These Diplomas are awarded annually by Jazz Services in association
with the NMC/MEC LEA Music Awards Scheme which has been running
for over thirty years; only recently has specific recognition
been given to jazz in education.
The Diploma is named in honour of Will Michael who, until
his death earlier this year, was Head of Music at Chislehurst & Sidcup
Grammar School. Will was a hugely respected jazz educator on
the national stage and joint architect of this jazz education
awards scheme; he was also an invaluable member of the Jazz
Services Education Panel.
The citations set out below speak for themselves. We warmly
commend also submissions we received from Bolton, Northamptonshire,
Oxfordshire, Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham. We suspect
that in their submission Glasgow sold themselves seriously
Devon All three Devon Youth
Jazz Orchestra (DYJO) tutors play jazz professionally. INSET
for both gifted young musicians and tutors was provided, variously,
by Clark Tracey, Scott Stroman and senior experienced music
service jazz tutors. Further opportunities will be opened up
for gifted and talented young players through the hosting of
county based workshops run by the Youth Music funded National
Youth Jazz Collective (the pilot for which was run by Jazz
Services last year). The Authority supports two County Youth
Jazz Orchestras, and an improvisation ensemble, which meet
monthly and have performance opportunities of at least six
gigs per season plus tours. Indeed the DYJO programme takes
live jazz to schools and adult audiences throughout the county;
it also provides for shared concerts with community bands.
A new programme, “Jazz Explosion”, included workshops
for key stage 2 pupils. Teaching materials and lesson plans
are published on the website in advance. The programme was
targeted at clusters of primary schools in rurally isolated
areas of Devon. By way of practical curriculum guidance, jazz
improvisation and small band courses have been designed and
implemented by the manager and conductor of DYJO 1. General
and specific schemes of work are prepared for each county-wide
ensemble and their progression is monitored and from time to
Composition students use the DYJO ensembles as vehicles to
develop their arranging and composition techniques. Those same
ensembles commission and play original material by internationally
The City of Edinburgh support
the Edinburgh Schools Jazz Orchestra (ESJO) and ESJO 2, the
training band. They meet weekly throughout the year – and
that represents serious commitment - and feature in all large
events organized and promoted by the City. All venue and staffing
costs are met by the Authority, and there is no charge to the
All instrumental tutors employed by the City’s Arts & Learning
Service attended INSET on jazz improvisation followed by a
ten-week programme of workshops and rehearsals for 30 pupils
and staffs. Facilitated by the Music Service and delivered
by Cathie Rae’s Thick Skinned Productions this pilot,
was funded by the Scottish Arts Council, with the aim of developing
a jazz improvisation course to aid students’ composition
skills. Participants benefited through
- positive experiences in the freedom of improvisation, through
theory and practical exercises;
- increased knowledge of jazz theory and harmony;
- the development of tools and skills to write music – all
students wrote at least one piece of new music;
- practical experience of how improvisation relates to and
can be used in composition.
Recent developments saw both ESJO 1 & 2 engage in a year
long programme of regular training sessions with Tommy Smith
and members of the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra in collaboration
with West Lothian and West Dumbartonshire education authorities
and funded by the Scottish Arts Council.
And finally, jazz course graduates have been recruited by
the Instrumental Music Service, which in turn has lead to the
formation of many new school-based jazz ensembles.
This is indeed a music service committed to jazz!
Through the Lincolnshire Youth
Jazz & Rock Academy 14-19 year olds, drawn from schools
and further education colleges, come together from across the
County to form four ensembles – a jazz orchestra, a funk/fusion
group, a rhythm & blues group and a contemporary rock group.
The Academy offers a total of 44 places covering the normal
rhythm section and front line instruments. Selection is based
on demo recordings and teacher testimonials alongside more
formal music grade indicators. The Academy website features
live recordings of students’ work and has Youtube links
to essential repertoire listening. Academy ensembles are featured
at most of the large weekend festivals throughout the County.
Music service tutorial staff are supplemented by four professional
jazz musicians. Whole staff INSET on creativity and improvisation
was delivered by Richard Ingham. And following training, staff
have been assigned tasks to develop and complete support guidance
for jazz within the Wider Opportunities scheme.
In addition to the Academy ensembles, four area jazz orchestras
meet throughout the year.
It seems to us that Lincolnshire have made a really promising
start to embedding jazz in their overall music education provision.
West Lothian, the fastest
growing area in Scotland, have a proportionately larger school
population than their very large neighbour, Edinburgh, and,
unsurprisingly draw upon some of the same jazz education resources.
In common with most Scottish education authorities, West Lothian
do not charge for instrumental tuition or for transport to
the innumerable ensemble rehearsals and performances.
The music service has a partnership with the SNJO, which involves
West Lothian’s two jazz ensembles. Over the year seven
workshops took place with members of the SNJO. 52 pupils participated
together with six of the instrumental music staff, for whom
involvement was part of their CPD. The staff received packs
of the whole syllabus prior to the course starting. Their observations
and inter-action with the pupils and SNJO tutors enabled them
to develop their own knowledge and jazz education skills. The
skills thus gained will equip them to lead their own workshops
and, importantly, to ensure that there is progression on the
pupils’ part between the workshops and beyond. Those
same pupils also attended several of Tommy Smith’s concerts
with the Scottish National Youth Jazz Orchestra at the Glasgow
Cathie Rae’s Thick Skinned Productions, which comprise
some of the most respected Scottish jazz musicians, have introduced
jazz and improvisation to pupils via workshops and concerts.
They also delivered INSET on improvisation to instrumental
The West Lothian Schools Big Band (34 members) and Little
Big Band (18 members) meet weekly on a weekday evening for
two hours. Three secondary schools have jazz ensembles which
also meet weekly. And students are encouraged to include performances
of jazz pieces in their practical programmes which are recorded
for assessment purposes within the Scottish Qualifications