Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
If this was written by a man and was not inclusive of women it would be (deservedly) panned by female players. I see no difference when a woman exhibits the same sort of exclusion.

There's a saying about preaching to the converted. The article sings praises of students and teachers and jazz generally...which sort of jazz? Are we talking about the sort where few to none of the students have a snowball's chance in hell of making a living as a player?

Any discipline that is followed which encourages thinking and dedication will fulfill the same lists of desirable traits, most of which have a lot better chance of the student making a living and enjoying their profession.

It's pretty easy for me to say I wouldn't recommend this article and am fairly unhappy about wasting my time reading it.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
4,680 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
At the top of the article it states that it was written by :

Darla S. Hanley, PhD and Iñaki Sandoval, PhD
Didn’t read the article, but Darla is the person who cancelled the Berklee Jazz Festival, which 3,000+ students have gone to every year for 50 years, because they are “using that money for more scholarships.”
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Too much of the idolization of the teacher-student model, which I believe is part of the results of the "conservatory-ization" of jazz. The whole master-student thing is very big in classical music, but if you read biographies of the great jazz innovators you find that while many of them had early mentors, the mentor-student relationship in jazz was (in those days) quite a bit different than that of classical music, and furthermore it was expected that very early in the relationship the student would break away from the master - in many cases, going into forms of music the mentor opposed. By contrast the classical musicians make who their teacher was and who that person's teacher was, and so on until (they hope) they can reference a big name, as an integral part of their resume and what they tell other musicians about themselves.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of the whole jazz education industry that's reached its most developed form in Berklee.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Didn’t read the article, but Darla is the person who cancelled the Berklee Jazz Festival, which 3,000+ students have gone to every year for 50 years, because they are “using that money for more scholarships.”
The cynic in me thinks that a bunch of high school students hanging out listening to and jamming with each other at a festival might lead to their discovering things on their own - even things that aren't in the approved conservatory curriculum; but using that money for more scholarships is more likely to bring more students into the fold of how jazz is supposed to be played.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
The cynic in me thinks that a bunch of high school students hanging out listening to and jamming with each other at a festival might lead to their discovering things on their own - even things that aren't in the approved conservatory curriculum; but using that money for more scholarships is more likely to bring more students into the fold of how jazz is supposed to be played.
The issue is there’s no way they can/should be SPENDING money on the festival. They mismanaged money LIKE CRAZY (I spoke with people who work there) and didn’t do what was right financially. Oh and for bringing students IN? They said it will be for “current” students there. I will be reaching out to many current students this upcoming year to see what changes take place as far as money is concerned.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
Too much of the idolization of the teacher-student model, which I believe is part of the results of the "conservatory-ization" of jazz. The whole master-student thing is very big in classical music, but if you read biographies of the great jazz innovators you find that while many of them had early mentors, the mentor-student relationship in jazz was (in those days) quite a bit different than that of classical music, and furthermore it was expected that very early in the relationship the student would break away from the master - in many cases, going into forms of music the mentor opposed. By contrast the classical musicians make who their teacher was and who that person's teacher was, and so on until (they hope) they can reference a big name, as an integral part of their resume and what they tell other musicians about themselves.

Anyway, I'm not a huge fan of the whole jazz education industry that's reached its most developed form in Berklee.
Well one of the big problems is 90%+ of music teachers are crappy players.

(In schools that is)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Well one of the big problems is 90%+ of music teachers are crappy players.
Even if the teacher is a great player, I think that formalizing jazz into a series of courses at a conservatory, with grades to be earned based on how well you produce what you are told to produce, is in itself antithetical to the whole concept of jazz, which is that one is supposed to develop an individual voice and style.

My opinion is that the best "jazz education" - and if you look into it, a large number (I would suggest the majority but I don't really know that) of great innovative players followed this routine - would be, to get a superior command of the technique of your instrument through formal training in classical technique; and then to learn improvisation and jazz performance on the band stand and in the wood shed by figuring things out yourself, by listening to recordings, by asking great players what they are doing, and by trying stuff out with your buddies. NOT, however, by having it told to you by teachers and made the subject of exams and juried recitals.

