Saturday Night Bath is dedicated to the performance and continuation of the art of American Jazz and Blues.
Our mission is to write and perform contemporary compositions by our ensemble of musicians– and to educate, improve and impact the lives of youth, passing this art form on into the 21st century. We aim to encourage our young audiences–now totaling over 36,000 teenage students since 1986–to finish high school, and to seek, study and enjoy music throughout their lives. We hope some of them will become apprentice musicians too.
By promoting this American multi-cultural music to Los Angeles County youth, we hope to motivate students to study music, understand basic math and numbers, and speak and write English well. Our music is understandable, using simple three- chord progressions that are the basis for most song construction in Western music. We tie traditional and contemporary popular songs to classroom subjects such as Language Arts, Math, History, and Social Studies. We point out the mix of music, rhyming and poetry in songs. We repeatedly mention the interconnection of counting and math in popular music, and the history and literature behind the composition of song lyrics. At our concerts, we explicitly cover the basic tenets of the new CA/LAUSD Standards, including 100% of the history and theory tenets.
Some new songs are improvised on the spot, with students who may have never done so before—by singing, rapping “free-style” or “flow,” and playing their own or our instruments. One-on-one encounters foster understanding of jazz and the blues, and the connection to current popular music styles. The ensemble members often mention the benefits of continuing in school. The overall experience gives students direct, personal contact with musicians who love their jobs. As an ensemble, we exemplify dedication, teamwork, study and creativity. This educational and interactive approach intrigues at-risk youth, raises interest in other academic and arts endeavors, and expands their musical knowledge.
Principals, teachers, and probation officers describe the lasting effects of our program, writing of clearly improved post-concert school attendance, focus, imagination, and social interaction. Student-teacher relationships become closer as well. These professionals attest that though it is difficult to quantify the impact, they can observe cumulative benefits to the students in both scholastic and artistic areas. And we have written questionnaires attesting to students’ positive responses since 1991.
Much of our program’s impact can be attributed to consistent follow-up. We send each school our Creative Student Survey, which tracks student performers, as well as an extensive list of opportunities for further study and scholarship contacts. We have developed our own 38-page Handbook; we have donated the file to interested schools for 15-years. Both school staffs and students appreciate and use our referrals; many students do go on to pursue music studies, poetry or related art forms like dance. We often learn of later benefits: positive student collaborations such as lyric writing, singing and dancing, and informal jam sessions with families and friends. Most of all, our joy in performing is infectious, and we pass this on.