Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

SMF Jazz Academy Accepting Student Applications for 2021-2022 School Year

Published on: 5/20/2021

Savannah Music Festival ​is currently accepting applications for the 2021-2022 SMF Jazz Academy, a tuition-free, year-long program for Savannah-Chatham County Public School  students in grades five through twelve. SMF Jazz Academy is Savannah's only free after-school jazz program designed to empower students by instilling life-long skills of academic, social and musical achievement. 

The program is designed for students at all music levels. With SCCPSS currently planning for an in-person student majority attendance for 2021-2022, SMF Jazz Academy plans to offer​ in-person instruction for the upcoming school year. 

“We're eager to see our students in-person again and to offer rehearsals in a face-to-face environment," said SMF Jazz Academy Manager Jessica Messere. “As always, our goal is to expose as many students as possible to the freedom of creative expression through jazz." 

All students participating in the program will have at least one rehearsal a week as well as one private lesson on their instrument. SMF Jazz Academy students will also perform at the end of each semester, participate in monthly jam sessions and work with local jazz musicians in masterclasses.  

SMF Jazz Academy is currently accepting beginning, intermediate and advanced students in grades five through 12. Interested families and students are encouraged to sign up for short, in-person placement interviews May 23-26. Previous musical experience is not required, and free instrument rentals are available if needed. More information and a link to apply is available at

The first SMF Jazz Academy enrollment period closes on Wednesday, May 26. A second enrollment period will take place Monday, August 2 through Sunday, August 22. To apply, visit

Established in Spring 2020 as a pilot program at the School of Humanities at Juliette Gordon Low Elementary in Savannah, Ga., SMF Jazz Academy expanded to a year-long program for the 2020-2021 school year and successfully transitioned to a virtual format. The mission of SMF Jazz Academy is to serve under-resourced communities as an assets-based program, promoting social justice in the form of high-quality jazz education and mentoring of its students. 

​Thanks to the generosity of founding sponsors Ron and Susan Whitaker, the program is free to all participating students. Investment in SMF Jazz Academy comes from the City of Savannah. The program is sponsored by Charles A. Frueauff Foundation, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, and May Wall & Walter Lynch. SMF Jazz Academy is sponsored in part by Walter G. Canipe Foundation, Chestnut Family Foundation, Kole Management Company, Robert M. and Diane S. Levy, Memorial Health and Anne P. West. 

Questions? Contact Jessica Messere at or 912.234.3378 x107

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