KEY OF SHE JAZZ

Key of She Jazz is an organization that supports and encourages more

girls to be involved in jazz starting at a middle school level. 

Olivia Hughart// Founder and Artistic Director 

Est. 2014

 
Key of She meets Z Band
Key of She meets Z Band

Inaugural Conference, Apr. 2019

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Saxophone Masterclass/Roxy Coss
Saxophone Masterclass/Roxy Coss

Inaugural Conference, Apr. 2019

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Virtual Conference 1
Virtual Conference 1

2020

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Key of She meets Z Band
Key of She meets Z Band

Inaugural Conference, Apr. 2019

press to zoom

KEY OF SHE JAZZ

Starting & Leading an Organization

Key of She Jazz is an organization I started in middle school when I noticed that I was one of the only girls in the jazz band. I wanted to do something to encourage more girls to participate. My band director provided support over the next couple of years as I grew Key of She to include the girls in my district's middle school and high school jazz groups. The girls were really happy to connect with each other and find a community of support. As a senior in high school, I launched the Inaugural Key of She Jazz 2019 Conference at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, with over 200 attendees. The overwhelming response was “do more!” and the girls who attended commented on how powerful it was to meet other girls in jazz and see women musicians performing, delivering workshops, and holding master classes. As I said to the audience, girls need to see other girls playing jazz so they can believe they can do it, too. Representation matters.


I was so inspired to grow this into an annual event where we could bring this community of girls together every year. Our second annual conference was scheduled for March 28, 2020, but when the pandemic hit in March, we had to make the difficult decision to cancel just weeks prior. I had to come home to finish my first year as an NYU jazz studies saxophone major. As everyone moved online, I reimagined Key of She as a Virtual Week in August 2020, which turned out to be a global experience, connecting us with more than 100 attendees from 15 different states and 5 different countries, including the US, India, Serbia, Nigeria, Ireland and Canada. We had girls who stayed awake until 2 a.m. just to attend! The Virtual Week featured a one-hour session every day of the week with different speakers to inspire girls in jazz. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The girls were inspired by hearing and seeing other girls and female-identifying musicians and were encouraged to hear from outstanding women in jazz and music. The event featured speakers and musicians and audio engineers and even hosted a jazz listening party with a jazz historian from the National Museum of African American History and Culture. 


Key of She Jazz is a growing nonprofit organization, and we are always planning events and different ways to continue to build a supportive network for girls and women all over the world. Visit keyofshejazz.org for more information!