How You Can Celebrate Jazz in April—and Throughout the Year

How You Can Celebrate Jazz in April—and Throughout the Year

By Richard Victor, Past Chair of the NAfME
Council for Jazz Education

April is Jazz Appreciation Month. Here are some useful resources to help you celebrate all month long!

Jazz Appreciation Month

Where JAM Got Its Start

Jazz Appreciation Month (widely known as “JAM”) was created in 2001 by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History “to recognize and celebrate the heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April.” Consequently, you will find relevant resources for this event on the Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month website.

jazzThe landing page is a great place to start. The menu on the left side of the page includes a link that will enable you to download the 2018 poster as well as links to all of the fabulous posters from past years.You will also find ideas for ways to celebrate jazz and links to free resources provided by the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

They have a Facebook page, too! Be sure to like that page in order to receive timely posts in your newsfeed for the entire month.


International Jazz Day

Independent of JAM, but just as noteworthy, is International Jazz Day, an event started in November 2011 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). It occurs annually on April 30th and serves as the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month.

Their website contain links to many great resources and include the downloadable “International Jazz Day Educator Guide.” You can also find their Facebook page here.


Get Social

You can also connect with both organizations on Twitter. Follow JAM @SmithsonianJazz and International Jazz Day @IntlJazzDay. There are hashtags the organizers use that will expand your resources exponentially, including #JazzAppreciationMonth!

Please share your success stories on Amplify and on the NAfME Council for Jazz Education Facebook page. Send us a tweet, too, at @NAfME and @NAfMEJazz.

Enjoy the celebration!

About the author:


Richard Victor retired in June 2011 as High School Band Director and coordinator of music for the State College Area School District in Pennsylvania. He began teaching at State College in 1975 and served as coordinator of music from 1988 until his retirement. He currently is an adjunct instructor for the University at Buffalo Graduate School of Education Global Campus and is serving as an Educational Clinician for Conn-Selmer.

Under Mr. Victor’s direction, the State High Jazz Band made five tours of Europe and performed at the North Sea Jazz Festival, at Disneyland Paris, at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, at Jazz a Vienne and Jazz a Juan in France, and at the Montreux Jazz Festival. They were finalists four times for the prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition; in 2010 the band was selected as a finalist for the Swing Central Festival in Savannah, Georgia.

Mr. Victor was president of the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) from 2000-2002; president of the PA Unit of the International Association of Jazz Educators (IAJE) from 1989-1993 and PMEA All-State Jazz Coordinator 1993-1998. Mr. Victor has been a guest conductor and adjudicator for concert band and jazz events in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and is serving as an instrumental adjudicator for Music in the Parks. He was guest director of the 2013 PMEA All-State Jazz Ensemble.


JAM Logo:

JAM Poster:


Did this blog spur new ideas for your music program? Share them on Amplify! Interested in reprinting this article? Please review the reprint guidelines.

The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) provides a number of forums for the sharing of information and opinion, including blogs and postings on our website, articles and columns in our magazines and journals, and postings to our Amplify member portal. Unless specifically noted, the views expressed in these media do not necessarily represent the policy or views of the Association, its officers, or its employees.

Elizabeth Baker, Social Media Coordinator and Copywriter. April 11, 2018. © National Association for Music Education (