Jazz Appreciation Month

The Smithsonian Museum of American History created Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM) in 2001 to recognize and celebrate the extraordinary heritage and history of jazz for the entire month of April. NAfME partners with Smithsonian Jazz to provide member access to an annual JAM poster in the April issue of Teaching Music. A multitude of resources for celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month, including event ideas, the JAM logo, and radio announcements may be found at Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month.

Search for additional resources from NAfME’s Council for Jazz Education throughout the year in current and back issues of Teaching Music and the NAfME Academy (member login required).

2024 Jazz Appreciation Month Interview Series

Join NAfME’s Council for Jazz Education Chair Bethany Robinson as she interviews prominent jazz educators from around the country in honor of Jazz Appreciation Month 2024.

Roosevelt Griffin

In this interview, Roosevelt Griffin III discusses how to get young students comfortable with improvising. Founder of the Griffin Institute of Performing Arts NFP, Roosevelt holds the Dyett Chair for Jazz Studies at VanderCook College of Music, operates GI Music LLC, and serves as Jazz Academy Ensembles Director for the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. His student-centered approach, emphasizing harmonious band rooms and technical proficiency, has led to numerous awards including the Golden Apple Award, John LaPorta Jazz Educator of the Year, and a street named in his honor. His innovative pedagogy has been documented in notable academic publications, and he holds degrees from Northern Illinois University, Concordia-Chicago, and Argosy University, with a sabbatical from Northwestern University.

Lisa Linde

In this interview with NAfME’s Council for Jazz Education Chair Bethany Robinson, Lisa Linde discusses how she’s continued to build a culture of inclusion and excellence even amidst administrative scheduling difficulties. Lisa Linde is the band director at Newtown South High School in the Boston area, where her jazz bands have qualified for prestigious programs like Essentially Ellington at the Lincoln center and the Mingus Festival. She also runs a nonprofit organization called JazzHers, dedicated to promoting gender equity in jazz performance. For more information about Lisa and the organization, visit https://www.jazzhers.com/board

Jeremy Lumpkin

Jeremy Lumpkin is the band director at Hillgrove High School near Atlanta, Georgia, where in just a few short years the jazz program received an invitation to perform at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in December 2023. In this interview with Bethany Robinson, Chair of NAfME’s Council for Jazz Education, Jeremy discusses his philosophy on having expanded instrumentation in the jazz band program. For more information about Jeremy Lumpkin, visit https://hillgroveband.membershiptoolkit.com/jeremy_lumpkin.

Sammy Miller

NAfME Chair of the Council for Jazz Education Bethany Robinson talks with performer Sammy Miller about his experiences working with students through the Jazz at Lincoln Center program and his band The Congregation. Shortly after completing his master’s degree at The Juilliard School, Sammy Miller formed The Congregation to harness the power of community through joyful jazz. The Congregation members have harnessed their incredible skills and community into an online platform called “Playbook Jazz,” where students have the ability to play along with experts on their instrument as they learn the nuances of jazz language. For more information, visit https://www.thisisplaybook.com/.

NAfME members may earn professional development certificates for watching these videos within the NAfME Academy, NAfME’s online learning platform. The NAfME Academy is free to members but requires an annual subscription. Current subscribers to the Academy may find these recorded interviews in the NAfME Learning Center here (sign-in required).

Resources and Articles

What’s your favorite jazz teaching tip for the classroom or ensemble?” (April 2022 Teaching Music magazine)

Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Month poster

April 2024 marks the 125th birthday of Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington. Born on April 29, 1899, in Washington, DC, Duke’s early exposure to music came from his parents, Daisy Ellington and James Edward Ellington, who both were pianists. His exposure, parental support, and private piano lessons provided a critical foundation in his early development as a pianist and musician.

2024 JAM Poster

Throughout his lifetime, Duke Ellington composed dynamic music that inspired vivid visual imagery and emotion. Combining his unconventional orchestration technique with the unique talent of his individual orchestra members, Ellington was able to transpose everyday life into musical works of art.

To mark what would have been his 125th year, the Smithsonian Museum of American History features Duke Ellington on this year’s Jazz Appreciation Month poster through the evocative and colorful painting from LeRoy Neiman.

You can find the poster in your print copy of the April 2024 Teaching Music or download it here (available in English and Spanish).

April 2024 Teaching Music


  • Jazz Education

Resource Type

  • Video


  • Jazz

Teaching Level

  • College/University
  • Junior/Middle School
  • Senior High School

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