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The Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music

Kidd Jordan teaching at the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music. Photo by Steph
Kidd Jordan teaching at the Don Jamison Heritage School of Music. Photo by Stephen Houser.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is the non-profit owner of some of New Orleans' great cultural gems (such as Jazz Fest and yours truly, WWOZ). Throughout the year they have a number of community-empowerment initiatives in the areas of economic development, culture, and education.

The Foundation's longest standing educational program is the Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music. Established in 1990 by Edward "Kidd" Jordan in response to the frequent lack of resources available for music education in the public school system, the Heritage School of Music provides free weekend programs for teenage students from around the greater New Orleans area.

Students must audition before enrolling in programs teaching brass, woodwinds, piano, voice, bass & guitar; they should have at least one year of formal training on their instrument of choice before trying out. Among the ranks of the Heritage School of Music's star-studded alumni be sure to note Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrew, "Big Sam" Williams and Shamarr Allen.

Here is some more information on the school's goals and role in the community from The Don "Moose" Jamison Heritage School of Music Website.

From the beginning, Jordan’s philosophy has been to give young musicians a solid grounding in the basics of music performance and theory, so that as they mature they can find their own voice. “I try to help them with their instrument and with the jazz vocabulary,” Jordan says. “Then they can take it and do something with it.”

In addition to providing free music education to young people in the community, the Heritage School of Music creates employment opportunities for the musicians who serve as teachers. These have included some of the city’s most respected performers, such as Edward “Kidd” Jordan, Kent Jordan, Germaine Bazzle, Jonathan Bloom, Edward Anderson, Leah Chase, Geoff Clapp, Brent Rose and Jesse McBride.

At a time when New Orleans faces extraordinary challenges, especially in the realm of public education, the Jazz & Heritage Foundation is moving steadfastly to reinforce the role of music and culture in the lives of our youth.

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