Engaging Different Learning Styles in Jazz Education

  1. Welcome & Introductions
  1. Rodney
  1. In the early days of Jazz Education, Jazz was frequently found on television and popular media i.e. “variety shows, background/ sound bed accompaniment to popular music of the day.
  2. Jazz education, to a certain degree has done things backwards- as of late
  3. We start w/ method books, scales, rhythm studies before we excite the students about actually playing music.
  4. Big Bands were touring when I was a student w/ the original Leaders i.e. Basie, Woody, Buddy, Maynard, Clark Terry and Kenton
  5. non competitive gatherings were common place comprised of sectional - master classes followed by full evening concerts and students received immediate feedback.
  6. Just like there’s no way that one can fully understand Beethoven or Mozart without teaching what happened in Germany at the time, putting a Basie, Ellington, or Monk composition in front of your students without filling in the cultural happenings of the day will continually miss the mark. This is where today’s media can create a comprehensive platform for learning.            
  7. When we expose students to the music outside of it’s culture in which it existed, at some point we lose the essence of the music.
  8. Change the perception in young players that jazz is an unapproachable, other worldly pursuit.

  1. Dennis
  1. Why I’m here
  1. KCCK’s mission is to be an educational resource to the community, as well as a media outlet.  We like to think all of our programs on the radio, which inform and enlighten our listeners about the history and people of jazz, are educational.  But, for nearly a decade, we have invested directly in the future of jazz with education programs that impact students in every grade from K-12.  These include:
  1. Schoolhouse Jazz - for elementary students.  Schoolhouse Jazz is an assembly format, with a live band, visuals and narration.  We teach the kids some basic jazz rhythmic ideas, some jazz history, and encourage them to sing and clap along.
  2. Middle School Jazz Band Camp - held each summer on the Kirkwood campus for students entering grades 6-9.  The camp is designed to give middle school students an introduction to jazz, incorporating big band, combo and improvisation.  Faculty include high school directors, college jazz faculty and private professional instructors.
  1. Difficulties in engaging even the engaged.
  1. One important aspect of learning jazz is listening to jazz. One thing we have noticed, particularly in jazz band camp, is the difficulties in keeping students interested and engaged during jazz listening class.  When kids don’t have anything to see, they get bored.  We found that when we used videos instead of just audio, the kids paid better attention.  Some of the videos that worked well are on embedded on the web page that accompanies this presentation.  We’ll go through them in the next segment.

  1. Rodney-Looking like a Pro
  1. Patterning Behavior of a Professional Musician
  1. Lack of live concert experience / pop media and instantaneous gratification or the norm for most young players in their social life - it’s the environment they operate in.
  2. Students want to know...How do I carry myself?Where do I stand?  Where do I look?
  3. Importance of unspoken communication / technical command of the instrument are evident when viewing professionals either live or through video.
  4. Miles & Gil Evans, Miles Ahead -- “New Rhumba” 1:20 or so.
  1. Look for recording and performance set up, technics, discuss historical nature of the Cool period and the Davis-Evans collaboration.
  2. Or Chris Botti, if you feel like your students can’t relate to old, BW recordings
  1. Coltrane - “Impressions” pt 3.
  1. Look for McCoy Tyner’s use of dorian, quartal and pentatonic line development.
  2. OR Phil Woods David Sanborn                             
  3.     1. Look for different generational approach to improvising, also continuation of each other’s ideas and lines.

  1. Dennis - Drawing Them In
  1. Draw connections to music they’ve heard of, or is familiar.  This was easier years ago, as musicians like Hancock, Ponty, Miles, etc. were incorporating rock instruments into jazz.  Today, not so much.  But we found some.
  1. Smells Like Teen Spirit
  2. Won’t Get Fooled Again
  3. Rehab
  4. Vocal Jazz/Vocalese - “Birdland”- Weather Report & Manhattan Transfer
  5. Stefon Harris & Blackout
  6. American Idol
  1. Chris Botti & Catherine McPhee w/ Boston Pops
  1.  Look for use of space, relaxed concentration, eye contact and listening to each others lines - playing off of each other.
  1. Links between Jazz and Pop Culture of the time
  1. Benny Goodman & the teen as trendsetter.
  2. Show tunes & other pop songs moved to jazz.
  3. Stefon Harris-every generation needs to bring its music tastes and history to jazz.
  4. Students today understand and see improvisation all the time (rock, pop, hiphop), but may not know to relate it to jazz.
  1. Using video to demonstrate basic jazz concepts
  1. Wynton Marsalis/Victor Goins “Happy Birthday”
  1. embellishing melody, strong sense of time, harmonic foundation.
  1. History:  Ken Burns, Great Day in Harlem
  2. Oscar Peterson gives Dick Cavett a piano lesson
  3. Duke Ellington, “Model of Leadership
  4. Louis Nash-The MVP Mindset

            This speaks very elloquently about self, ego, group responsibilities.

  1. “A Great Day in Harlem” PBS documentary / series

                                        This is a landmark event which is rich with the history of Jazz culture

                                          and music.

  1. Rodney - Making the student the teacher
  1. Create a learning community within class/ensemble, fosters collaboration & socialization of knowledge
  1. each member of your group contribute a tune and share/bring them to class.
  2. Vocal jazz - even more an aural discipline.
  3. Encourage students to listen and search out all styles of music to bring into your classroom and share.
  4. If you don’t hear the music or you have no situation in which you’ve listened- how do you learn to play?
  5. Offer suggestions to your students for their I-pods and mp3 players.
  6. Commit time during rehearsal for students to share and explain likes and dislikes. Challenge them to listen to music analytically and in an organized fashion. Identify characteristics such as melodic and harmonic devices, rhythmic interpretation etc.
  7. Students should be encouraged to listen and hang out socially. Start a combo if you haven’t already done so. Set up gigs in local area coffee shops and public venues and events. This will foster collaboration and strengthen the social aspects of being involved with your jazz program.
  8. Virtually any musical point that you choose to illustrate is available on you tube...”a picture sometimes says a thousand words”.
  1. How to use resources like this?  Don’t want to take away from rehearsal time.
  1. Perhaps have a video playing on the smart board or screen when students come in, kind of a “pre-warmup”.

  1. New Media, New Resources
  1. Skype
  1. Interview, demo, rehearse with just about anyone, anywhere.
  1. Other resources
  1. Handout with links of music heard today.
  2. Resources at kcck.org, jeiowa.org
  3. KCCK online listening, iPhone app.
  4. Ken Burns DVD series is a must for every Jazz program.

  1. Questions?