Registrations are open for our 2021 Jazz Power Institute Online Conference

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Produced by The Jazz Power Initiative, an Uptown New York City based non profit organization in collaboration with Lehman College, City University of New York (CUNY).

Since 2015, Jazz Power Institute at Lehman College has been offering training and insights to artists and educators in teaching jazz across disciplines of music, dance, theatre and writing. 

This year’s Institute will be held online on Wednesday, July 7 with a series of webinars and discussion between the hours of 10:30am-6 PM.

This year’s theme will be:

What universal lessons does jazz offer all music and dance students?

Registration is free for the webinars but participants must register for each individual session. All participants will be invited to attend the final discussion session at 5pm.



Okra Dance Director and dancer Shireen Dickson, Associate Professor of Music at LaGuardia Community College and guitarist Tom Dempsey, and Jazz Power Initiative’s Managing and Artistic Director and pianist Eli Yamin, prompt deep conversations with panelists drawing on their knowledge and experience. 

10:30 AM -12 PM – Panel 1 – Facilitated by Eli Yamin

Sourcing jazz for cultural relevance, social emotional learning and imagination

Mick Carlon, “Riding On Duke’s Train” author and middle school educator

Anthony Branker, jazz composer and Rutgers University music professor

Iantheia Calhoun, band director grades 6-12 and Queens College, CUNY music education professor

Antoinette Montague, jazz and blues vocalist and Jazz Power Initiative Senior Voice Teacher.

How can jazz bring more cultural relevance and opportunities for social emotional learning as well as vibrant tools for creative expression such as improvisation, swing and making a soulful sound to all students of music, dance, and writing?

12:30-2 PM – Panel 2 – Facilitated by Tom Dempsey

Introduction to Music – Whose Music and how can jazz lead the charge? 

D.D. Jackson, Emmy Award-winning jazz pianist and educator

Tammy McCann, singer, educator and 2020 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz

In music education, the predominant standard bearer for the study of melody, harmony, rhythm comes from a compositional practice created by white, male, privileged, practitioners. Many of these creators come from cultural backgrounds rooted in a prejudicial perspective that perpetuates a dominance of the white cultural perspective on music and society in general.  Yet the music that has informed the development of American music, which comes from the mid 17th century to the present, has included the prominent voices of the African, West Indian, and Latin American diasporas as core to its identity. In the 20th century, the Pan Asian influence on American music has also maintained a strong influence in American music. Why have these cultural influences been excluded from consideration in modern music education in an inclusive manner? How can these vital cultural influences be included in modern music education? Why is the music we discuss, and study predominantly produced by creators who identify as being male?  How can we be inclusive of all people and their respective identities to better represent the landscape of the contributions of all musicians? How do we rectify this misrepresentation to better serve our students? How can jazz lead the way? This panel will address the challenges facing our present music education landscape with the hopes of developing a white paper that can move this discussion and movement forward in an inclusive and beneficial manner.

3-4:30 PM – Panel 3 – Facilitated by Shireen Dickson

Reconnecting Music and Dance: A More Holistic Jazz Pedagogy

Junious “House” Brickhouse, choreographer and educator; founding Executive Director of Urban Artistry (MD)

Mickey Davidson, choreographer and Jazz Power Initiative Senior Dance Teacher

Erinn Liebhard, artist and educator; Artistic/ Executive Director of Rhythmically Speaking (MN)

At its most authentic roots, jazz dance and music have always intentionally existed and evolved together. Yet, institutionalized educational programs intentionally fail to honor this history.  What is lost – from both a cultural and a pedagogical perspective – when we dismiss the imperative of the dance-music connection? This panel imagines a jazz education future which lifts up both dance and music equally, and offers tools and strategies to begin moving in that direction.

5-6 PM – Open discussion with all participants – Facilitated by Shireen Dickson, Tom Dempsey and Eli Yamin

No cost registration for each webinar below. You must register for each webinar separately.

Registrants to one or more webinars will also be invited to join the conversation at 5pm to reflect on the day’s discussions.