We are fundraising for this program right now!

The TOaG Jazz Clinics at Oakland High School

Our Mission

"To curate monthly jazz clinics at Oakland High School for 2018-2019 in partnership with music department head David Byrd, bringing working jazz musicians from the community into the classroom to perform for, engage with, and instruct students in a side-by-side environment.  Clinics are structured to provide a positive environment with hands on training in musicianship, theory, improvisation, professionalism, technique, and active listening; while also demonstrating the rewards of creative problem solving, self-organization, self-discipline, and respectful practices.  The program culminates in the opportunity for the students to record a selection of curriculum repertoire at a professional recording studio, allowing them to expand their portfolio for future educational and professional endeavors, as well as experience a moment of life as a working musician. Finally, this program seeks to establish a sustainable model to pay working artists a living wage for providing their services in the communities who need it most."

Student improvisors playing alongside the TOaG Quartet

Student improvisors playing alongside the TOaG Quartet

The need

The historically underfunded Oakland High School is a Title 1 institution that has been serving the Oakland community for 150 years, yet only received a comprehensive instrumental music program 5 years ago.  Battling state receivership, district wide deficits, and a lack of internal funding from sources like the PTA, Mr. David Byrd has single handedly built up the program over that period to include a competitive orchestra program that has won several awards in and around the Bay Area. However, his jazz program has not had access to mentorship programs or support, and would benefit greatly from the individualized attention that can be provided by professional jazz musicians, working side by side students on a consistent basis. Further, the well documented history of arts education not being supported in schools that represent our communities of color demands that we go above and beyond existing school programming, to provide the quality of service that the next generation of musicians deserve.

Mr. David Byrd and Mr. Kelly speaking with trumpet students

Mr. David Byrd and Mr. Kelly speaking with trumpet students

What students think

It was such a nice change, seeing different musicians who know what they are doing.”

— OHS Jazz Band Student

I loved the music performance at the beginning, and the fact that [the quartet] was so supportive of the solo sections for the students.”

— OHS Jazz Band Student

I liked that [the TOaG Quartet] had stories to tell us about how they came to be musicians now.”

— OHS Jazz Band Student

I like [Mr Carter] and how much emotion and fun I get from his playing [. . .] and the songs they shared were beautiful.”

— OHS Jazz Band Student

Mr. Byrd

"My name is David Byrd and I am the Director of music at Oakland Senior High School. We are in our 5th year of rebuilding the music program at “O-High,” and my efforts have been made much easier with the help and support of Benjamin Lee and 'The TOaG Jazz Clinics'. O-High's student jazz musicians are talented, hungry for knowledge,  and have directly benefitted from the excellent training my students have received from these mentors.  Most of Oakland High's students can't afford private lessons and this program will be an essential resource for our secondary jazz program!"

Funding

We are looking to raise $12,000 dollars to fully fund this program for school year 2018-2019. This funding will cover:

  • A living wage for the participating musicians for 10 jazz clinics (one a month), and the associated rehearsal and preparation time each month. 
  • The administrative costs of lesson planning, creation of exercises, and arrangement of repertoire.
  • Recording costs for the final project including mixing, mastering, and hosting the content for students future use
  • Repairing students instruments across the year
  • Documentation of the program

 

 

    If you would like to contribute to this effort,
    please visit our GoFundMe page
    to donate with your preferred electronic payement!

    Or you can mail us a check directly!

    Checks should be made out to: 
    Oakland High School Music Program 

    and mailed to: 
    490 Lake Park Ave #10655 
    Oakland, CA 94610

    The TOaG Quartet and the whole OHS Jazz band swinging!

    The TOaG Quartet and the whole OHS Jazz band swinging!

    Our Sponsors

    Recording Studio, Richmond, CA

    Recording Studio, Richmond, CA