Jazz for Young People

Jazz For Young People (JFYP) is run by Europe Jazz Network (EJN) and financed by the EU programme Creative Europe. Vestnorsk Jazzsenter (West Norway Jazz Centre) has assisted in leading the project and contributed financially. JFYP grew out of the perceived need for professionally produced concerts for children and young people. Children’s concerts are in high demand internationally, and good quality work that has improvisation as its core, is important in the quest to attract, entertain, educate and develop audiences, and also to provide creative outlets for experienced and successful musicians.

Many of the EJN members commission and programme work for children and young people. Some also commission and programme work made by young people, and there is a real appetite and willingness to do more, and to improve the offers for audiences and the conditions for the engagement of creative musicians who want to work in this area.

JFYP started in 2014 with a workshop at the European Jazz Conference in Helsinki, followed by a round table conference in London during the EFG London Jazz Festival. In 2015 the project organised a conference at Voss during the Vossa Jazz Festival, and another workshop was held at the 2015 European Jazz Conference in Budapest. In 2016, a seminar focussing on research aspects in the field took place in Stavanger during the Maijazz Festival, a workshop for the pilot phase of the project was held at the European Jazz Conference 2016 in Wroclaw in September and a final conference was held in Bergen, Norway, in May 2017 as part of the Maijazz Festival and Nutshell showcase programme organised by Vestnorsk Jazzsenter. This conference marked the transition point where the project went from the pilot phase over to a practical/production phase, from here on aiming to contribute to the production of new concerts.

The workshops, seminars and conferences have facilitated discussions around the reasons why musicians create work for children and young people, and the reasons why producers and programmers are actively commissioning and presenting work for young and family audiences. Across the years that the project has been active, many examples of good quality, best practice have been either experienced or cited, for example, Supersonics and ImproBasen from Norway, Jazzoo from Sweden, Mimmit from Finland, Tin Men & The Telephone from Holland, Monsters from Ireland and Catapluf’s Musical Journey from the UK. 

JFYP attempts to collect and assess the knowledge and experience that already exists in this field.  It also seeks to elevate the quality and status of performances for children and young people and to involve more musicians and producers in making professional concerts, aimed at children, young people and their families in order to make this field more attractive, and to present this as a recognised professional discipline of its own. Professionalism could sometimes be hard to define, although we all have our subjective opinion on what is professional behaviour or handling, here we could say, professionalism is about having an artistic idea behind what’s presented on stage, and to use your educational skills/experience to make it happen.

Presenting concerts for children and young people can lead to sold out venues and it can also be great fun! It gives a great deal of satisfaction to both the organiser and the audience and can play an important part of recruiting a new audience, made up of children and their parents, carers and grandparents.

Here you can DOWNLOAD THE HANDBOOK on Jazz for Young People (pdf)

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