The Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit is designed to enable educators to teach young people how to perform the timeless music of Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Bix Beiderbecke, Jack Teagarden, Bunk Johnson, George Lewis, Lu Watters, Turk Murphy, and Eddie Condon, as well as acquaint them with the top traditional jazz artists of today.
The kit includes:
  • lesson plans
  • teacher’s guides
  • music arrangements
  • audio tracks
  • video masterclasses
  • classroom poster
Email [email protected] to request a free kit!
* Please note that due to licensing and funding restrictions, physical kits can only be sent to addresses within the U.S. and Canada.

Traditional jazz curriculum kit

The JEN Conference in San Diego marked the debut of the Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit, a free package of materials in CD-ROM form that was given to all educators in attendance. Years in the making, the Kit is the first-ever comprehensive curriculum for teaching New Orleans-based styles of jazz to student musicians, and includes lesson plans, teacher’s guides, music arrangements, audio tracks, video masterclasses, and a classroom poster.

photo by René Huemer

more about trad jazz curriculum

The curriculum was developed by David Robinson, Jr., Adjunct Professor of Music at George Mason University, together with the Traditional Jazz Educators Network (TJEN). Serving as a consultant to the project is Dr. John Edward Hasse, Curator of American Music at the Smithsonian Institution. This valuable resource is being provided by JEN as a service to the field under funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, and other sponsors.

Maintaining the full diversity of jazz has become a challenge as the earlier stylistic traditions have begun to fade from view, particularly the New Orleans styles and their outgrowths, collectively called traditional or “trad” jazz. These styles remain valid and essential means of jazz expression, yet the passage of time has produced generations of professional performers and educators that are unfamiliar with them.

Distributed nationally (10,000 copies) following its San Diego debut, the Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit is helping to restore the full spectrum of colors to the jazz educator’s palette.

The project seeks to facilitate:
  1. The revitalization of traditional jazz styles through the increased participation of young people
  2. The formation of youth traditional jazz ensembles in schools
  3. Heightened appreciation and awareness of traditional jazz among music educators.
Through application of the lessons in the Kit, student musicians will perform traditional New Orleans jazz and its outgrowths and will compose new tunes in the idiom.
The Traditional Jazz Curriculum Kit is designed for use within existing scholastic or extracurricular music instruction programs. It has been designed by teachers for teachers; it supplements but does not supplant a school’s existing music curriculum, and it closely ties to the National Standards for Music Education. The Kit presents traditional jazz not as an historical artifact, but as a living art form that remains relevant and exciting today and gives today’s young players vast opportunities for self-realization and self-expression. The Curriculum Kit has been deployed in classrooms across the country, from middle schools to universities, resulting in overwhelmingly positive response.  This crucial project directly addresses the field’s lack of standards-based tools for sustaining early jazz traditions.
The kit can be requested by emailing [email protected].

Love Trad Jazz?
This is for you.



All JEN members with an interest in traditional New Orleans jazz and its outgrowths, as well as pre-war big band styles, are urged to join the JEN Traditional Jazz Society, a JEN Signature Society.  There are no additional dues required to be a part of the JENTJS. 
The mission of the JENTJS is to foster awareness and appreciation of traditional (“trad”) jazz (the New Orleans-based styles of jazz and their outgrowths) and other early jazz styles among students, educators, musicians, and audiences.  The organization’s goals are to increase the presence of “early” jazz styles at the annual JEN Conference (professional and student performances, research presentations, clinics, exhibit booths, etc.); promote the concept that trad jazz and early big band styles are not museum pieces, or simply the foundation of something else, but remain relevant, exciting music today; build awareness within JEN of the magnitude and breadth of early jazz; forge a partnership between the traditional jazz community and JEN; and encourage student groups/directors to include early jazz in their programs.  Various initiatives are planned.
To get on board, contact Dave at [email protected]. You can also visit the JENTJS on Facebook.