Education Programme

Education Programme

Putting the ‘fun’ into funky for local school-children

Almost 1500 children across Derry and Strabane will get a fun and funky ‘taste of jazz’ with Live Music Now’s schools programme in the run-up to the 2022 festival.

Between March and May, pupils at 15 primary schools will experience jazz taster performances in their school hall, delivered by pianist John Leighton and singer / saxophonist Meilana Gillard.

John and Meilana are familiar faces on the Northern Irish jazz scene, though Meilana hails from Ohio originally. Together they make a big sound, with Meilana’s gutsy, soulful vocals and John’s funky piano playing.

The short performances will be interactive and fun, including familiar jazz standards, and will be a perfect introduction to jazz for wee ones.

Since 2017 Live Music Now has reached over 7000 children through the Derry Jazz Festival’s outreach programme, with a rapturous response from pupils and teachers alike. One principal described the reaction ‘as if Santa Claus had just walked in’!!

This is the first year since the pandemic that schools will get some live jazz and we can’t wait!
‘The opportunity for our pupils to experience a less familiar genre of music was invaluable to us. Pupils are familiar with genres such as pop, country, classical but jazz is something they have little experience of.’

Live Music Now is the leading outreach and musicians’ development charity, which places musicians in a range of education, community and healthcare settings.

For more information or for your school to register interest please email