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Many Dollars Have Been Spent on Jazz Education. Now Where Are the Audiences?

The Jazz Education Network is big, and nationwide, and four years old, nearly, and they have spent many, many dollars to increase jazz education and awareness. This monumental outreach, hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth, has… caused audiences to shrink, apparently, which is not reassuring in any way, and has led to quite a lot of understandable consternation and uncertainty in the larger professional jazz community, because – that’s a lot of money, and it’s not like the JEN is backed by Warren Buffett, so it’d be nice to see some sort of return at some point, and also, jazz is really great and wouldn’t you like to hear some, please? This is a story that has been talked about and talked about, over and over again, resurfacing every once in awhile to get further dissected, and it remains an interesting one. Although: is education really the best way to go about growing a new audience? Is it really a great idea, if you’re trying to sell the appeal of hard bop to a bunch of 17-year-olds – who, let’s keep in mind, were in kindergarten at the turn of the millennium – to remind them of school? (FULL ARTICLE: Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR)