Photo of two students conducting a group of student instrumentalists.

In 21M.355 Musical Improvisation, students demonstrate their design assignments on “Flexology,” an approach to conducted improvisation.

A few years ago, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated April 30 as International Jazz Day, an annual celebration “to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe.”

International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change.

Concerts, seminars, and gatherings are taking place all around the globe. This year’s all-star global concert is in Paris, France at 7 PM, and streamed live (beginning 1 PM in New York, 2 AM May 1 in Tokyo).

We hope OCW can be part of your celebration on this day. We’ve got courses, both squarely within the jazz tradition, and on the associated theme of improvisation in music and beyond. Take a look at music courses by Dr. Mark Harvey, 21M.342 Composing for Jazz Orchestra and 21M.355 Musical Improvisation, which include concert, demonstration, and lecture videos. Learn more about improvisation in live electronic music in Prof. Chris Ariza’s 21M.380 Music and Technology: Live Electronics Performances Practices, with extensive notes and a final concert video. And check out how improvisation concepts are studied by MBA students in 15.969 Dynamic Leadership: Using Improvisation in Business.