Miami Jazz Institute immerses students in America’s music

Mark Hart is executive and artistic director of the Community Arts Program, a Knight Arts Challenge South Florida winner to create the Miami Jazz Institute.

Since its inception in the early 20th century, jazz has been a reflection of American culture and is widely considered the truly original American art form. Yet many graduate from high school with little knowledge of the historical importance and practical applications of jazz. The Community Arts Program (CAP), with its Miami Jazz Institute, stimulates children—of all ages, areas and schools—through the richness of jazz.

Our jazz students begin to understand the place of jazz in American history, the musical structure of jazz and its practical applications: through instrument coaching, in performances as soloists, and as part of a CAP ALL-STAR Jazz Ensemble and Jazz PREP Band. The result is an ever-widening network of young performers presented throughout Miami’s many neighborhoods. The Miami Jazz Institute and its growth is, in turn, sparked as more children and youth are exposed to and engage in a format of inspiring peer-to-peer marketing.