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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

Was just curious as to who here has gone through a graduate program for jazz studies. Where did you go & what'd you take away from it?

It looks as if I'll be attending Marshall University in the fall to get my masters degree there. Just wanted to see who else here has pursued a grad degree in jazz.
 

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danarsenault said:
<Geezer mode on> In my day this was done on the bandstand. <Geezer mode off>
...and that's why you went to Berklee? :twisted:
 

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danarsenault said:
We're talking graduate programs here, Gary.
But Dan, you told me you were at Berklee for six years. I just assumed... :twisted:
 

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I was at Berklee for four years as a student, two working in administration and teaching. Gerklee was attempting to get a graduate program together at the time, but I don't think they ever did.

Some people there did graduate work at New England Conservatory around the corner, but it wasn't much of a jazz program. I remember auditing a graduate seminar there one day with Jimmy Guiffre. Someone asked Jimmy what he thought of the death of Albert Ayler. Jimmy was speechless. I don't blame him.

My point was, though it is possible for a jazz graduate program to be useful, wouldn't it make more sense to gig? Spend your time taking lessons, learning tunes, and doing transcriptions - jazz graduate school.
 

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That would certainly be more useful for someone who wishes to "make it" as a professional musician. While I plan to play professionally as a side gig, I plan to make a profession of teaching. A lot of states now require their teachers to have a masters degree within a few years of taking a job & it also helps the salary. Instead of taking lame common sense music education classes, I figured I'd actually study something that would be more interesting for me.
 

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'Don't mean to make this sound like a flame, 'cause it's just an honest observtion... I've got LOT'S of friends and acquaintences that decided on careers as "teachers"; usually for reasons like: job security, benefits, summers off, and steady pay. For most everyone that kind of gig is a very sweet deal... much better than scuffling for money paying crappy gigs with no certain future and no cool jackets with suede elbows. That being what it is, here's my question. What the @%#^ are they teaching? I'm referring to people whom I admire as people (most) and as musicians (less), but how DARE anyone take money "teaching" something they know so little about/ have so little respect for? That's just my opinion, but then I lost all respect for Shaq way back when he decided that he could accept millions of dollars as a "professional", but lacked the humility to learn to shoot freethrows... ... ... but i digress
 

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If you studied on your own, you would probably gig, hook up with a teacher on your primary instrument, study piano, find someone to teach you arranging unless your sax teacher happens to know a lot about how to arrange in different styles and settings or study on your own, read books on jazz history and analyze different styles, and find musicians who want to get together and work on various kinds of jazz.

If you find a good masters program, you can get all those things and have access to the resourses of other musicians who not only know how to play or compose, but how to teach others how to do it as well.

It's not like you're going to learn everything you need to know in the 2 years a masters program usually takes anyway, but I think it is a good way to condense a lot of learning into a relatively short time.

Also, with all due respect, I don't think the jazz scene is now what it was when Mr. Arsenault was getting started. In most cities there arn't that many jazz gigs to be had and when you do get them you are generally expected to have your stuff together and not still learning the ropes.
 

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sonnymobleytrane said:
What's a Gig? :evil:
You know - that's the thing that at about five in the afternoon you start packing up $12,000.00 dollars of equipment to put in a $1,200.00 car to drive two hours to a dump to set up, wait to play from ten-thirty 'til two, pack up, drive another two hours, eat at some roadside dump in the middle of the night and get into bed at about five in the morning. After your 12 hour "workday", by the time you're finished with gas and eats (usually synonymous terms), your net pay for the evening is about $12.00 dollars. :cool:
 

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dontpanick said:
'Don't mean to make this sound like a flame, 'cause it's just an honest observtion... I've got LOT'S of friends and acquaintences that decided on careers as "teachers"; usually for reasons like: job security, benefits, summers off, and steady pay. For most everyone that kind of gig is a very sweet deal... much better than scuffling for money paying crappy gigs with no certain future and no cool jackets with suede elbows. That being what it is, here's my question. What the @%#^ are they teaching? I'm referring to people whom I admire as people (most) and as musicians (less), but how DARE anyone take money "teaching" something they know so little about/ have so little respect for? That's just my opinion, but then I lost all respect for Shaq way back when he decided that he could accept millions of dollars as a "professional", but lacked the humility to learn to shoot freethrows... ... ... but i digress
I'm really not digging the attitude towards teaching here. I love my craft a great deal, and I'm entirely devoted to it. I love it, so much, in fact, that I'd like to share it with others, both through my playing, and through showing others the joy that can be had from music. I know this is a post mainly about jazz programs, but does anyone know what Tim McAllister and Don Sinta's undergrad degrees were in?...That's right: music ed. Sinta was a high school band director in New York for a few years. I'm pretty sure the man's devoted to and passionate about his craft...
 

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If I were in your shoes (having been there and gotten the Masters) I would either major in clarinet performance/pedagogy--assuming your main instrument is sax-- and/or do a masters in education.
I think a masters degree is an important thing to have nowadays and it seems like the jazz studies market is glutted with graduates and not enough jobs for the folks with that degree. Plus, in my humble opinion, it is kind of weird to be teaching students to play jazz as if there were a ton of jazz gigs out there.
You can always study and play outside of school (which I think is a better learning experience), join IAJE and network, and you'll have the benefit making more $$ teaching with a masters in education and have doubling chops...a broader horizon if you will. Just my .02
 

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gary said:
You know - that's the thing that at about five in the afternoon you start packing up $12,000.00 dollars of equipment to put in a $1,200.00 car to drive two hours to a dump to set up, wait to play from ten-thirty 'til two, pack up, drive another two hours, eat at some roadside dump in the middle of the night and get into bed at about five in the morning. After your 12 hour "workday", by the time you're finished with gas and eats (usually synonymous terms), your net pay for the evening is about $12.00 dollars. :cool:
Thanks Gary
Now I remember!!!
 

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gary said:
.......your net pay for the evening is about $12.00 dollars. :cool:
You Net $12.00? Wow. That's often my gross pay for gigs. Gross in more ways than one.
 

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Right on, saxman_aja. I wonder how many of us are still playing today because of the positive influence along the way of a teacher that cared about what they do.

As for it being weird to graduate so many jazz majors when there are so few jobs, when you think about it it's even weirder that they graduate way more classical performance majors when there are even fewer jobs out there for them. You could probably say the same about any degree in the arts that isn't focused on pedagogy.
 

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saxomophone said:
As for it being weird to graduate so many jazz majors when there are so few jobs, when you think about it it's even weirder that they graduate way more classical performance majors when there are even fewer jobs out there for them. You could probably say the same about any degree in the arts that isn't focused on pedagogy.
You have to do it for yourself.

If you have problems in your career and that degree hasn't helped you find work, and if that was your main intent, then you're left with nothing.

I had a life-long dream to get a doctorate and thirty-one years after I first entered university I finally got it. I can honestly say that the degree (not what I learned in the process, but the certificate) hasn't done me one iota of income-producing good. You have to do it for yourself.
 
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