New Jersey holds noteworthy cultural influences in art, film and music. Since the 1970’s the airwaves have carried the sounds of Count Basie, Billie Holiday and other musical artists that have set the precedent for amazing jazz music. WBGO, located in Newark, is a non-profit radio station that promotes the continuance of jazz music and its artistic significance. An extension of these values is further enhanced by the Kids Jazz Series established
Eight FREE concerts throughout Essex county are offered this year with live music performed by professional artists. Four concerts in the Fall and the Spring enable children to journey on an interactive experience where they not only hear music but learn about it as well. Each show has its own theme and in some instances there can be a Question & Answer period and/or raffles.
The concerts begin at 1:30 pm in the designated location but you can pick up tickets 30 minutes before the show begins. It is a first-come first-serve basis to receive tickets so it is recommended you are there before the show begins. In order to attend, children must be accompanied by an adult and adults cannot enter unless a child is with them.
Mommy University Presents
Benefits of WBGO Kids Jazz Concerts
Encourages Appropriate Social Behavior
This may vary based on the age of the child. Since it is understood that this space is designed for children, there is a greater understanding and empathy when children don’t want to stay in their seats. I find this is a wonderful opportunity for children to practice appropriate social behavior with the ability to move if they need to or want to dance.
While my children don’t have the depth of knowledge about jazz music, they are hearing snippets of music and history that promotes a conversation. In one show, they learned about call and response as well as working songs. It is very possible that they will not enjoy all the music but the exposure is opening their minds that we explore with discussion.
Increases Music Appreciation
As a huge Jazz fan, I am enjoying the opportunity to have my children exposed to this music and music in general. They will learn songs from Disney soundtracks as well as Laurie Berkner, but if they can hear music with a profound cultural history and impact then they are beginning to see a whole new world that exists. While they may not fall in love with jazz, it is my goal that they will not only appreciate this musical genre but all musical styles.
Spring 2017 Kids Jazz Series
April 8th, 1:30pm – Dion Parson
The Rhythms of West Africa and the Caribbean and their influence on Jazz, America’s True Art Form (best for ages 14-18)
NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark, NJ 07102
May 6th, 1:30pm – Melissa Walker & Jazz House Kids
Let’s Build a Jazz House – Celebrating the 15-Year Anniversary of Jazz House Kids and WBGO (best for ages 7-11)
Newark Symphony Hall, 1020 Broad St., Newark, NJ 07102
June 3rd, 1:30pm – Timbalooloo with Oran Etkin
Oran and Clara Net travel the World and Share Melodies, Rhythms and Stories of their Travels (best for Ages 7-11)
Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102
For more information and to register for a show, visit the WBGO website.