Jazzy Start for the White House Music Series

BY Arts Desk  June 17, 2009 at 2:55 PM EST

The East Room of the White House sounded more like a high school music room Monday when more than 140 student musicians attended the first installment of a new educational music series. It drew kids from around the country for workshops and master classes, giving some the opportunity to perform in front of the first family and jazz greats.

While a large group of middle school students got a lesson on the blues, a smaller group from Washington, D.C., got a lesson in swing, and a couple of high schoolers from New Orleans came face-to-face and horn-to-horn with five members of the very musical and very famous Marsalis family — Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo, Jason and their dad, Ellis.

“All you young talents are the future guardians of the music,” first lady Michelle Obama told the students. Calling Jazz “America’s indigenous artform,” she recalled the impact of growing up in her grandfather’s house where jazz music was always playing.

Two more sessions focused on country and classical music, respectively, will take place later this summer and in early fall.