What is JAM?

  • JAM is a music school and research center for people of all backgrounds, ages, (dis)abilities, skill-levels and musical interests

  • JAM provides private and group lessons, research opportunities, and courses for in-service and student teachers (More Information)

  • JAM has locations in Shelton, CT and Astoria, NY

JAM Shelton Studio
One of JAM's musicians playing the keyboard
JAM's electric guitars

How JAM Began

Just Accessible Music was founded with a determination to make music accessible to all through education and research.


Professor emerita Kimberly McCord has decades of experience in teaching students with (dis)abilities and in music teacher education at the university-level. In 2015 she visited Helsinki, Finland, where the Resonaari Music Centre, an internationally renowned music school promoting equity and inclusion, is located. There she met Sanna Kivijärvi, a researcher and educator focused on equity issues in music education. Eventually the two educators started envisioning a school that would be open to all people and musics and where teachers would be engaged in conducting high-quality research. 


After her return from Resonaari, Kim started JAM at Illinois State University and went to establish JAM in Connecticut in 2017. In 2019, she started to further expand the school with Sanna, who at the time was based in New York City as a Fulbright scholar. In 2020, they invited Laura Ziegler, one of Kim's first JAM co-teachers at Illinois State, from Chicago, IL to co-direct the school in NYC.


JAM has accumulated over 40 students and facilitates a variety of research and student-teaching activities in collaboration with universities, such as the University of Bridgeport and the New York University where Kim serves as an Adjunct Professor. In 2021, JAM is broadening its activities particularly in New York City.

JAM's Mission Statement

Our mission is to provide a forum for music and research that is inclusive for all regardless of background, age, (dis)ability, skill-level or musical interests. Our educational practice is intertwined with research and we aim to create an environment that promotes equity and inclusion

in and through our practices.

JAM's rock band rehearsal setup
One of JAM's drumsets

JAM's Vision

Just Accessible Music will provide accessible music for all.

JAM's Values

We are All-Encompassing and Inclusive


We are inclusive for all regardless of background, age, (dis)ability,

skill-level or musical interests. 


We are Curious and Engaged in Meaningful Music-Making


Our students and teacher-researchers discover their own potential as musicians and professionals. We make way for new educational pilots, where students and teacher–researchers develop innovative ways to learn and teach music. We aim for high quality in terms of pedagogical practice, research, and musicianship, and critically reflect on our practices.


We are Open to All Musicians and Musics


Our starting point is that everyone is a musician:

we aim for collaborative learning, teaching, and co-creation of knowledge.

Our community values musical and music educational traditions and conventions, but also flexibly adapts and challenges

the existing practices and approaches.

JAM's adjusted-size electric guitars
JAM musicians rehearsing
JAM musicians rehearsing

JAM's Aims

  • Our community promotes equity and inclusion. We offer music education across musical genres for all.

  • We support the growth and musical expressivity of our students. We facilitate good relationships with music.

  • We encourage and empower employment opportunities for a diverse group of musicians.

  • Our educational, research and consultation practices are collaborative and of high quality.

  • We are socially engaged and aim to advance solutions in the current social crises.