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Music...it is a part of every human culture and society. We are entertained by it, we are moved by it. KCCK uses jazz music, America's only indigenous musical art form, to enrich people's lives through radio, other technology and outreach programs.

School House Jazz is a music enrichment program created by KCCK-FM to tap into the energy and curiosity of young people and help them begin to appreciate jazz as fun music to listen to and an important part of our American heritage.

This project introduces elementary school students to jazz music and shows how it has influenced American culture. Through live performance, narration and interaction with musicians, this project demonstrates how jazz developed through social, economic and political changes in our country's history, and what sets jazz apart from other musical forms. The project also gives students a better understanding of the wide variety of music available to them as they begin to make personal choices about preference and style.


The Schoolhouse Jazz Program: The main Schoolhouse Jazz program is an assembly or all-school concert with the Schoolhouse Jazz team, consisting of professional performer-educators with narration. This particular format works well with large groups. It is also a good adjunct for Black History Month in February or for Jazz Appreciation month in April. The basic presentation runs about 45 minutes.

  • Students will learn how jazz grew out of Negro field music in the deep South and was influenced by West African rhythms.
  • Musical selections will illustrate basic jazz concepts, periods and styles. With enough lead time, the presentation can be customized to incorporate other subjects that students are studying concurrently.
  • The presentation can be done once for the entire student body, or broken up into two separate groups (usually K-3 and 4-6), with slightly different presentations for younger vs. older student groups.



  • Schoolhouse Jazz is designed to be a flexible enrichment program that can easily be added to any existing curriculum. Each teacher who decides to use the resources of Schoolhouse Jazz can decide how much time they have to spend and what subjects should be incorporated into the assembly, workshop or residency. Please contact us to assist with planning and to schedule workshops at your school.

    Schoolhouse Jazz Staff. The Schoolhouse Jazz musician lineup changes occasionally, based on the availability of the musicians, but the core group consists of:

    • Dennis McPartland, Drums. Assistant director of instrumental and vocal jazz combos at Kirkwood Community College. He is also an adjunct instructor at Indian Hills Community College. Dennis serves as Schoolhouse Jazz music director.
    • Dennis Green, Host/Narrator. General Manager of KCCK-FM, a 25-year veteran of broadcasting in the Corridor, popular MC and event host.
    • Al Naylor, Trumpet. Adjunct faculty at Coe College, private instructor, leader of the I-380 Express.
    • Peter Hart, Saxophone. Graduate of the Eastman school of music, instrument technician, leader of the Vanguard Jazz Collective and Thelonious Assault.
    • Bob Dunn, Guitar. Adjunct faculty, University of Northern Iowa.
    • Ben Soltau, Bass. Recent graduate of the Kirkwood Community College jazz program, leader of New Beat Society.

    What Teachers Say:

    "You captured the attention of our young learners and gave many of them their first experience listening to live jazz. Thank you!" - Kathy Erusha, Principal, Monroe Elementary, Cedar Rapids

    "They enjoyed the music, seeing the instruments and viewing the power point presentation. When I met with students later, they were still able to remember things like 'call and response.'" - Becky Collier, Music Teacher, Pierce Elementary, Cedar Rapids

    Bring Schoolhouse Jazz to your school!

    • Contact Schoolhouse Jazz Music Director Dennis McPartland at 319-366-0092 or schoolhousejazz@kcck.org to line up your day and time. If you would like any extra sessions or residencies in music class in addition to the all-school assembly, let us know.
    • Schoolhouse Jazz generally performs on Fridays. Morning or afternoon slots (or both) are available. You can do one all-school assembly, or divide into two sessions.
    • Power/AV needs:
      • Easy access to normal wall outlets.
      • Screen (or white wall) to project visuals.
      • Media Cart (or other unit to set a data projector on).

    ICKY Award:

    Schoolhouse Jazz won the 2009 Iowa Cultural Corridor Award for Innovation and Excellence in the Education category.