Through the vehicle of jazz,  the goal of I Have A Song Inside My Heart™ is to help young audiences identify their personal truth, embrace their unique and beautiful individuality, and become empowered in self expression. 

Jazz is an American art form built from expression. Its deep roots are cultivated from the work songs and Negro spirituals sung by enslaved Africans brought to the United States. The songs are soulful testimonies of the trials and tribulations experienced by those forced to live and work on the plantations and cotton fields. These songs birthed the Blues. The Blues became and is the ultimate and intimate song of self expression. The Blues is the rich foundation and vital thread in the tapestry of jazz. 

In jazz, musicians come together to create one voice. It's where community is built and communication is essential. It's where they come to swing. 

In jazz, musicians improvise, tap into and express what is deep within their souls. Through their instruments, expression of feelings are articulated which could not otherwise be stated with words. 

As educators, we see children so consumed with excitement to provide an answer or share something unique and special to them they can barely contain themselves - sometimes before the question is fully posed. We see them dance, create and sing from the top of their lungs even if they don't know the words. They are eager to make contributions simply because they are given a chance. 

We also see those who have a difficult time sharing and contributing. Their ability to express is stifled and hindered. Their inner light is blocked and sometimes dimmed. 

The same phenomenon occurs as they become adults. Some of us second guess ourselves or have become numbed by the pressures of life. Some of us have been swept into the riptide of comparison. Our ideas seem unimportant, not “cool”, intelligent or creative enough. We question the validity and value of our thoughts and experiences, then hesitate to speak out or make suggestions for fear of being labeled inept, annoying or trouble maker. Life happens and we lose our song. 

I Have A Song Inside My Heart™, (based on the children's book Theodore and Hazel and The Bird) was developed with the belief that everyone has a voice, a song yearning to be expressed. Our feelings, our ideas, our experiences are unique and uniquely ours. Through the music and basic concepts of jazz, we believe we can help tap into our songs, the well of our hearts and souls, our authentic selves. 

And if we listen carefully, we'll see that our songs "... are beautiful, they're amazing, as they're meant to be ...” - The Bird' Song, by Riza Printup