Our Passages program restores intergenerational connections by exploring jazz traditions and oral histories through improvisational play and mentorship. We’ll be engaging cohorts of musicians that span generations. Younger and older musicians will be paired together to share stories and experiences and build relationships, and all musicians will gather together for jam sessions that enable them to play and discover together. We’ll take the best of the oral tradition and of proven traditional teaching methods to help advance musicianship.

Our goal is to develop young musicians, keep more experienced musicians connected, and create a respectful, mutually beneficial bond among the generations. 


The Passages program will reach across the years that separate multi-generational music makers and unify them with the Jazz Songbook as their common language.

As jazz education has been institutionalized, it’s lost a sacred tradition: passing on the music—and stories—from one player to another in non-classroom settings. The jam session has been a staple in the informal education of young musicians for decades, a “rite of passage” in which knowledge is passed down from one generation to another, conveying information that can’t be captured in a book but only through the oral tradition with all its rich subtlety, inflection, and detail.

If you’re interested in participating, please contact us for more information about this program, which will launch in Winter of 2022.

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Young players participate in the student jam at the 2019 Jazz Summit

Young players participate in the student jam at the 2019 Jazz Summit


Jazz is a uniquely American art form, as fearlessly innovative as the nation itself, and Philadelphia has been fertile soil for jazz for over 100 years. Discover our past and present on our jazz timeline!

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