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I just wanted the uplift the community and the best way to do that was through a marching band.  I wanted to innovate, motivate, the art and graduate the students. JCE BROWN


The James Smooth Music & Leadership Institute (JSMLI INC) functions as change managers to facilitate improved academic performance through the performing arts.


To enhance student achievement, leadership and the talents of students through music.

The James Smooth Music & Leadership Institute & The Empire State Marching Band are a non-profit organization based in Brooklyn, NY. Its program have sent thousands of students to college on music scholarship, improved academic achievement, increased school attendance rates, decreased violence and provides a safe environment for students to learn a musical instrument, corporate values, and leadership.

JSMLI's music programs allow thousands of students, new to music and performing arts to participate in national competitions, events, parades and community events throughout the year. Our programs include our 10-time national champion Empire State Marching Band, beginning band, intermediate band, concert band and percussion ensemble.

In addition to promoting academic success, JSMLI programs have received impressive awards in major marching band and music competitions, including the following: the Howard University first-place overall in 2008; the National High Stepping Championship first-place drum major, first-place execution, and first-place percussion in 2010; Asymetrix Regional Field Competition Grand Champion award in 2011.

However, nothing is better to hear than a success story directly from one of our alumni. These are the words of Cory Brown, a student from 2008-11:

“JSMLI has been essential to the growth of many students in urban communities. It is a program that is aimed to keep students off the streets through music. Not only has this program helped other students, but it has helped me grow into the person I am today. I marched for JSMLI from 2008-2011. During those years I learned that nothing comes easy unless you work for it… I grew to be responsible, dependable, and more of a team player. This program also put me in connection with College. One year we marched at homecoming parade at Wesley College, not knowing that would be the school I would one day attend and graduate from.”