By Pete BarenBregge

Last month, Alfred and nearly 3,000 of our friends attended the annual conference for the Jazz Education Network, a group that brings together a variety of individuals and organizations, all for the love and passion for JAZZ.

WHO belongs to JEN and attends the JEN conferences? Aspiring and/or young jazz musicians, professional jazz musicians, jazz fans and aficionados, aspiring jazz educators, experienced jazz educators, jazz journalists, music technology individuals, and the related music industry all come together to perform, present, educate, nurture, cultivate, and push jazz forward in our society.

WHY do we join the JEN organization? Because in some way we have all been touched by the love and passion for jazz—it is a calling and we are all part of the jazz community.

WHAT can JEN do for me and why should I be interested in this non-profit organization?

The JEN mission statement includes three main areas: advancing education, promoting performance, and developing new audiences.

Advancing jazz education! JEN is a network of jazz educators at your fingertips—to seek answers to questions, get ideas, explore concepts, relate to, and challenge. JEN can assist you and educators at all levels to know and understand more about jazz and therefore become more skilled to teach and enjoy jazz. At the annual JEN conference, the daily schedule is packed with terrific educational clinics, master classes and presentations by highly-skilled educators and music technology/industry experts providing essential concepts and information on every conceivable aspect of jazz.

Promoting jazz performances! JEN will provide exceptional opportunities to hear and appreciate world-class jazz musicians perform—both outstanding students and superb professionals. At the three-day annual conference, the schedule each day and evening includes amazing performances by all types of ensembles, individuals, duos, trios and whatever you can imagine in a concert setting—both instrumental and jazz vocal. Where else can you hear such an array of brilliant performers indoors, in a quality acoustical setting? It is first class all the way.

Developing new audiences! JEN the umbrella organization, the JEN website and the JEN conference all provide a cross-section of students, musicians, educators, performers, music technology experts and related music industry. Add to that a well-organized and effective local jazz outreach to hundreds, even thousands of students, all taught by experienced jazz educators and provided with quality materials at no charge. Informing, demonstrating, inspiring, mentoring, nurturing and cultivating; this is how you develop new jazz audiences.

Check out the various outreach and scholarship programs that JEN offers for students throughout the year.

My own experiences at JEN have been remarkable. I have attended both the first three JEN conferences and definitely plan to attend the 4th Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA, January 2-5, 2013. As a musician and educator, I have attended clinics, master classes, heard and participated in concerts, jazz jam sessions of the highest level and benefited immensely from each.

I highly recommend every jazz educator, aspiring jazz educator, jazz musician aspiring or professional, all music industry related, all music technology related individuals to become part of JEN—you won’t regret it. Do it today!

For more information on all these topics, check out

Alfred's Booth at the 2012 JEN convention