North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Marysville Jazz Project offers opportunities for students


Christopher Andersson

Steve Tressler, an adjunct professor at SPU, center, teaches students from all across Snohomish County during one of the Marysville Jazz Project's Jazz Nights on March 31

The Marysville Jazz Project provides a free, safe place for students to practice jazz and learn from professionals every month.

The project runs a jazz night on the last Friday of every month at the Living Room Coffee House at 1636 4th St., Marysville, and has been going for about two years now.

The program was started by a local band teacher.

"I wanted students in my jazz program at 10th Street Middle School to have a place to jam and work on the craft of improvisation," said Nathan Sackman, who teachers at the local middle school.

In the beginning Sackman said they just had about 15 of the kids show up to the nights.

"Two years later we have close to 100 people showing up every night," he said.

This March's Jazz Night had students from Lake Stevens, Arlington, Glacier Peak, Snohomish, as well as many Marysville schools.

They've also been able to bring more professionals to help work with the kids.

"Tonight was our first night bringing out a professional from Seattle to teach the kids an hour before we begin," said Sackman.

Having teachers and professionals come out has helped attract more students to the nights and kept them coming back, he said.

"It's amazing for the students to play right next to them and have the professionals help them," said Sackman.

"They learn straight from the people they should be learning from," he said.

The night also gives students and kids a place to play together just for them, so they feel more comfortable learning how to improvise and play jazz.

"The kids love that it is a safe place to play. It's okay to get up here and take risks," said Sackman.

They get to play in front of people in a way that doesn't feel as intimidating as other venues might, he said.

"Rather than have it being scary like it would be in Seattle with only professionals playing, it's students here," he said.

Part of the goal of the Marysville Jazz Project is to give local kids a chance to practice jazz in that sort of real setting.

"The whole idea is to give students in our area a chance to improvise in front of a live audience," said Sackman.

The project also helps kids find ways to keep playing their music as well, if the students want it.

"Getting these kids not only jamming with each other, but getting them gigs at local businesses and things like that," said Sackman.

Sackman also hopes that the program helps to bring more jazz into Snohomish County.

"We want to bring jazz into the community north of Seattle. There isn't a big jazz culture there and so we want to install that in Everett, Arlington, Snohomish and so on," he said.

More information about the Marysville Jazz Project can be found on their Instagram page at


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