I would ask, 1) how many well known players who were prominent before 1980 had "Jazz education"? 2) How many players who have been widely influential have had "Jazz education"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
322 Posts
Jazz education emphasizes one aspect of improvisation with it's (after the fact) analysis of what players did 60 years ago. This "Advanced" education seems to be about the formulation of those initial improvisations into principles to be applied in a cut and paste application. IMHO it's the antithesis of improvisation and can be heard almost everywhere with wannabes doing their best to show off their technical chops. How many audiences are entertained by an ego driven exposition of who has the fastest technique and can string together the most memorized riffs and arpeggios?

It seems to me that "advanced" arts education fails as too many institutions are incapable of teaching creativity and instead concentrate on singular styles of technique based on the past. In the case of jazz that's often a past that has little or no relevance to today's audiences. These institutions simply turn out more teachers, who seem to continue of teach the same failed paradigm. The article tries to justify this, but as said, any other discipline can likely claim the same list for making students become self actuated thinkers. Those other fields may also be giving their students a skill that can earn them a living (without having to rely on becoming a teacher).

Advanced education in the arts IMHO needs to take a long look at itself. At what point should a student of the arts be cut loose if they have the necessary tools? If your intention isn't to be a teacher, do you need an advanced degree in the arts? OK, here's the real "burn": How many great/famous artists, musicians or composers can you name who have a PhD? It should be obvious that creativity does NOT come with advanced education, and it's quite possible that it does the opposite. It's hard to believe that talented students in the arts that are given scholarships and encouraged to continue their education didn't initially have talent, so what happened?

Do education institutions have a responsibility to teach? Absolutely! And they are excellent at cataloging the history of those arts. They can also teach tools and technique so that the student has the basics for unleashing their creativity. A great teacher will know what's needed for their student, and when they are ready to become a self actuated artist. Too often what we see instead are institutions and individual teachers who have no idea what creativity is and instead concentrate on having the student "ape" what has gone before...which is NOT the same as just learning the history. It's a destructive practice that replaces creativity by teaching a paint by the numbers curriculum.

IMHO we are seeing a generation of talent that has been subsumed by a mass mistaken notion that talent and creativity aren't required, and it's certainly not catered to. It's an "anyone can learn to play music" attitude. Well, yes anyone can spend years practicing a set of physical exercises until they can paint by the numbers or play the changes using a set of memorized motor skills. Do they have any idea what they are playing? Could they sing what they were playing? Can they really improvise...which is to compose spontaneously? It seems not. Just go to any "jazz jam night" and listen.

There is a difference between the teaching attitude of "anyone can play music and enjoy themselves and have fun" and the music teaching institutions pretending they can groom anyone to be a successful professional musician/artist. The teaching institutions seem happy to take the $$ and give out meaningless degrees where the recipient is unlikely to ever make a living or have their efforts appreciated. And why should they be appreciated? Can that individual actually entertain an audience? Pleasing your instructor for a good grade shouldn't be confused with pleasing an audience. You are what you've learned, and in most cases that's not how to develop your creativity.

It may be a good idea to avoid the use of the term "jazz" as this means too many different things to different people. Improvisation is without boundaries and does not require a singular "vocabulary" or an education into a single style of playing from the middle of the last century. It is a skill that many of those players from long ago possessed. Copying what was played is NOT the same thing. Are we different as humans from those previous players? No, but institutionalized teaching has certainly had an impact, and I'm afraid that it hasn't been all positive.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
7,866 Posts
It may be a good idea to avoid the use of the term "jazz" as this means too many different things to different people. Improvisation is without boundaries and does not require a singular "vocabulary" or an education into a single style of playing from the middle of the last century. It is a skill that many of those players from long ago possessed. Copying what was played is NOT the same thing. Are we different as humans from those previous players? No, but institutionalized teaching has certainly had an impact, and I'm afraid that it hasn't been all positive.
+1.

Dreadful piece of writing, made worse by using song titles as titles for the chapters.
Some people just don't realise it's 2019.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
Even if the teacher is a great player, I think that formalizing jazz into a series of courses at a conservatory, with grades to be earned based on how well you produce what you are told to produce, is in itself antithetical to the whole concept of jazz, which is that one is supposed to develop an individual voice and style.

