JACKSON JOINS BOARD OF JAZZ ST. LOUIS
Russell Jackson recently was named to the Board of Directors of Jazz St. Louis, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide free jazz education to young people in St. Louis and the surrounding area. JSL brings internationally-known jazz legends to town to perform at Jazz at the Bistro. But few people realize that each of those performers – as part of his or her contract – participate in JSL’s educational programs, too. Moreover, JSL sponsors Jazz U, in which nearly 60 students receive intensive instruction from jazz professionals weekly while playing in small jazz ensembles. JSL has other educational programs for pre-schoolers through high schoolers, and it even conducts a program that uses jazz instruction as music therapy.
“As an enthusiastic listener, I have benefitted from Jazz St. Louis since I moved here,” Mr. Jackson explained. “But I am so impressed by the breadth and depth of JSL’s educational programs, and I want to help this organization reach even more young people.”
“For law firms and other corporate citizens seeking to make a real difference in St. Louis, Jazz St. Louis should be at the top of their list of charities,” he said. “Scientific studies consistently show that playing jazz stimulates all brain centers, which is no surprise since the musicians are multitasking: concentrating on the melodic line, staying in tune, following challenging rhythms, listening to other players, and anticipating what has yet to be played.”
“Students who play jazz regularly score significantly higher on the SAT, especially on math and language,” Mr. Jackson explained. “They also are more likely to finish a college degree, since they understand the importance of rehearsing, practice, and teamwork.”
“At a time when many St. Louis area schools are de-funding or downsizing their music programs, the work of Jazz St. Louis is even more important.” Mr. Jackson stressed. “Funding jazz education isn’t frivolous; it’s essential to creating young citizens who have critical thinking skills and the discipline to see projects through.”