Priorities in Music Education – Classical, Jazz, Jazz Nerds and More (Part 1/2)

Is it jazz?  Is it classical?

When experiencing or performing music, I consider myself indifferent to such genres and labels.

However, looking back on my blog posts, I’ve contradicted myself.  I don’t hesitate to label music education “jazz,” “classical” or otherwise.  So I thought I should clarify some things, and list some of my priorities where music education is concerned.

First, here is a fundamental principle:

Without this belief, music education is meaningless.  Thus, my goal as an educator is to optimize my methods and – to the best of my abilities – make lives better.  In working to optimize my methods, I keep two more principles:

  • Music brings people together
  • Music is a vehicle for individual exploration and development

So far, these ideas are genre-free.  I’m indifferent to all styles, traditions and methods as long as they’re working to achieve the above as best as they can.  Here’s how they might do that:

Music Brings People Together

  • Teach aurally
  • Teach students how to communicate musically with other musicians.
  • Have students, musicians and teachers playing/improvising together regularly
  • Have regular community hangs, performances and sessions
  • Support a common body of repertoire
  • Support live music
  • Encourage the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next
  • Encourage the students and the community to be creative together
  • Encourage participation and active listening

Music as a Vehicle For Individual Exploration and Development

  • Develop instrumental skills
  • Develop cognitive skills (executive functions)
  • Develop improvisational skills
  • Foster creativity
  • Offer private lessons
  • Push students to read, write and study music
  • Deepen an individual’s relationship with music

I don’t care if these ideas are used to cultivate a community around Baroque music.  Any community that prioritizes the above would be making life better!  I admire that.

Communities that don’t prioritize the above should make improvements.

Stay tuned for Part 2!

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