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What a whiner. Jay apparently failed to choose a university program that met his interests.

Whine, whine, whine...
 

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Why does he illustrate his claim that "the opportunities to perform as a classical saxophone player are basically nonexistent" with a photograph of Tim McCallister performing as a classical saxophone player, with an orchestra to boot? (The conductor appears to be Marin Alsop, so this is probably the John Adams Concerto.) I sense a potential deficiency in logic.

If only some schools would establish jazz saxophone programs! You'd think that in the year 2018, at least one such offering would exist, somewhere. Music educators need to be informed that the saxophone has seen some use as a jazz instrument, on occasion.
 

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The purpose of a music college or music department at a university is to produce MUSICIANS. In many if not most of the universities throughout the country saxophonists can study both classical saxophone and jazz saxophone concurrently. They are not, nor ever have been mutually exclusive. The discipline, technique, sight reading ability, and musicianship gained in studying the classical literature, playing in saxophone ensembles, symphonic bands, and wind ensembles carries over to playing in the jazz idiom. The tonal flexibility, knowledge of different styles of music, rhythmic understanding, and creativity through improvisation enhances and broadens the skill and understanding of the classically trained saxophonist. Add to this the ability to play doubles (which also starts with classical) training---the graduate can find work and be at home in every possible musical situation that presents itself.

Any saxophonists who limit themselves to one genre, are shortchanging themselves in the broad realm of musical experiences and challenges. Any teachers who insist their students study one style only are shortchanging those students.
 

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If only some schools would establish jazz saxophone programs! You'd think that in the year 2018, at least one such offering would exist, somewhere.
They do exist. Try entering "university jazz studies" in your favorite search engine.

In fact, I will soon be relocating to a region that has a jazz studies program in their community college, with two full time professors committed to instrumental jazz studies.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Lot of truth in the Video - Thanks for sharing.

By the way, I've spent time with younger early 20's University Jazz Studies saxophonists I'm curious to see where that goes. As much as we dismiss gigging as a 'Classical' saxophonist - there really isn't that much work as a 'Jazz' saxophonist either. Kids are spending tons of money to impress everyone at the Sunday Jazz Jams or the Tuesday Night $50 coffee house thing.
 

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The purpose of a music college or music department at a university is to produce MUSICIANS. In many if not most of the universities throughout the country saxophonists can study both classical saxophone and jazz saxophone concurrently. They are not, nor ever have been mutually exclusive. The discipline, technique, sight reading ability, and musicianship gained in studying the classical literature, playing in saxophone ensembles, symphonic bands, and wind ensembles carries over to playing in the jazz idiom. The tonal flexibility, knowledge of different styles of music, rhythmic understanding, and creativity through improvisation enhances and broadens the skill and understanding of the classically trained saxophonist. Add to this the ability to play doubles (which also starts with classical) training---the graduate can find work and be at home in every possible musical situation that presents itself.
Excellent summary/rebuttal. The criticism of academic institutions for approaching their subjects academically is paradoxical but commonplace. The same complaint is advanced in other professions as well by people who favor a more apprenticeship-based system. But nothing is preventing an aspiring pro saxophonist from joining a garage band three weeks after first picking up the instrument, like his guitarist counterpart in the video, and skipping music school entirely. Learning on your own and from whatever "masters" you can track down is always an option. I did not attend music school myself, but one thing I do know about music school is that no one is forced to go there. (If you complain that you can't get a teaching job in a school without a formal degree, too bad. Teaching children is a credentialed profession, for many good reasons.)

However, as someone who majored in philosophy in college, took some mathematics courses along the way, and then attended law school, I can say that Metcalf's question about how some saxophonists were able to "get so good while majoring in law, or math, or philosophy" is truly incisive! :)
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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The message of the video was well meant, although I think the first three points were the same thing - but maybe nothing wrong with that. During my short time as a university teacher one poice of advice I was given:

"Students need to be told three times:

  1. What you are about to teach them
  2. What is is (ie the actual teaching bit)
  3. What they just learnt."


What I find ironoic though is the discussion that

Music teaching is very narrow (just classical) and the rebuttal: no isn't plenty of universities teach classical and jazz

This reminds me of the classic line in Blues Brothers we got both kinds of music, Country and Western

Ok, it's a bit better than just classical, but isn't that still incredibly narrow?

