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The Valley Jazz Cooperative is an educational initiative of Music Serving the Word Ministries. Directed by Russell Schmidt, the Valley Jazz Cooperative focuses on the continued development of two elements that have longstanding importance within MSW: educational outreach and improvised arts.


The East Valley Jazz Cooperative meets on Saturday afternoons and is hosted in the Performing Arts Center of Mesa Community College. Launched in March 2016, the EVJC is comprised of talented high school and junior high school musicians, who are committed to developing their technical skills while they also explore their creativity.


In March 2017, the West Valley Jazz Cooperative joined the roster of VJC educational offerings. Meeting on Saturday mornings, the WVJC is modeled similarly to the EVJC and is hosted on the campus of Glendale Community College.


The EVJC and WVJC each feature a combo program in the fall and a big band experience during winter/spring. VJC participants also receive valuable instruction on various, related topics, including theory, improvisation, and jazz history. The dual goal for students is to develop artistic gifts in ways that are personally meaningful, then go back into their own communities (churches, schools, arts festivals) to share those skills with others.

Finally, the VJC is always looking for ways to serve the educational and artistic needs of others through respectful, values-based instruction. Similarly, the VJC welcomes the opportunity to collaborate with area partners, such as GCC and MCC, developing programs to enrich the artistic lives of young people and their communities. If you want to explore such partnership ideas, or have service opportunities for the VJC, please contact us so that we can consider the possibilities together.

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The Valley Jazz Cooperative offers a variety of learning opportunities for area students through these unique programs.


Click on the links below for more information about each program. And please contact the Director of the Valley Jazz Cooperative, Russell Schmidt, with any additional questions.

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East Valley Jazz Cooperative

An outstanding educational experience for music students (grades 8-12) from central Phoenix and the East Valley, combining a combo/jazz ensemble program with additional instruction on various subjects. [See the "VJC Hang", below.]

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West Valley Jazz Cooperative

For music students (grades 8-12) from central Phoenix and the West Valley, the WVJC also offers an exceptional educational opportunity, combining a combo/jazz ensemble program with additional instruction on various subjects. [See the "VJC Hang", below.]

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VJC Hang & VJC Zoom Hang

The VJC Hang offers free group instruction immediately after EVJC & WVJC rehearsals on a rotating series of related topics, including improvisation and theory. Open to all music students (grades 8-12) who have interest; non-VJC ensemble members must register in advance to participate.


The VJC Zoom Hang provides an opportunity for Valley Jazz Cooperative students (and program alums) to connect and socialize online during this unprecedented time of separation and social distancing.

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Lessons and Workshops

Valley Jazz Cooperative faculty can provide lessons to individuals, as well as group instruction (i.e., clinics and workshops with school band programs.)

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VJC Instrument Rental Assistance & VJC Scholarship

The VJC Instrument Rental Assistance Program has been created to address the unique challenges presented to new instrumental music students during the 2020-21 academic year. 


The Valley Jazz Cooperative Scholarship Program is awarded annually to a trio of outstanding high school seniors, in support of their post-secondary education.


Explore collaborative projects with Valley Jazz Cooperative to develop opportunities that can enrich the lives of those in your own community.

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