In 2016, Seattle JazzED celebrated 7 years of musical education programming for Seattle-area youth. Since its inception in 2010, Seattle JazzED has stayed true to its core mission: to empower students of all skill levels and backgrounds to realize their full potential through exceptional music education. Seattle JazzED is also committed to a higher standard of racial equity, acknowledging that achievement of our core mission - to empower ALL students with exceptional music education - requires an organization-wide commitment to dismantle systemic racism by keeping issues of racial equity centered in our work. We strive to understand, support and reflect the communities that we serve.

We measure our impact in 6 areas: Musical Excellence, Access, the Opportunity Gap in Music Education, Community, Character Development and Organizational Infrastructure.

Musical Excellence

JazzED offers excellent music education by engaging dedicated, professional instructors and teaching a comprehensive curriculum that challenges our students to reach their full potential as musicians. Every program we offer at JazzED is innovatively designed by trained music professionals with a commitment to best practices and rigor. 


  • Summer Advanced Jazz Institute - High school musicians studied with professional jazz musicians and educators from New York City.  Their day consisted of lessons in jazz history, composition, and improvisation and institute culminated with an opportunity to play a live studio session at KNKX 88.5 FM.
  • Professional Musicians as Mentors - Students had 30 opportunities to engage with the professional music community and visiting artists.


Students who played in the JazzED Big Band Ensembles report...

  • 82% felt that JazzED was a supportive environment to practice improvisation

  • 92% said JazzED improved their confidence as musicians

  • 96% said JazzED motivated them to be a better musician

The instructors are of the highest quality and come prepared to teach with high expectations, a great selection of music. They understand how to move the ensemble forward.
— JazzED Parent


JazzED provides education to all, regardless of ability to pay. Through responsible fiscal management and resource development, we ensure our program can provide significant financial assistance to all families, as well as instrument loans. We actively recruit under-served students with the goal of an inclusive and diverse community.

A 2011 Seattle Public Schools study reports that a significant opportunity gap exists for low-income and minority students with regards to music education. JazzED seeks to fill that gap through all-abilities educational programming, robust financial aid opportunities and free instrument loans. 



  • Summer Jazz Prep Camp - One entirely free week-long introduction to playing instrumental music. One hundred fifty students from primarily low-income schools attended. Many of those students transitioned into the school year Jazz Prep Ensemble program where they will continue with their music education and matriculate through our ability-based program.
  • Free School Assemblies - 35 free assemblies in low and middle income neighborhoods.

"JazzED changed my life in a big way."

- High-School Student in the Big Band Ensembles

Where do our students come from? Check out our reach in the Zip Code Map.

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Data from 2016 and 2017 shows us...

479 students from 113 different schools and 76 zip codes enrolled in at least one JazzED program last year.


39.5% of JazzED families applied for and received financial aid. The average financial aid award? $353.

We applied for financial aid and were given scholarships - we have never looked back. JazzED is part of our family now.
— JazzED Parent

An Opportunity Gap in Music Education

Students who live in lower-income, racially diverse neighborhoods in Seattle do not get equal access to music education opportunities in school. JazzED seeks to address this problem with scholarship funding, free instrument loans and programming for every skill level.

Closing the music education opportunity gap is core to our mission at JazzED and requires ongoing investment of resources. Without these efforts, we risk mimicking the unequal school music education system.  We are committed to carefully tracking the progress of our students to ensure that our practices and programs lead to equitable access and achievement for all of our students, whatever their race, gender or financial circumstances.

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Student perspective on the opportunity gap...

Something I noticed at JazzED is that as the level of the ensemble gets higher, the diversity of people tends to get lower.
— JazzED High-School Student
JazzED is diverse compared to any of the bands in my high school, a welcoming change.
— JazzED High-School Student
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JazzED is a community of music students from diverse backgrounds who work and learn together. JazzED also seeks to develop citizenship by providing students with opportunities to perform, volunteer and mentor in the broader community. We strive to ensure that our families feel not only welcomed by, but also ownership in, the JazzED community. 


  • Summer Jazz Ambassadors -  High school musicians develop their skills as leaders and mentors, while providing music workshops to children at community centers in high-needs neighborhoods.
  • Monthly Jam Sessions - Regular opportunities for students to socialize while learning music.  
  • Special Events & Performances - Students and their families came together at parent coffees during rehearsal time, Royal Room Sunday night concerts, our annual gala fundraiser at The Triple Door, and the JazzED Jamboree performance at Town Hall Seattle.


"JazzED is an open door into new friends and new music."

- JazzED Student

The JazzED community spans schools and neighborhoods, bringing people together who might not otherwise meet.
— JazzED Parent

86% of students said they would sign up for JazzED next year

94% of students would recommend JazzED to a friend


Students help each other at JazzED...

At one jam session some kids were sitting on the side and I helped get them involved and pick a song. The whole experience of the jam sessions is great, but I especially like helping kids play when they are nervous.
— JazzED Student

Character Development

JazzED instills in our students a set of values that creates not only successful musicians but successful human beings. Our students learn that they should always come to class with a pencil and their music.  They know that regular attendance is essential because their fellow band-mates rely on them to make the music the best it can be. They discover that regular practice on their instrument is essential to their progress and their success in the ensemble. The competence they gain in the band room generates a lifetime of self-esteem. Through numerous performance opportunities, students learn to take risks and conquer fear.


  • Girls Jazz Day - At this annual event, designed to bolster girls' participation in jazz, every single girl took a solo. 
  • All-Star Combos - Students learn professionalism and maturity by playing gigs for community events across the city. 


Students who played in the JazzED Big Band Ensembles report that they...

98% took constructive criticism well when it was given.
89% took initiative in rehearsal.
89% recognized that practicing led to improvement.
67% asked their director for help when they needed it.

Sending my two eighth graders to JazzED was great for their confidence as musicians. It took them out of their comfort zone in a good way.
— JazzED Parent

Organizational Infrastructure

JazzED is continually growing and improving its organizational structure and resources. We strive to follow best practices with our programs and board and will continually and responsibly invest in professional development, education, and support for racial equity.


  • Impact Evaluation - A process of data collection, participant surveys, and focus groups to ensure that we are achieving our goals and staying true to our mission, while maintaining transparency with our constituents.  
  • Professional Development - Opportunities for staff, teacher and board members to improve skills in the areas of racial equity, executive leadership, and fundraising.
The staff balance the needs of students, parents, instructors and community with grace, competence and efficiency.
— JazzED Parent


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  • Earned income = Program Tuition
  • Contributed Income = Donations, Grants, Sponsorships
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Note: The number of individual donors spiked in 2015-2016 thanks to a generous donor-driven matching campaign led by JazzED parents Peter Schwartz and Elizabeth Norville. 


Thank you!

We are grateful for the wholehearted participation of our students and families, the wisdom and committment of our teachers and board members as well as the crucial support and vision of our individual donors, grantors and corporate sponsors. It is thanks to you that all students belong at JazzED and JazzED belongs to all its students. 

If you have questions, comments or critiques about this report, contact Executive Director Laurie de Koch at or 206-324-JAZZ (5299).