Jazz Education in the Ithaca City Schools

Thanks to Michael Treat for this information, which is also included in the upcoming District Jazz Concert Program April 21, 7:30 p.m. at the Ithaca High School Performing Arts Center.

This concert will have special guest trombonist Melissa Gardiner, made possible by a grant from the Fine Arts Booster Group, an affiliate of IPEI.


The Ithaca School District has a proud history of introducing many young people to Jazz Music. Several Ithaca alumni have continued on to advanced degrees in jazz performance and some are now leading jazz programs at Universities in various parts of the country.

Students can begin learning to play Jazz in middle school. Jazz Ensembles and electives are offered at Boynton and DeWitt. These middle school jazz outlets offer an introduction to style, improvisation and a chance for many to gain their first exposure to the sounds of great jazz artists.

At the high school level, the Jazz Players is a long established group where students learn standard jazz repertoire and expand their skills in improvisation by playing in a combo setting.

The Ithaca High School Jazz Ensemble is an auditioned group that plays traditional and contemporary big band repertoire, collaborates with some of the area’s top jazz musicians and performs both in the community and in annual district jazz concerts.

The opportunity to study Jazz music is a unique and creative outlet that ICSD is proud to offer alongside the many other outstanding fine and performing arts opportunities available to our students.