"Speaking of Jazz" and Kennedy Center Jazz Outreach

What is "Speaking of Jazz"?

"Speaking of Jazz" is a presentation created by Victor Haskins to accomplish the goals of the Kennedy Center Jazz Outreach (KCJO) program (started in January of 2014). This mission statement (also written by Victor Haskins) appears below.

KCJO Mission Statement

The mission of KC Jazz Outreach/"Speaking of Jazz" is first and foremost to introduce children to the power and relevance of jazz music. Through performances and contextual explanations, the program seeks to illustrate that "jazz" is less of a musical genre and more of a description of how people communicate with music. Listening, improvisation, and freedom of expression are the main components which make jazz special and vital, though these concepts can be applied to other areas of life, too. Components of the presentation include directed listening, interactive performances (where students sing along with and be a part of the tunes played at certain times), as well as music specifically written to be relatable to young students.

Quotes from teachers who have experienced a “Speaking of Jazz" presentation:

“Mr. Haskins and his fellow musicians brought jazz alive for my students through quality performance and stimulating questions. I have never seen my students so attentive for an entire hour!"

Graciela Briceno, Music Teacher at Garrison Elementary School (Washington, D.C.)

“They gave insightful discussions, encouraged audience participation and had fun with their topics and pieces that kept the students’ interests while still maintaining the high standard of performance expectations and learning atmosphere."

“…I highly recommend administrators, teachers and schools to put forth the effort in having these musicians come to them and share some of the musical knowledge that they are willing to give."

Michael Utell, Band Director at Woodburn School for the Fine and Communicative Arts (Falls Church, VA)

Where Can I Get an Idea of What to Expect?

In the video below, you can watch a performance of a tune that was recorded during a live presentation of "Speaking of Jazz" at Oyster-Adams Bilingual in Washington, D.C on Feb 27, 2015:

And in this video, you can watch a performance of a tune that was recorded during a live presentation of "Speaking of Jazz" at the Collegiate School in Richmond, VA in August of 2014.

View pictures from various KCJO/"Speaking of Jazz" presentations since the beginning of the program in the Photo Gallery section of this website!

How Can I Have Victor Haskins and "Speaking of Jazz" Come to My Institution/Venue/Event?

If you would like to book Victor Haskins and "Speaking of Jazz", or if you have any questions, please send an email to

"contact (at) victorhaskins.com"

[replace (at) with @ and remove quotations and all spaces]