Education Philosophy

Our School

The Cradle of Jazz School: a mobile school for cross-cultural exchange

Through on-site intensive tutoring in the village, combined with annual semesters at the U.S. based Center for West African Oral Traditions, our students are prepared for the Western university, while remaining rooted in their own culture.

Here is a video of Instruments4Africa’s dance troupe learning solfege for the first time with Julie. As a cellist, Julie notes how hard it was to hold her own pitch against untrained voices, and gladly relates that teacher and students improved greatly as the weeks went on!

  • Very few Senegambian students make it to American universities.
  • Those who do are not qualified for our music departments, though their music is the foundation of music in the U.S..
  • The Cradle of Jazz School will prepare West African musicians to join the Western musical dialogue.

How will the Cradle of Jazz School work?

Through the Suzuki teaching methodology, any student given patience and careful attention can learn to play a classical instrument. Cradle of Jazz co-director Julie Moore is a Suzuki-certified cello instructor, who has successfully taught Western music theory in Mali in one of Bamako’s poorest neighborhoods. In the United States, she has students as young as 4 years old playing their instruments with beauty, and reading music. In Mali, Julie also made field recordings of traditional “nursery rhymes” to incorporate into a West African Suzuki repertoire. For academic curriculum, the Cradle of Jazz School will follow established guidelines to ensure the students are meeting the qualifications of our sponsoring universities.

At the Cradle of Jazz project, we understand that scholastic assistance in West Africa should not be offered without also offering practical assistance. Elke Bachmann, CNM, MSN – one of Yale University’s outstanding clinical faculty, serves as our Global Health Advisor. With her assistance, Cradle of Jazz is to launch community health programs for all of the families with whom we work.

Suzuki method

Sponsoring Universities:

  • The Cradle of Jazz School is forming partnerships with American universities for the purpose of mutual support and exchange.
  • Students from our sponsoring universities will be eligible to spend a semester abroad in West Africa to assist in the education of our students, and study West African fine arts.

The Cradle of Jazz Project has no doubt West African children can successfully learn classical Western music, just as Japanese youth in post-World War II Japan did.

  • Sponsoring universities will accept our qualified graduates on full scholarships, giving the students obligations in their music departments.
  • Imagine an American university with four Cradle of Jazz students in attendance. Not only do the African students benefit greatly, but the university suddenly has a built-in West African musical ensemble, with its members available to give instruction on West African music to American students in the music department.

Let West Africans say it for themselves:

There is a philosophical divide between West African musicians and the Western scholars who try to document them. West African music is created with ideas not found in Western music theory, through the Western musician has not yet acknowledged these differences. The slave trade bound West African music to Western music, and jazz was born.

The Cradle of Jazz School empowers West Africans students to enter our universities, and create their own dialogue about this colonial fusion between Western and West African music.