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