Elephants Everywhere! (Part 2/4)

In case you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1

I received mostly positive feedback from these workshops I conducted but I received a few criticisms as well. One critique was from a teacher who thought I spent too much time talking about elephants and not enough time giving practical information that they can teach their students. She/he expected formulas and shortcuts, but I gave them elephants and bombshells.

In defense of my workshops, I do give practical information. I try to divide my time evenly between elephants, answering questions and giving practical information. I’ll also play a tune or two. In response to this critique however, I would raise the issue I have with these workshops: The problem isn’t how I balance presenting practical information with elephants. The problem is whether I should be giving practical information to non-specialists in the first place! Should I even bother!?

Remember, I’m teaching teachers. That’s why I spend so much time on elephants. I think it would be justified if I spent the entire workshop on elephants. Simply put, the message would be: “If you have students interested in learning jazz piano, please send them to someone more experienced in the jazz tradition.” But this is up for discussion!

So the question is, from Another Elephant: If our goal is to build another room, to what degree, if any, can the new room include non-specialists?

From another angle: To what extent can jazz education follow a formula?

Stay tuned for part 3!

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