Educational Programs


“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning”

– Plato


We Educate

The Hope is Our Children’s Education

 “Imitate, Assimilate and Innovate.” 

–Clark Terry


The Chicago Jazz Orchestra believes that education is at the forefront of preserving and promoting jazz for generations to come. Through educational outreach and residencies, the CJO promotes jazz from historical and performance-based approaches.

The CJO participates in residency programs. As part of a residency program, the CJO:

  • presents master classes with world-renowned guest artists and CJO musicians
  • conducts clinics and side by side performance opportunities
  • presents scholarships to students interested in studying jazz in college
  • conducts open rehearsals at the school
  • provides free and discounted tickets to students and families.

Schools and institutions that we have partnered with include:

  • Merit School of Music, Chicago
  • Evanston High School 
  • New Trier East High School
  • Francis Parker School, Chicago


“Side by Side with the CJO” is a program that not only supports having CJO members share their expertise with public and private school music students in small group instruction and master classes, it also allows the students the opportunity to perform live with the full Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

Through this program, the CJO sends various musicians and instructors from the orchestra into a selected school to lead rehearsals. At the end of 8 weeks of rehearsals, the CJO holds a performance at the participating school’s auditorium, with students opening the performance. During the CJO’s segment of the concert, students from the school join the CJO for a performance of the work they have been rehearsing. The program culminates in a performance by a combined orchestra of 30 or more musicians, giving the students the opportunity to showcase what they have learned and to actually perform “Side by Side” with the professional musicians of the CJO.

Innovation and Practice

Performance! It takes work, and practice

Playing music is more than just playing notes, and this philosophy is embedded in the CJO’s commitment to education. CJO musicians and our featured artists
have dedicated their lives to the pursuit of musical excellence. They act as leaders and teachers of this American art form.  When you experience a CJO concert, know that for these musicians a performance is a result of a lifetime of work, practice, and preparation. This experience represents a primary goal of the Chicago Jazz Orchestra Association: professional musicians giving back to the community in education and inspiration. The CJO supports a number of efforts, small and large, for education and the promotion of music. Jazz is for all of the people, the young and the not so young.

I would like to be involved in music education

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