Jazz Girls Day

Jazz Girls Day VA

Saturday, March 16th, 2024 @ VCU

Jazz Girls Day empowers young girls and non-binary gender students to have the skills needed for self-confidence in the performance of jazz. Jazz Girls Day is open to all students grades 6-12 interested in playing or singing jazz. Beginners to advanced and all instruments/voice are welcome. Jazz Girls Day is a safe, supportive atmosphere where all students can grow.

  • When: Saturday – March 16th, 2024
  • Time: 11 am – 4 pm
  • What: Workshops and Mentoring
  • Cost: Free
  • Where: VCU James Black Music Center, 1015 Grove Ave, Richmond, VA 23284
  • Deadline to register: Friday, March 9th, 2024 
  • Bring your own lunch, snacks provided
  • Bring your instruments, cymbals/sticks. Drum sets, keyboard, microphones, and amps will be provided. 
  • Park on the street or West Broad Street Parking Deck
  • Parents must come inside the Black building to register their students at 11 am
  • Parent volunteers: contact Shannon Gunn to sign up as a volunteer and fill out paperwork by March 9th, all parent volunteers have to undergo training
  • For more information, contact Shannon Gunn at gunns3 [at] vcu.edu
  • Students will get materials in advance by email




11:00 am Registration

11:15 am Jazz Girls Day Faculty Performance

11:30 am Improv. Workshop #1

12:15 pm Music Masterclass

12:30 pm Improv. Workshop #2

1:15 pm Lunch and VCU Jazz Orchestra Performance

2:15 pm Improv. Workshop #3

3:00 pm Informal Concert for Friends and Family with Faculty

Jazz Girls Day Faculty:

Shannon Gunn, Jazz Trombone, VCU

Suzi Fischer, Saxophone

Minjee Jang, Piano

Karine Chapdelaine, Bass

Angel Bethea, Drums

Taylor Barnett, Trumpet, Director of Jazz Studies VCU

All teaching materials will be pulled from my Women Jazz Composers Curriculum, designed as a professional development project for Shannon Gunn’s K-12 recertification.

Why do we need a Jazz Girls Day DC?

See my blog post, Why We Need Jazz Girls Day DC – Women in Jazz Research for full research and details.

According to music education research, there is a “gender gap” within the jazz art form, as evidenced by jazz bands consisting of less than 25% women, despite 50% in music programs, across schools and universities in the United States. The Jazz Girls Workshop aims to ensure that gender does not get in the way of a young person’s desire to play jazz. The Jazz Girls Workshop instills self-confidence, provides examples of other women as successful jazz performers, and gives networking opportunities to the youngest students who wish to pursue jazz. By instilling a strong foundation in leadership and performance skills, students can strive for excellence without boundaries.

Here is an article about how women are treated within the jazz industry: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2021/feb/16/female-uk-jazz-musicians-face-sexual-harassment-and-discrimination-says-report

Here is an article on Melba Liston’s experience in the jazz industry: https://indianapublicmedia.org/nightlights/proving-melba-liston-arranger-lady-trombone.php

Source: McKeage, K. M. Gender and Participation in High School and College Instrumental Jazz Ensembles. Journal of Research in Music Education, 52(4). Winter 2004.