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Music has the power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young. -- Aristotle



Globalization has created a more complex, dynamic, and competitive business and professional environment that demands a higher, more advanced set of social and professional skills from those entering the artistic, professional, and business force.

Caribbean Music Institute (CMI), UJF’s music education program, helps students meet that demand. 


A key component of the Caribbean Music Institute is documenting and archiving the musical heritage of the US Virgin Islands, and stimulating the creation of future music built on the foundation of the USVI's culture and other historic developments. This in itself is a statement of innovation and is of fundamental significance as a platform to pass on the historical knowledge (education), document the traditions (musical recordings), and expand the framework of music studies over time.

Conceived from and built on the foundation that music has a tremendous capacity to transform lives, CMI utilizes jazz as the ultimate vehicle to drive the development of young brains and to teach young men and women how to become more skillful and responsible human beings.



With an emphasis on the musical heritage of the Caribbean, the range of music education programs includes MyVI, an after-school initiative for Pre-K through 5th Grade students; Artist in Residence, which serves students in public junior high and high schools during the school year; VI Youth Ensemble, a performance-based program dedicated to students seeking professional careers in music; and a host of Summer Programming that focuses on music technology, small groups, and teacher development for junior high, high school, college students and graduates and professional musicians.

The curriculum for each program includes mentorship, master classes, workshops, and small group and single instruction and is designed to help identify, explore, and enhance each individual’s unique personal skillset and provide them with the essentials they need to function effectively in different work and social environments. All students are classically trained on their instrument and educated within class and ensemble settings in addition to receiving on-the-job guidance and opportunities to perform either at public concerts or at recitals for family and friends.


CMI also offers paid private tutoring.



The use of jazz is deliberate. Jazz is improvisational—it celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression; it is swinging; it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others, and it is rooted in the blues which inspire us to face adversity with persistent optimism. Teaching jazz, and a range of other culturally inspired music, at an early age, creates an opportunity to elevate the society, environment, and culture of the US Virgin Islands to standards of the 21st Century and enables students to become self-empowered and develop consciousness of their responsibility to themselves, each other and to mankind in general.

Together with members of 21st Century Band, founded by Dion Parson and fellow islander Ron Blake, and a team of world-renowned musicians and educators, CMI provides a comfortable atmosphere as well as progressive academic instruction, in-school and after-school activities, and mentorship that enable young students to enhance cognitive and other developmental characteristics and older students to hone their musical skills while developing advanced social skills, building a sense of pride and self-worth, and improving their decision-making skills.

During the pandemic, Caribbean Music Institute (CMI) also offers online programs during the summer as an extension of current education programs. Interested individuals on-island and off, as well as internationally, are encouraged to apply.

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