International Association of Schools of Jazz
The International Association of Schools is a
network of schools of jazz from all over the world.
Students, teachers and representatives are connected
through the IASJ. They come together during the Annual
IASJ Jazz Meeting which takes place in a different country
IASJ Story by David Liebman
After doing a great deal of teaching in combination with performance during the 1980s, it appeared obvious to me that there was a need for an organization where schools from different countries could be in communication with each other and mutually benefit from that interaction. This should include both large state supported conservatories as well as small privately run schools. After corresponding for several years with educators, I proposed a meeting in Germany, held in April 1989 and was thrilled when 15 schools from 12 countries attended. We held our first Annual Jazz Meeting the next year in the Hague (where our Service Bureau is presently located) and since then the meetings have been in Dublin, Siena, Graz, Tel Aviv, New York, on a boat in the Baltic Sea, Köln, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Paris, Boston, Helsinki and Freiburg (Germany). Future meetings are planned for Louisville, Kentucky (USA) and Siena, Italy. In these past fifteen years nearly 1000 students, teachers and representatives have passed through the IASJ doors making life-long contacts, friendships and creating performance opportunities that would not have existed. On this level alone, the IASJ serves the purpose of a great jazz musician network.
Conceptually, the goal of the IASJ is to use the medium of jazz as a vehicle to promote positive cross-cultural communication between people from different countries. The process of practicing music together, performing with a small ensemble, meeting in master classes and jam sessions as well as socially is how the IASJ achieves this goal. We also have a newsletter for members and ongoing student/teacher exchanges between schools throughout the academic year. There is a lot to be gained personally, musically and spiritually through the IASJ. But the success of the week depends upon a positive attitude emanating from each attendee.