I think one reason why the American university system is this narrow is that there is quite understandable pride in jazz as an art form that started in the USA (OK albeit we know there are origins in Africa and the pre-war Southern states but that's a different discussion)
 

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The criticism of academic institutions for approaching their subjects academically is paradoxical but commonplace.
Thank you. I would add: Teachers teach what can be taught. We often hear complaints that there is too much focus on "theory" and technique at the expense of creativity and originality. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is that theory and technique can be taught. The notion of teaching originality is kind of ridiculous: if someone else taught you how to do it, you aren't really original, are you?

I realize there are some true Zen master type teachers (George Garzone?) out there who can overcome this paradox and teach students to be themselves, but I think it's just too easy to criticize academic institutions for emphasizing the academic.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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but I think it's just too easy to criticize academic institutions for emphasizing the academic.
Totally agree. They are academic institutions and they need to teach what can be assessed objectively (e.g. outside of Zen philosphy) is crucial in this litigious day and age.
 

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What I find ironoic though is the discussion that

Music teaching is very narrow (just classical) and the rebuttal: no isn't plenty of universities teach classical and jazz

This reminds me of the classic line in Blues Brothers we got both kinds of music, Country and Western

Ok, it's a bit better than just classical, but isn't that still incredibly narrow?
It's narrow when compared to a comprehensive "survey of world musics" approach. I don't think it's particularly narrow as a way to produce skilled, adaptable saxophonists. See the comment from saxoclese above. A player with solid fundamentals can explore and specialize further as desired.

Beyond the performance curricula for specific instruments, major music schools in the U.S. do offer broader subject matter. E.g., the music school at my alma mater has programs in sacred music, music education, music therapy, and music & technology/electronic music.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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It's narrow when compared to a comprehensive "survey of world musics" approach. I don't think it's particularly narrow as a way to produce skilled, adaptable saxophonists. See the comment from saxoclese above. A player with solid fundamentals can explore and specialize further as desired.

Beyond the performance curricula for specific instruments, major music schools in the U.S. do offer broader subject matter. E.g., the music school at my alma mater has programs in sacred music, music education, music therapy, and music & technology/electronic music.
Saxoclese only mentioned classical and jazz which seems to reinforce what I said about the narrowness. But yes , I'm sure there are universties offering education in more genres - but are they the norm? Is sacred music actually a genre? Is it in regard to performance or just a module within a degree that is is more about musicology than performance? What I mean is can a teacher teach a student to play sacredly?

music education, music therapy, and music & technology/electronic certainly aren't genres, however valid they are in regard to education but not realyted to performance.
 

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"You were never taught what you wanted to learn."

As a teacher myself, this absolutely pisses me off. There is a reason you are taught the things you are (ask your teacher, they will tell you). Many, many GOOD and GREAT reasons.

The reason you didn't learn "what you wanted" is that you...didn't go get it. There are a myriad of ways students are disallowed (sort of?) from learning what they want. It could be they're not ready to play it mentally or physically yet, it could be that it's the wrong context, or many other reason. BUT THERE IS NOTHING STOPPING THE STUDENTS FROM LEARNING IT THEMSELVES! "I only want to eat cake!" children must eat veggies because they're healthy for them, cake is expensive, and so on.

Learn to dribble before you slam dunk. Learn to walk before you run, THE LIST GOES ON. I teach middle school, so you get this often. When explained, the ones who *really* want to learn put the time in to learn the applicable skills.

Just because you don't like something (or someone) doesn't mean you cannot learn anything from it.

*grumble grumble*
 

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Saxoclese only mentioned classical and jazz which seems to reinforce what I said about the narrowness. But yes , I'm sure there are universties offering education in more genres - but are they the norm? Is sacred music actually a genre? Is it in regard to performance or just a module within a degree that is is more about musicology than performance? What I mean is can a teacher teach a student to play sacredly?

music education, music therapy, and music & technology/electronic certainly aren't genres, however valid they are in regard to education but not realyted to performance.
From my personal experience as a player, and my observation of the great number of performance majors on saxophone I have known, those who are accomplished jazz and classical players can effortlessly adapt to playing pop, rock, country, latin, fusion, funk, or whatever style the gig calls for. I don't buy the argument that not teaching these genres in a University setting defines a "narrow" curriculum. Just attend a concert by an accomplished university jazz ensemble and you will hear much more than straight ahead swing and jazz. Those styles may be included but the pallet is far more broad than than nowadays.
 

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All of his (imo) earnest but misguided complaints can be (and are) applied to education in general. Why do we need to go to school? I din't need to learn about ancient China. I'm not going to be a Biologist. These are useless skills!

*sigh*

I am not going to ramble on this other than to say that learning anything is always a good thing regardless of whether you ever use it again. This video makes me sad knowing so many will take this as a justification to not learn something. So many others have refuted him point by point and you are all spot on.
 
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