Minnesota Jazz Education

A nonprofit organization

Join MN JazzEd in supporting Experience Jazz!

Your gift to Minnesota Jazz Education (MN JazzEd; formerly Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education) will sustain Experience Jazz, an innovative ensemble program unlike any other in the Twin Cities. Presented by Walker|West, in partnership with High School for Recording Arts (HSRA), and now in its 7th year, this program is different from any other youth jazz program. The program offers full scholarships to any student, no questions asked. 

What makes Experience Jazz different? 

Here's what students had to say:

"We focused more on playing stuff off the page"

"We learn more about 'music' and less about my specific instrument."

"We aren't scared to delve into things outside of jazz."

"It feels more like a real band as opposed to a class."

Keeping the music alive

Operating this program has required MN JazzEd to adapt to the ever-evolving health situation, while ensuring we provide a safe, engaging and enriching experience for all students, of all skill levels--be it in-person and online. We faced these challenges head-on in 2020, moving online just 3 weeks after lockdown began (read more about this historic year, below). In 2021 we starting online and moved in-person as vaccines became available. In early 2022, as the Omicron variant was in full swing, we postponed our spring program and launched Experience Jazz for the first time in the fall. 

Your support enables us to keep adapting and providing opportunities for students to thrive in a supportive musical environment. Read on to learn more about how MN JazzEd kept Experience Jazz  going throughout the pandemic! 

Experience Jazz 2020: Keeping Students Engaged Throughout the Pandemic

Back in February 2020, we started out 4th year of Experience Jazz program, and when the pandemic hit, we are one of the first programs to move online. We taught students how to record from home, and helped them release the music they created and rehearsed together into their own full-length album "Experience Jazz 2020: The Sound of Distance." 

The story of these students' commitment to their music and resilience in the early days of the pandemic landed them local and national press in the Star Tribune, and DownBeat Magazine. Listen to the record!

“Everything about this record is being handled by youth still in their teens including the distribution, marketing, and servicing of the national media and radio,” says HSRA Business of Music teacher, Scotty Herold. “The staff mentored Experience Jazz youth to help enhance their performance and recording skills while learning about the great history of jazz music and its influence on hip-hop, gospel, and soul.” 

Join us in transforming the lives of young musicians with a gift today.

The last two years of Experience Jazz provided a supportive and enriching environment for students to stay engaged in their musical journeys and connected with each other. This was made possible thanks to community members like you who support this work. Thank you for your support!

About Experience Jazz

Launched in 2017, this innovative weekly combo program serves middle and high school student musicians, connecting them across communities & genres. Students of all musical backgrounds learn, play and compose new music together, learn new skills in workshops for industry professionals, and work in HSRA's state-of-the-art recording studio. Experience Jazz 2022 returns this spring. Learn more by clicking here.

“On behalf of our founder David TC Ellis and our entire HSRA/Studio 4 family, we are proud to partner with MN Jazz Education on such an incredible project! This is what true community collaboration is all about and happens when young people are at the center of our collective work,” said Tony Simmons, Executive Director of HSRA.

Experience Jazz 2022 returns in the fall. Learn more about auditions by clicking here.

About Minnesota Jazz Education

Minnesota Jazz Education (MN JazzEd) creates and supports access to quality jazz education for Minnesota youth through multiple programs and partnerships. Learn more at mnjazzed.org.

Organization Data


Organization name

Minnesota Jazz Education

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture Education Children & Family


Minnesota Jazz Education P.O. Box 4453
St. Paul, MN 55104

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