How can we engage more audience?
It is the eternal question for non-profit performing arts presenters and practitioners. I have been asked this question many times at various conferences, meetings, grant adjudications, masterclass, etc. My answer is always the same.
Early arts education is the only true marketing for Jazz and creative music.
I grew up in Japan where (at least when I was there) there was no such thing as elective in arts classes until you were a senior in highschool. Until then, every student had to partake in all kinds of arts activities whether you like it or not. In first and second grades, everyone had to play diatonic harmonica and play simple songs in the key of C. This involves many skills. You have to know how to get around a harmonica. You have to be able to read simple music in 4/4. You have to have hand-eye coordination. You have to be able to count. You have to do all of the above all at once. In 3rd through 6th grades, students switch to the soprano recorder. Then you’ll move onto the alto recorder in 7th grade. And so on and so forth. Simultaneously, many students in Japan are required to participate in some sort of choir activities. We love choirs. Lol.