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Discussion Starter #1
1. No written music
2. No written music
3. Sing a standard with Sinatra, Johnny, Ella, Sarah etc. Learn all the words
4. Play all the changes on the piano then sing along
5. Play the melody on the horn
6. Learn the changes on the horn
7. No written music
 

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8: Improvise on chords? that sounds brutal, man! If you can manage to convnce your students to follow it without skipping steps then they will really benefit. I'd just be careful who you inflict this on.
 

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Great to a point but everyone needs to learn how to sight read
 

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Jazz education in the schools has come a long way from when I was in high school and we had "Stage Bands" and learned to play tunes like "Jersey Bounce" and "String of Pearls". However, an area where there is room for improvement is teaching students to play the STANDARD JAZZ TUNES and to learn them by ear.

A case in point is that I was helping at a Cannonball Saxophone Display at a local jazz festival held at a local university. All of the finest high school jazz ensembles were in attendance, and there were some exceptional bands and high school musicians. During breaks they would come to the exhibit area and bring their mouthpieces to try out the Cannonball saxes.

Once they had their mouthpiece on the sax, they would play a few bars of one of their festival tunes or a couple of jazz "licks" and then they would go to their case to get some music to play. Not one of them could pick up a sax and play a song even as simple as "Summertime" without having to read the printed music---let alone play a tune in more than one key by ear.

As a freshman in college I had very little jazz experience, but I had the opportunity to play sax in a quartet lead by a very talented piano player. He taught me three tunes (by ear) and then I started playing gigs on weekends with the band. The number one rule was there was never to be any music taken to the gig. If the tune wasn't in our heads, we didn't play it. Of course if the piano player had ever heard a tune once, he could usually play the melody and chord progression even though he had never played it before. Understandably this kept me constantly on my toes, and boy did I learn to start really listening to music. This was an even bigger part of my music education than what I was getting in my university courses and ensembles.

This has just been my long winded way of saying "right on" with that approach.
 

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I agree with this philosophy. I grew up mostly reading music and find it difficult to play a jazz gig without some kind of fake book or sheet music as a crutch because I really don't know a lot of tunes and changes thoroughly. You need to have both skills the sight reading and the ear development. "Right on" again!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm starting to see myself as sort of a specialist in this approach and free jazz and other things that don't really fit into the "jazz ed" thing. I think there are lots of other people who can teach reading and basics, far better than me, I think I need to be true to myself and do what I feel I'm good at. Also my wife likes me better this way.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Got to get myself a snare and a ride too.
 

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Playing by ear from recordings is similar to reading in that it does not focus on the most fundamental and important aspect of jazz which is improvisation. If creativity (the act of creating) is not stressed, teachers are doing a horrible job.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sorry you hate Billie and Ella man never heard anyone say that to each his own. The bottom line is its all ear training. My kids think they should be learning Brecker and they can't hear V of ii. I'm pretty creative too. Thanks for the comments.
 

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Glad to hear someone stress this. Just posted something similar on my blog not long ago. Developing one's ears in this fashion is the best way for any musician to tap into their own creativity when improvising. I agree that this needs to be emphasized more.
 

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My teacher when I was studying at a tertiary level was like this. The most he would write down was two bars which he would get me to transpose through 12 keys. He also taught me tunes via numbers, both chords and melodies but he'd rarely ever bring a full lead sheet for me. Hot house was a lot of fun to learn by numbers. The only other thing he'd write down was substitution chords again though it was rare that he'd write down the whole tune.
 

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I would have em sing a solo (one chorus). Along with the record.

Then sing it without the record in another key. Or something. hmm, I'll try that tomorrow.

Play tunes in a set format. Plan out a set, choose tunes and trade solos back n forth.

Listen to solos and discuss the finer points. What makes *this solo* better than this other great solo?
 

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A lot of teachers ask their students what they want to play rather than being a dictator about it.
A lot of students know to listen and learn, rather than tell their teacher what to do.
 

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3. Sing a standard with Sinatra, Johnny, Ella, Sarah etc. Learn all the words
Yesterday's pop music isn't any better than today's crap.

My band teacher in high school had us playing The Eagles. What a stupid woman she was. I remember sitting there playing "Hotel California" and thinking that class sucked but as the song goes "You can never leave". Yeah, just like that hour of band class! Words are not music and in most cases, don't even qualify as poetry. Words are a way to distract us from the fact that singers are not musicians; most are entertainers at best. If you want to hear singing which is music, listen to opera singers.

What is the obsession with these songs about? If your students want to learn Michael Brecker, let them learn that. You are trying to make them into you, not letting them be themselves.

Students who practice *anything* will improve but that doesn't mean they are learning the most they can and what they should be learning which is the joy of making music, not copying some dead singers who you happen to think are great.
 
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