My opinion is that the best "jazz education" - and if you look into it, a large number (I would suggest the majority but I don't really know that) of great innovative players followed this routine - would be, to get a superior command of the technique of your instrument through formal training in classical technique; and then to learn improvisation and jazz performance on the band stand and in the wood shed by figuring things out yourself, by listening to recordings, by asking great players what they are doing, and by trying stuff out with your buddies. NOT, however, by having it told to you by teachers and made the subject of exams and juried recitals.

I would ask, 1) how many well known players who were prominent before 1980 had "Jazz education"? 2) How many players who have been widely influential have had "Jazz education"?
I totally agree that the over-intellectualization of jazz definitely hinders creativity and growth as an artist. There are WAY too many people who sound like they just practice all the time or they're playing a formula. That's why a lot of the time I tell people they practice too much - get out there and PLAY.

But for me, school learning and learning on the bandstand aren't mutually exclusive. For my own schooling in jazz, I know that I learned a whole lot in the classroom from greats like Clark Terry, Mulgrew Miller, Gary Smulyan, and Vincent Herring. I also know that I learned a lot playing with the Mingus Big Band! Clark Terry was a huge advocate for jazz education and really drove my fire to teach. Hanging and talking with him each week is something I'll cherish forever.

As far as your questions, I have no idea. I just know that "jazz education" can take many forms and I say learn as much as you can! If it's between only learning on the bandstand and learning in the classroom from jazz greats AND learning on the bandstand, I'll take both. Well that's what I did anyway.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
I totally agree that the over-intellectualization of jazz definitely hinders creativity and growth as an artist. There are WAY too many people who sound like they just practice all the time or they're playing a formula. That's why a lot of the time I tell people they practice too much - get out there and PLAY.

.
The problem is not that in this article the wrong words - they are correct. But there are a creepy lot of them; and this always happens when they want to replace creativity with instructions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
I totally agree that the over-intellectualization of jazz definitely hinders creativity and growth as an artist. There are WAY too many people who sound like they just practice all the time or they're playing a formula. That's why a lot of the time I tell people they practice too much - get out there and PLAY.

But for me, school learning and learning on the bandstand aren't mutually exclusive. For my own schooling in jazz, I know that I learned a whole lot in the classroom from greats like Clark Terry, Mulgrew Miller, Gary Smulyan, and Vincent Herring. I also know that I learned a lot playing with the Mingus Big Band! Clark Terry was a huge advocate for jazz education and really drove my fire to teach. Hanging and talking with him each week is something I'll cherish forever.

As far as your questions, I have no idea. I just know that "jazz education" can take many forms and I say learn as much as you can! If it's between only learning on the bandstand and learning in the classroom from jazz greats AND learning on the bandstand, I'll take both. Well that's what I did anyway.
Well, I am not sure that what I object is is "over-intellectualization" per se. Certainly if you read accounts of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk working out the theoretical foundations of bebop, or Coltrane's exploration of various exotic scales, those were highly intellectualized approaches to the music and they made plenty of compelling music.

What I object to is what I think of as the "conservatory" approach to teaching jazz music. Get a master teacher, follow that person's every precept, and progress through your musical education as a series of exams, juried recitals, etc., in which there are defined right and wrong answers and you get rewarded for producing the defined right output and penalized for producing something else.

The particular article in question is all about teachers and students, as if jazz musicians can't be defined in any way other than their role as teacher or student. I didn't see any more than the most cursory mention of how great jazz players develop their craft, which is to get on the bandstand and DO music, rather than teaching music or studying music.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
I think the attributes noted in the article are certainly not specific or unique to Jazz and Music Ed. The same things could be assigned to playing baseball, working as a mechanic, or any profession really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
I think the attributes noted in the article are certainly not specific or unique to Jazz and Music Ed. The same things could be assigned to playing baseball, working as a mechanic, or any profession really.
Do you think the authors got grants for writing this article?
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
1,146 Posts
Well one of the big problems is 90%+ of music teachers are crappy players.

(In schools that is)
are you referring to hs teachers? Most of the college teachers in my area are fine players....
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,209 Posts
are you referring to hs teachers? Most of the college teachers in my area are fine players....
I was lumping in everyone - elementary, middle, and high school (I would think most college professors are probably good players and are in the 10% of my guess)
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top