Jazz an American Art Form

Jazz bassist Rob Thorsen founded his “Jazz an American Artform” program in 2008. It is an interactive educational program focusing on the history of jazz music and it’s unique contribution to American culture. Although geared towards Elementary and Middle school programs it has also been highly successful with high school, college, and adult education programs.

The quartet performs songs from the various eras of jazz music, beginning with the early New Orleans Dixieland music, thru the big band and bebop eras, Latin “salsa” jazz, then in to the 1960’s and 70’s funk and fusion jazz movement. The group also demonstrates each instrument individually, talks about jazz interaction, improvisation and the teamwork necessary to create a successful ensemble.

Most importantly the group discusses the many different cultures that meld together to create this incredible style of music. Jazz music is unique — it encompasses a diversity of cultures that reflect what America is today. Making people and especially children aware of this history can give them a strong sense of their own heritage and it’s importance in creating and continuing this art form.

The program has been presented thru the Young Audiences arts education program and has received rave reviews from teachers and students. As of 2011 a collaboration with San Diego’s KSDS Jazz 88.3 radio has resulted in several contributions so that this program can be made available to Title 1schools ( schools with a large low income student population). The program has been extremely successful and has received rave reviews from students, teachers, and parents. The band includes:

Please contact Sherrie Brown at Young Audiences of San Diego if you would like to donate to this program or to schedule a performance for your educational program.


“The students were attentive and very enthusiastic, teachers loved it (they danced!). Highly educational motivating program.”

Laurice Grafstein, staff / student health, Loma School, La Mesa, California

“The best assembly we have had in the 10 years I have taught here.”

Teacher, Grant Elementary School, San Diego, California

“I’m in band and I loved the music. It was really fun.”

Ryan, 5th grade student, Loma School

“Wonderful assembly. The kids really enjoyed it and it was very educational, especially for students who are in 5th grade band.”

Kirk, PTA President, Loma Elementary School

“Rob and his quartet performed exquisitely with reverence for his music. He generously shared his talent with our children who were mesmerized by his connection to his art.”

Jill Green, Principal, Explorer Elementary School, San Diego, California

“We embrace music of all kinds to benefit the children, the jazz performance with the Rob Thorsen Quartet was the icing on the cake.”

Pam Volker, Principal, Warren Walker Elementary School, San Diego, California

“Rob Thorsen’s quartet was fantastic; the kids enjoyed the music and most of all they got to learn about the history of jazz.
Some teachers even moved their bodies with the music.”

Mo Ip, Assemblies Chair, Curie Elementary, San Diego, California

“The deep, rich sound of the bass was enchanting! The drums REALLY got my day going ! I used to like jazz music but now I love it!”

Marley W, Jamul Elementary School, Jamul, California

“My favorite song was ‘Sponge Bob Squarer Pants’. My favorite music is Hip-hop and country but
now I am more interested in jazz music. Thanks for coming to our school and spending time with us.”

Jasmin S, Jamul Elementary School, Jamul, California