Jazz for All Ages
Riffs & Raps® is a family of community-based programs designed to connect audiences from toddlers to seniors with the music and the musicians who make it. The programs all use an interactive approach to educate participants about an essential part of America’s cultural heritage, build the audiences of the future, and use the power of jazz to help broaden the horizons for at-risk young people.
With the strong support of partners and funders including the Boston Public Library Foundation, Music and Youth Initiative, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, the Clipper Ship Foundation, and the Boston Cultural Council, JazzBoston launched Riffs & Raps I in April 2008, Riffs & Raps II in April 2009, and Riffs & Raps III in December 2009. These programs are ongoing. We are also working with community activist Mel King to develop a new multigenerational program.
All three programs are delivered by Arni Cheatham and Bill Lowe, two master teachers/performers selected for their extensive experience developing jazz curricula and their inspirational skills. They continue to refine the programs with each new round.
Click here for information about sponsoring a Riffs & Raps program or bringing one of the programs to your neighborhood community center, library or school.
Riffs & Raps – Find Your Jazz
An innovative after-school program for teens in underserved communities, Riffs & Raps® — Find Your Jazz (Riffs & Raps I) uses jazz as a tool to introduce young people to the power of expression, build their confidence in themselves and their pride in their cultural heritage, and foster the development of the skills they need to succeed in work and life. Seven weeks of hands-on workshops lead to a closing performance that puts the kids up front with their teachers and other professional musicians. By performing their stories for an audience of parents and friends, they share their experience, and their pride, with the community. The program has been delivered at the Codman Square and Dudley branch libraries and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester
Even at 7 weeks, the program has a powerful impact. A Dorchester teenager whose family broke up during the second week never missed a session.
Personally, I love JazzBoston’s Riffs and Raps program…. For us it really highlights the difference between only having 30 minute music lessons in limited space and being able to fully engage our members in a multimedia learning environment. The teachers are fantastic. They are able to present their content in a way that is both fun and engaging to today’s youth…. Students who were tentative at first beamed at the opportunity to show everyone what they had learned.
David Bonnell, Vice President of Operations
Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester