music class

Learning about music online — Healdsburg Jazz, which typically offers interactive music classes for kids during their annual Jazz Festival, now has classes and activities for kids online on their virtual jazz village campus. All classes are free. Photo pre-COVID.

Photo courtesy Healdsburg Jazz

Free classes for all ages available online 

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is usually a time-honored Healdsburg tradition that brings beloved musicians and a slew of interactive learning activities for kids to the downtown area. Despite the cancellation of the festival this year, Healdsburg Jazz is offering a virtual village campus chock full of music lessons and activities for kids of all ages, and it’s all free.

The virtual jazz village campus website contains classes for kids in kindergarten to fifth grade and there is no limit to how many times, students, families and teachers can utilize the lessons and activities offered by five different music and dance professionals. The classes are a collaboration with Healdsburg Jazz and Music is First and funded by a Creative Sonoma Cultural Art grant.

With a variety of lesson topics — music and movement, music and rhythm of New Orleans, body music, drums and natural instruments — there is something for everyone.

“We already had the campus scheduled and the teachers lined up and kids had already registered and due to COVID, we had to regroup and I felt that it was important that we still offer musical events focused on K through 5 students,” said Jessica Felix of Healdsburg Jazz.

The instructors, dancer Kim Agnew, multi-instrumentalist Bryan Dyer, world-renowned rhythm dancer/percussionist Keith Terry, Latin percussion educator Ami Molinelli and musician Maria De La Rosa, were able to film all of their activities and lessons virtually and Felix said despite the conditions, they all did a great job.

“Everybody did it from their homes and I think they did a really great job considering we are all learning how to do this (virtually),” Felix said.

Each teacher created three different 15-to 20-minute courses, each with a different theme and some offer additional reading materials and notes and others are also bilingual. For instance, one class with De La Rosa that’s geared towards second to fifth graders, offers an experience learning how to create music with your feet in the traditional “Jarocho” style, a music style from Veracruz, Mexico. Another lesson with De La Rosa focuses on listening to the music of nature and introduces a variety of instruments made from natural materials. 

Felix said she’s excited about these classes because of the great teachers, many of whom are versatile and famous for their line of work. She added that music is important for everyone, but that it also helps children in their overall learning abilities.

“Now that they (kids) can’t go to summer camp they’re home a lot and this should give them some fun, and we also address the core standards that schools need to address,” Felix said.

To register for classes, visit https://healdsburgjazz.org/virtual-jazz-village-campus/, where folks can register for a specific class or take a look at all five. Once registration is complete, participants will receive an email with access links and passwords for each lesson. 

While all classes are free, donations are accepted. For more information about the program, visit the Healdsburg Jazz website, or call 707-433-4633. 

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