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Since 2005, KNKX's School of Jazz has provided mentorship, learning and performance opportunities to Western Washington middle school, high school and college jazz students. A cornerstone of the station's signature community outreach program, it has directly impacted thousands of jazz students, band directors and professional musicians. School of Jazz is sponsored by BECU.

KNKX School of Jazz Overview and FAQ's

KNKX’s award-winning School of Jazz program is now in its 13th year of mentoring jazz students in Western Washington and provides year-round opportunities for learning, performance, personal expression and growth. This includes bringing school jazz combos into our Seattle studios to perform live, giving a voice to students on the air as guest DJs, and supporting and partnering with other regional organizations that mentor jazz students (such as Seattle JazzED). School of Jazz has directly impacted over 3,000 students, band directors and professional jazz musicians, strengthening connections to the regional jazz community.

Program participants say:


“Jazz is an attitude, an emotion, and a truth. I love playing jazz because it is a very honest style of music, where musicians and people can express themselves and the world to the highest degree they can. Jazz is a feeling you get from a recording, and the best jazz can make me feel a certain way that is unparalleled to other art forms. I can't see a reason not to play it.”
--Brandt Fisher, KNKX guest student DJ, Edmonds-Woodway High School, 2017


“The School of Jazz Program is one of the best experiences I have had with my students in my teaching career.  It truly is a win-win for all involved; the students, directors, mentor musicians and the station.  The mentors have opened my eyes to new charts, new artists to listen to, and new ways of inspiring the students to reach their potential.  Participating in School of Jazz has certainly helped me become a better musician and band director.”

--Edd George, Bellevue High School Jazz Band Director


“Jazz is America's gift to the world…it needs our help to keep it healthy.  It is important in jazz to actually play with older experienced players so with the School of Jazz program, that is what happens.  The kids establish connections into the community, sometimes lifelong. The young players’ excitement is tangible and real and KNKX deserves credit for its support and foresight.”

--Jay Thomas, Northwest trumpeter and saxophonist, School of Jazz mentor


Who is eligible to participate in the School of Jazz program?

Western Washington public and private middle school, high school and college jazz programs.  Vancouver/Victoria and Portland, Oregon area schools are also welcome.




What's involved in participating in School of Jazz sessions?

Every month during the school year, professional musician mentors head into the classroom to work with student jazz groups. Their experience culminates with a live, on-air performance at KNKX’s Seattle studios, in front of an intimate audience of donors and broadcast to thousands of listeners on the station’s FM frequencies and online worldwide.


These studios sessions are recorded and professionally edited into high-quality videos, which are then shared on our website and through social  media platforms, including KNKX’s YouTube channel which has more than 13 million views. Click here to watch some of these studio session videos.


In addition, we support  jazz students’ “cross-pollination” and ongoing artistic development by welcoming groups comprised of individuals who may attend different schools. Examples include high school student combos Five Feet Up and the Ryan Leppich Quartet. In addition, School of Jazz “alumni” who participated in the program in high school and now attend college or have begun to develop their craft in professional capacities have opportunities to return to our studios and perform, such as the Danae Greenfield Quartet and The Westerlies.


What is the time commitment inside the classroom?

It’s at the discretion of the band director.  We ask the professional mentor to work with the students at school a minimum of two times and perform with them at the Seattle KNKX studio. The combo should prepare three songs to perform on the air.


What is the time commitment outside the classroom?

Travel to and from KNKX’s Seattle studios, arriving at least an hour before the live performance for load-in and sound check, the live studio session (20-25 minutes), and photos/signing the autograph wall following the session.


Are there costs associated with participation?

Yes. School groups’ transportation costs to and from our Seattle studio for their live performance are not included.

We cover all other fees associated, including professional video production and providing the mentors an honorarium for their time.


What backline is provided for the live studio session performance?

KNKX has a Yamaha U3 piano, DW Performance Series drum kit, and a bass and guitar amp.


What is the application process for group studio sessions?

Band directors should send an e-mail to Brenda Goldstein-Young, KNKX’s School of Jazz coordinator (, with the following materials:

  • Name of school and where it’s located.

  • A brief bio about the band.

  • Why you want your students to perform live on KNKX and what you hope to take away from the experience.

  • A song or two by the students that we can listen to (link to videos, file-sharing service like Dropbox, or audio files).

  • A couple photos of some of your students performing and/or jazz band group photo

  • Optional: Link to your jazz band’s webpage or social media site/s, if available

  • Please make sure you include the best phone number where you can be reached.

NOTE: Due to the space limitation in KNKX’s performance studio, the student group needs to be a combo of no more than seven students.

After I submit an application for my group, when will I know if we've been selected to participate?

We’ll acknowledge your submission upon receipt, and review in 2-3 business days. We should be able to get back to you shortly thereafter. Submissions will be reviewed in order of receipt.


What is the deadline to submit an application for the 2017-2018 school year?

Because there will be lots of competition for a handful of slots during this school year, you should submit your application as soon as possible, but we would like to have your submission by Friday, November 10.  We typically invite one school group to perform per month but on occasion, we have had more than one. If your group is not selected to participate this school year, we create a waiting list for the next year.



What is the time commitment inside and outside the classroom?

There is no time commitment inside the classroom. Outside the classroom and prior to recording their on-air segment with jazz host Abe Beeson, students will need to complete some homework.


Are there costs associated with being a student DJ?

Yes. Students’ transportation costs to and from our Seattle studio is not included.

We cover all other fees associated, including professional audio production.


What's the process for nominating a student DJ?

Send us an e-mail about the student and include his/her:

  • Name

  • Age

  • Year in school

  • Instrument  played

  • A sentence or two about why you have selected this particular student

  • Brief bio info about them

  • The student’s contact info (e-mail address and phone, or the e-mail address and phone of a parent/guardian). 

Please send the e-mail to Brenda Goldstein-Young:


Can I nominate more than one student?



When can I nominate a student for the 2017/2018 school year?

At this time, we have student DJs scheduled through December 2017. If you’re interested in nominating a student DJ for 2018, please let us know by Friday, November 10.


When will I know if my nominated student is selected to be a DJ?

We’ll try to let you know within a week after receiving your nomination.


If selected, what materials does the student need to submit?

The student will need to:

  • Prepare a playlist of roughly 53 minutes

  • Complete a personal profile, including questions about their jazz influences and what jazz means to them. This profile will be used online, for promotional purposes, and to help the jazz host produce the show.  

  • Students record their hour-long show one month prior to when their segment airs. They’ll set this up with jazz host Abe Beeson.

If my student is selected, when are his/her above materials due?

Students must submit all materials via email at least two weeks prior to visiting KNKX’s studios to record their on-air show.


Who do I contact if I have additional questions about School of Jazz?


Brenda Goldstein-Young, KNKX’s School of Jazz coordinator: