Rialto Jazz for Kids
Rialto Jazz for Kids is an ongoing series of comprehensive jazz education programs for elementary and middle-school aged students throughout metro Atlanta. Rialto Center has partnered with over nine middle schools during the last 10 years. The ensemble visits four-five times during a school year, beginning in September and ending in May, featuring consecutive programming that adds additional lessons and concludes each with post-visit activities and study materials.
The Rialto Jazz for Kids program is under the leadership of Dr. Gordon Vernick, an accomplished author and musician, and head of the Georgia State University Jazz Studies program. Included in the performance group, which travels to the schools to perform, are musicians who are noted both as teachers and musicians. They include:
- Dr. Gordon Vernick, Director RJK, Trumpet
- Gary Motley, Keyboard
- Justin Varnes, Percussion
- Mace Hibbard, Saxophone
- Justin Chesarek, Percussion
- Tyrone Jackson, Keyboard
- Billy Thornton, Bass and Guitar
- Rick Rodriguez, Trombone
- Wes Funderburk, Trombone
Dr. Vernick brings a 20-year history of providing educational programs to young audiences.
The Rialto Jazz for Kids program crafts a multidisciplinary program that brings lessons of culture and history to life for young children through music. As stated in the Georgia Quality Core Curriculum, “students in the early stages of music education learn by doing. The experience further enables them to understand connections and relationships to other disciplines. Students must be exposed to and understand their own historical and cultural heritage as well as others.”
Rialto Jazz for Kids programs feature four to six visits to each partner school, providing a comprehensive program including written educational materials, consecutive lesson plans, and opportunities for follow-up with students interested in particular musical instruments.
The Jazz for Kids program is currently being presented at the Atlanta Jazz Festival in addition to our partner entities. The activities and materials connected with the Rialto’s educational jazz outreach are curriculum-driven, stemming from, reflecting, and meeting the Quality Core Curriculum (QCC) standards of the public school systems.