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

I admire any music community – no matter the style or tradition – that prioritizes the ideas discussed in my previous post.

However, I’m not a specialist in all styles and traditions.  My teaching materials are limited to what I know and what I do.  My positive experiences create a bias and I have no choice but to focus on a particular lineage of ideas.

  • I teach students to hear the blues, not minuets.
  • I teach them about Oscar and Monk, not Chopin and Radiohead.
  • I teach them bebop scales, not ragas.
  • I teach them about swing, not techno.

Here’s another thing: I’m inclined to teach students about swing and straight eights because they’re both a source of positive experience for me.  I don’t discriminate; I can’t discriminate!  As long as these things are fostering more positive experience, what more could you ask for?

For this reason, the recent mumblings about “jazz nerds” aggravates me.  Actually, there’s lots of worthless, divisive, spiteful banter in the community that aggravates me.  Come on folks, music is bigger than this!

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Here are three thoughts for future consideration:

1) In trying to optimize music education and music experience, how does dance fit into the equation?

2) There’re often psychological barriers between educators and students.  How thick should it be?  Should that barrier even exist?  Is everyone equal?

3) We’re prone to categorizing and separating performing from teaching. To what extent should performing and teaching be treated as one and the same?  To what extent do they have similar functions?

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