I received criticism on the dichotomy I set up in my post Balance and Elephant in the Room. I’d like to clarify:

I purposefully don’t preach jazz education vs. classical education. I preach read-execute and listen-execute; there’s a subtle difference.

My theory is that a good balance between read-execute, listen-execute and their variations will create better all-around and higher skilled musicians. As a music educator, I don’t care if teachers are training students in the Baroquetradition, as long as there’s balance between read-execute and listen-execute.

My job as a jazz educator is to find ways to establish and maintain this balance in jazz education’s infrastructure. And as it happens, jazz education more naturally offers a better balance than the alternative.

Classical education could train better all-around, higher-skilled artists, but it doesn’t ever focus its efforts on the tradition that would make that happen.

For my critics, keep in mind that listen-execute entails much more than learning Happy Birthday by ear and improvising a piano accompaniment. It’s certainly much more than having the skill to identify intervals, chord qualities and play back simple melodies. Listen-execute is about students playing, improvising and communicating in ensembles. It’s about conversing, reacting and responding musically.

Listen-execute is about the community.

That’s why jazz education is the future of music education.

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