According to its Executive Director Bill McFarlin, The International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE), “initiates programs which nurture and promote the understanding and appreciation of jazz and its heritage, provides leadership to educators regarding curricula and performance, and assists teachers and practitioners with information and resources.” Founded in the U.S. as the National Association of Jazz Educators in 1968, the organization went global in 1989, and currently the membership consists of over 8,000 jazz teachers, musicians, students, music industry representatives, and enthusiasts representing thirty-five countries.
With IAJE’s Section and Unit Programs, it has organized branches in forty-five U.S. States, Canada, Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Africa. IAJE offers a number of programs and projects. In its thirty-first year, the Jazz Educators Journal is a bi-monthly publication that has established itself as one of the world’s primary sources for information about jazz education. Issues include transcriptions, reviews, industry news, and articles on important jazz topics. The IAJE Annual Conference includes over fifty clinics, workshops, panel sessions, technology presentations, research presentations, a music industry exposition, and over 100 performances by international artists. Also at the conference, IAJE produces the NEA American Jazz Master Awards, hosted by Dr. Billy Taylor. Past honorees have included Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, and most recently Dave Brubeck, Joe Henderson, and Art Farmer, to be honored on January 9, 2000 at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, California.
To assist in the development of new jazz music and study, IAJE offers a number of programs, just a few including scholarship programs, two commissioning programs. The first, the Gil Evans Commission, began in 1990, and “is now recognized as one of most prestigious in the field of jazz” according to McFarlin. “[It] has helped to launch the careers of such writers as Maria Schneider and Anthony Wilson.” The IAJE/ASCAP Dizzy Gillespie Commission awards a $7,500 commission to an established composer, and a $3,000 commission to an emerging composer. Both works are premiered at the IAJE conference. Other IAJE services include talent recruitment programs, jazz teacher training institutes, and Sisters in Jazz, providing mentoring opportunities for women in jazz. The new Artist Outreach Network will plan educational workshops by connecting jazz artists on tour with schools, community centers, and other educational institutions. Over 100 workshops have been scheduled for this year. The IAJE also sponsors events at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the North SeaJazz Festival. It also sponsors a Talent Recognition Program to identify five outstanding high school seniors, and the IAJE is currently working on Jazz City, a touring jazz education exhibit.
From Help! New Music Service Organizations Answer the Call
by Karissa Krenz
© 1999 NewMusicBox