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  • Donny Thompson, M.S., NPA

Jazz Outreach Initiative and Music & Arts Form Exclusive Strategic Partnership

Sunday March 27th at Jazz Outreach Initiative’s free JOI Jazz Orchestra concert, Jazz Outreach Initiative and Music & Arts will present a local disadvantaged child with a free instrument and a year of free private music lessons through Jazz Outreach Initiative’s “Jazz Routes” program.

Jazz Outreach Initiative launched “Jazz Routes” in 2021 with instruments donated to “JOI” from the community. Local donors and corporate sponsors fund the lessons for local youth who demonstrate financial need. “There are many programs which offer donated instruments to young people who can’t afford them, said Donny Thompson, JOI’s Executive Director. “What makes “Jazz Routes” unique is our ability to also offer these students the most expensive part of owning that instrument, the lessons to learn to play it. It is a “JOI” for us to provide both the instrument and the lessons that dramatically improve the lives of our young people. And for our donors, it’s a tangible way to actively and measurably show they care about children and the arts in our community.”

A music instrument can cost hundreds of dollars or more and the cost of a year of music lessons averages $1,200 -1,500, well out of range for many in our community. This new strategic and exclusive partnership with Music & Arts, the nation’s largest instrument retailer, is a win-win for everyone. Students who otherwise may never have access to an instrument and lessons will benefit by the life-changing gift of music education. Music & Arts will provide Jazz Outreach Initiative with donated brand name instruments. And JOI’s individual donor and corporate sponsors will help pay for the lessons the students will receive from the outstanding teachers at local Music & Arts stores.

Scott Lang, Director of Advocacy for Music & Arts said, “As a classroom teacher, jazz was always an important part of my overall music program, which is why I am so excited Music & Arts is partnering with Jazz Outreach Initiative on this important project. Jazz is not only an integral and essential part of our profession, but a gateway to understanding our national heritage and cultural identity. This unique program ensures student success by combining the two most important elements of the music-making process: high-quality instruments and personalized private instruction. Bravo!

JOI and Music & Arts will present a local student with a clarinet and free lessons for a year on Sunday, March 27th at the 7pm free performance of the JOI Jazz Orchestra. The concert will feature GRAMMY® nominated legendary headliner, Clint Holmes and will spotlight local award-winning composers by performing arrangements of big band classics and original works. Free tickets and location information are available for this concert and an earlier “Jazz for Young People Concert” on the JOI website, The public can also support “Jazz Routes” and Jazz Outreach Initiative through the site’s donation links or by texting the word “Routes” to 44321.

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