Youth Education

This free, top-tier education program, led by renowned teacher Jason White takes young musicians – many of whom have never improvised or played jazz – and builds them into confident, creative performers in just 2 weeks. During the program, they learn to communicate on-stage without a conductor, to listen to themselves and to build arrangements as a group. Many of our workshop participants have credited the program as the reason they went on to study jazz at the post-secondary level, and several gigging groups have formed from the program’s alumni.

Ever-expanding its education and outreach offerings, our festival’s 25th-Anniversary season saw the creation of our  Youth Jazz Choir, a training program led by popular singer/songwriter and voice teacher Joni NehRita. Principal topics include song writing, beatboxing, improvisation, and cross-genre jazz covers.

For those youngsters who aren’t old enough to participate in our workshops, the Sun Life Financial UpTown Waterloo Jazz Festival’s kids’ tent houses an instrument petting zoo. Between sets, look for our Jazz For Kids bucket drumming sessions at the City Hall Stage, led by international touring artists Rich Burrows and Chris Lesso. Older kids, aka parents, uncles, and innocent bystanders are all welcome at Jazz For “Kids!”