School Programs

Teacher Prep Materials Our teacher package, designed for music or classroom teachers, contains a recording and a one period class plan for both before and after the assembly. Class prep and review is not essential to the program's success, but it can enhance its impact. The material is provided as an option for interested teachers. Curriculum tie-ins are integrated into the program, and can be custom designed.




"Your performance has been a highlight of the year. Students still request to sing "Blackbird" in music class. Long live Jazz! Thanks for the great concert and the inspiration!"
    Emily Hartshorne, music teacher, Wells Memorial School, Harrisville, NH



School Assembly Performances

Nursery Rhyme Jazz Time This is the ideal show for Elementary School children. They'll recognize many of the tunes, and see how much fun it can be to make up new music based on their familiar favorites. Also on the program are some classic jazz tunes like It Don't Mean a Thing and Summertime. These songs are simple, memorable and fun, just like their favorite nursery rhymes. Clapping, scatting, sing-alongs and jazzy games are featured in this program. Performance pieces include Old MacDonald Had a Band, The Eency, Weency, Jazzy Spider, The Band Body, Feelings, Conversations and the classic blues, Now's the Time. Band size: 4 or 5 Grades: K-3, or Family Show Audience Size - up to 250.




"I learned that one song can be played many ways to sound really neat even if it's only Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
   Dan Ellingwood, Age 6

"Thank you for the performance. I had loads of fun. I hope you did too. I think everyone did a great job. Thank you for coming."
   Nicole Stone, grade 4


Jazz Alive! Every element in jazz has its counterpart in life. Through the fascinating interactions in pieces like Countin' the Blues, Feelings, Jazz Sandwich,I Love Jazz and Jazz Scenes from Life, all of the basic features in jazz are brought to life. Well known songs like the Flintstones, Inspector Gadget, and the spritual He's Got the Whole World in His Hands provide familiar ground for learning new concepts. Jazz classics like Summertime and Bye Bye Blackbird round out the program. Topics include improvisation, scat singing, swing, song form, the blues, instrument roles, interactions in the band and listening skills. This show is tailored to audience size and age range, and is presented at all venues. Band size 2-5. Grades K -12 or Family Show. Audience Size - up to 250. Go to Jazz Alive!


"You really make jazz accessible to these youngsters! What impressed me in particular was your rapport with the children, the audience participation and the way in which the program was organized."
    Lois Kipnis, Director of Arts Education, Locust Valley, NY


Shammy and the Wizards of Jazz  Experience the MAGIC of Jazz. Jazz is magical in the sense that jazz, like all spontaneous living, is full of surprise and wonder. This program demonstrates the magical elements of jazz in the context of entertaining skits that magically explain the art of jazz listening. Costumes, drama and comedy join forces with great music and sound pedagogy to provide a solid learning experience. Band size 3-5. Grades K-12 or family show. Audience size - up to 250.



The Young Jazz Musician is a one week school residency that teaches students to play jazz. Available for grades 4-6, students will use recorder, percussion instruments and voice to explore jazz. (If needed, recorders may be purchased or borrowed for us.) The course involves varied activities, often presented as imaginative games. Subjects include listening, imitating, memorizing, composing and improvising. The students chant, sing, move and play instruments. Day one orients the children to the basics of music: rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics (volume), tempo (speed) and meter (a measured pulse). Day two covers learning a melody by ear and memorizing it. Days three and four focus on improvisation and composition, and the last day is spent tying everything together for the evening's performance. By actually playing jazz, the student's inner experience promotes an intrinsic understanding of the music. This is a much more powerful learning experience than learning about jazz from a lecture or textbook.

Improvising Jazz   Workshops for instrumentalists and vocalists range from one period to a one week residency. They can be custom designed to complement the music teacher's curriculum and goals. Please see the description below.




"I was particularly impressed with the comparison you made between the parts of the body and the members of the band. The children loved the portion of the show where you allowed them to choose a feeling and the band showed them how that feeling can be translated into music."
   Jeannie Connolly Director, ConVal Elementary Schools Arts Enrichment Program, Peterborough, NH



Improvising Jazz  This class is offered to instrumentalists and vocalists from middle school through graduate school. Experienced players will revisit basics from a fresh perspective, and get advanced techniqes in light of these basics. The class runs anywhere from one period, to a full day, and up to one week. It covers basic improvising skills such as playing by ear and memorization. Scales, patterns, rhythms and harmony are explored in the context of imaginative games. Jazz application involves simple folk tunes, authentic jazz riffs and blues, groove and standard tunes, vamps and drones. The emphasis is on the student's experience in the workshop. Process and awareness are valued above "product." This approach helps the student's appreciation of their own style and fosters self confidence in practice and performance. Practice techniques for a lifetime of study are provided.


"Mr. Kolodny worked well with our students at Brevard Middle School. He enhanced their understanding of jazz as well as their love for music. His rapport with staff was excellent. Mr. Kolodny brought an added dimension to our musical program."
   John K. Tinsley, Principal, Brevard Middle School, Brevard, NC

The Playful Voice - Exploring Vocal Improvisation
This performance/workshop uses vocal improvisation as a vehicle for opening up one's spirit. Through performance, demonstration and interaction, Laura Pierce leads the group in exploring ways to have fun and be creative, and to express themselves freely with vocal improvisation. Participants get to try scat singing, in the context of familiar folk tunes, the blues, jazz and free-play. No experience is necessary, participation is optional and everyone from non-musician to professional vocalist will find something of value in the workshop.