Fest Jazz’s Trevor Stent Presents “Jazz at the School”

Just today I signed an online petition entitled

“Don’t Cut BBC Jazz Now!”

But how about Jazz in UK Schools? So sadly lacking!
Should we not follow the outstanding example of an Englishman in France?

Youth in Jazz: Joan Chamorro’s Sant Andreu Jazz Band (Fest Jazz, 2014)

Trevor Stent’s Good Time Jazz has for years organised a project in Brittany:
“Jazz at the School”.

He has just shared a post on Facebook: “The idea is to introduce jazz to young people in a fun way as well as give some idea of the history of jazz and the people who have played it. Dance is now an important part of the project. Sometimes we go to the school, sometimes the school comes to a hall nearby. Here is a clip from yesterday (29th March) with 150 primary school pupils from Brest enjoying the experience almost as much as the band did….”



Quite frankly, compared with this,  jazz, or the lack thereof, in UK schools is put to shame! Yet I doubt this will stir up action this side of the channel! And perhaps the same comparison can be levelled at jazz in schools in other nations.
(comments would be welcome).

Recently I posted a rather controversial feature entitled
“An Appeal To Jazzers: Ease Up On Brexit”.

So perhaps when it comes to jazz, this follow up post shows where my heart is. If only we could extricate ourselves from the geopolitics and power play of Brexit and bring it down to the level of pure human relationships.
Yet to power brokers and politicians on all sides this appears to be a non-starter.

But to finish on a high note, let’s concentrate on the achievements of Trevor Stent and his youthful French Fest Jazz Team:

Fest Jazz Brittany 2019 Presents a Dream Line Up: 26th/28th July

Peter M Butler
Editor Jazz&Jazz

Footnote: As early as November, 2012, I posted here on Jazz&Jazz a feature about Trevor Stent’s passion for jazz in schools in France and his hopes for similar initiatives in the UK:
“Voila! Jazz à l’Ecole! Time to Take up the Cudgel Again in the UK?”

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  1. Peter Treger says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the concept and the work being done in Brest and San Andreu is proof that it can work. A great ” thank you ” to Trevor Stent and of course Joan in Spain. But what it will come down to in the UK ( if we still exist as a UK! ) is ” who is going to pay for all this? and where are the teachers and educators who can carry out the work?
    We know there is a wealth of jazz musicians across the land who have the musical knowledge, but teaching is another kettle of fish…especially when confronted by a class of 50 rowdy kids. The answer, could be a series of workshops sponsored by instruments makers (?) where the basic principles of teaching are taught to working jazz musos.. It certainly is worth a try…the sooner the better!

  2. tad newton says:

    When I was teaching , at most of my schools I would liaise with the History Department and offer an illustrated lesson on the “Jazz Age” with sound bytes…the kids loved it..once they got used to the “funny music”. I also organised an annual jazz night for the PTA which was always popular. Went back to play at my penultimate school for a Jazz and Gin Evening last year which was an enormous success..raising in the order of £5000+. Also attended by many old pupils of mine…some of whom were in their 50’s……aarrgghh!.
    Schools AND THE GENERAL MEDIA…could do a lot more for jazz.

  3. Joanna Carter says:

    It would be great if UK schools would continue to teach any music. From what I hear, government cuts are meaning less and less schools can afford to do even that!

    My good friend Helen only ever got to play the recorder for a couple of days at primary school before her mother took it off her (presumably because of the squeaks and squawks that accompany all beginners). She finally took up the guitar when she retired. She is loving it but regretting the lack of flexibility that has set in with age.

    And don’t get me started on the lack of foreign language teaching in schools!

  4. Trevor Stent says:

    The band is always paid “correctly” for these school concerts. There is an important difference to the UK in the way funding is allocated in France (and the rest of Europe?). The power and money given to the regions means that it is easier for the schools and colleges to access the funding to pay us. I also get the impression that more is spent on culture generally than in the UK. One other pleasing point, in all the dozens of school concerts (ages from 8 – 18) that we have done, we have never had a moment’s indiscpline or lack of politeness from the students. They are always respectful and interested.

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