JAS In Schools: Honor Jazz Band celebrates 15 years with free performance
Jazz Aspen Snowmass/YouTube

Unfortunately, when budgets need to be cut one of the first things to go in schools is funding for music programs. Not only is this alarming; it is also surprising given the ocean of research that has been done showing that music not only improves a child’s education but can actually accelerate and stimulate their cognitive abilities. “But music isn’t fundamental,” detractors might say. First off, that is absurd. Music reaches across all cultures and has been a part of humanity since time unmemorable; it is one of the things that makes us human. It is absolutely fundamental. Second, it is contrary to what most studies are showing.

Here’s just one example. A study by Northwestern University that released its findings in 2014 showed that music helps children develop reading and language skills, which are pretty fundamental. There are countless studies showing the benefits of music education and yet they seem to fall on closed ears. This is why programs like JAS In-Schools are so important.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass has been bringing quality music to the Colorado high country for over 25 years with their events like JAS Café, June Experience, and Labor Day Experience. JAS understands that there wouldn’t be such a high caliber of bands and artists to play these events if it wasn’t for music education.

Therefore, JAS has made music education a part of their mission, and since 1996 have raised over 7 million dollars for a wide variety of music programs that supplement music education in area public schools. The programs include JAS In-School coaching by music professionals; instrument donations; donations of tickets for JAS events as a learning tool for teachers; “Pays to Play,” which is a program that pays for the first three lessons for interested students; as well as purchase and donation of music instructions materials.

One of these programs, the District 8 Honor Jazz Band, now in it’s 15th year, brings over 100 students from across the central mountain regions of Colorado together for a weekend of intensive jazz training under the tutelage of instructors from various Colorado institutions such as The University of Denver, The University of Colorado, and Mesa State College.

To show of their skills, the students will be performing a FREE concert on Saturday, February 6 at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, Colorado at 5:00 p.m. If you’re in the area or feel like seeing just what music education can accomplish, head on up to Carbondale for what is sure to be a night of great jazz played by the future of music.

Also be sure to check out the JAS June Experience, which will feature performances from such notable artists as Sheryl Crow, Smokey Robinson, and Diana Ross among others. If you’re hitting the slopes this winter there’s no better why to relax after a long day in the snow than with a night of jazz at JAS Café, featuring an eclectic mix of the world’s greatest jazz. Stay tuned to AXS.com for more JAS coverage and announcements.