The mission of CJP’s Jazz Alive Program is to institute music learning at the beginning of a student’s formal education by providing a linear track of music instruction and enrichment from kindergarten through college. The program follows a steady progression of music instruction that focuses on building academic skills and social maturity. We focus on basic music theory including notation and rhythm, elements of music and improvisation as well as life skills such as communication, team work and self-motivation. This is accomplished through active listening and participation using a variety of instruments including drumline, piano and hand chimes. “By building music programs and jazz bands at the elementary level,” says Orbert Davis, “we can effectively improve the quality of CPS high school bands all around and can demonstrate involvement in music keeps our children focused and in school.”

The program made its debut at Chicago's West Side Victor Herbert Elementary in 2006 and is now in over ten public elementary schools. Nearly 20 teaching artists and a host of touring groups work with over 1,000 students throughout the year. By the end of the school year, students from our Music Discovery classes, our Jazz Bands, Drumline and Strings program will all perform at end of year assembly's. This year, CJP has one intermediate jazz band, three beginning jazz bands, a string ensemble, and over 150 students performing on a variety of instruments ranging from piano to Drumline.

"Jazz Alive” is one of the most comprehensive programs of its kind. It focuses on issues such as, student enrichment, music advocacy with an emphasis on jazz, the connection between disciplines, professional development, and parental involvement. True to its mission and vision, Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is a constant innovator in both artistic and education programming changing the lives of the students and community it serves one music note at a time.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is an organization that began as an education program and grew into a performing orchestra. Education is an imperative piece of everything it does.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP) Artistic Director Orbert Davis, and prominent South African jazz saxophonist (The first CJP Artist-In-Residence.), the late Zim Ngqawana lead a master class with Chicago-area student jazz groups in July 2008.


Residency: JAZZ ALIVE (K-12):

Phase 1: Music Discovery I(Grade 3)

Phase 2: Music Discovery II (Grades 4 – 6) - Building life skills through performance and music through hands-on learning

Phase 3: Jazz Band (Grades 5 – 8), StringsAlive (Grades 2-12) - Standards-based training in instrumental technique, music theory, and improvisation

Phase 4: Jazz Band Aides (Grades 9 – 12) - A continuation in Jazz Band with a focus on improvisation and mentorship

JAZZ in AMERICA: The Program

The mission of the “Jazz in America” program is to present music education that “meets students where they are” emotionally, culturally and academically. By connecting everyday life and music, students discover the emotional effects of music through perceptive listening, critical thinking and creative participation. Using a well-integrated standards-based curriculum, “Jazz in America” stresses the connections of music with other disciplines. This is process-centered and activity-based learning. The goals of the “Jazz in America” educational series are to increase jazz knowledge and awareness for high school students and to demonstrate the connection of jazz with American society.

At-risk, gifted and talented high school youth are targeted for participation in the ‘Jazz in America” program. The program objectives include: • Through hands-on activities, provide an atmosphere where students can discover music’s connection with life’s experiences • To demonstrate the relationships between musical elements and other art forms • To reveal the connection between the arts and other disciplines • To introduce students to music of all genres through cultural representation


Chicago Jazz Philharmonic’s performing groups facilitate the learning of language arts, history and geography during live musical presentations, including performances by professional musicians, representatives of the cultures and musical flavors of the selected themes. Groups include: Siete Mares: A Survey of Latin Musical Styles; Amadeus: Classical Genius meets the 21st Century; Hip Hop and the DJ with DJ Phantom; the History of Gospel; and Tsukasa Taiko Japanese Drumming. Click here for a complete list and description of CJP Performing groups.


Chicago Jazz Philharmonic performances are always made accessible to students at discounted prices and convenient performance times. Please contact us for special student pricing and to help you coordinate your group’s attendance to one of our performances or free open rehearsals.