What's Jazz got to do with democracy?

May 8, 2012

Dr. Wes Watkins, IV has built his whole life’s work around the idea that there’s no better example of democracy than a Jazz ensemble. Dr. Watkins is the founder of the Bay Area-based Jazz & Democracy Project. He devised a curriculum that teaches schoolchildren lessons in jazz alongside American history and the democratic process.

“I'll take kids directly into the Constitution and say: ‘Look at this, Article 5, it tells us that we can amend it. We can change it. The founding fathers allowed for some flexibility in the future.’ So we can make democracy whatever we need it to be today, just like a Jazz musician may play 'Summertime' tonight,” says Watkins.

He came by KALW studios to talk about the how kids are learning about democracy through Jazz.