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Changes in Teaching Jazz


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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:37 am    Post subject: Re: Changes in Teaching Jazz Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
Jaw04 wrote:
I have changed my approach to teaching a great deal. My pedagogy has changed and developed over the years just like we all go through growth and change in our lives, work, and musicianship.
I place way more emphasis on playing by ear and getting away from the page, getting away from the books, and developing your personal musicianship through listening, exploring, and being guided along the way by your teacher. I have rejected a lot of the pedagogy that I was taught. Learning music, whether it be jazz or anything else, is about encountering and experiencing music for yourself.

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Have you had to do anything in the way of 'catch-up technical/theory teaching' with your students so they are prepared for your new emphasis method.
You've had years of prior learning and experience as foundation. Have you encountered students who do not respond well because of their lack of that foundation?
That's a good question. Sometimes there are holes in a players foundation. I still emphasize fundamentals on the instrument a lot. You need to know all 12 major scales inside and out. You need to be well versed in practicing long tones, lip slurs, scales, articulation. I also incorporate sight-reading as an important skill. But when it comes to learning jazz, everything needs to be rooted in exploring it and developing it through trial and error, listening, playing along with records, learning songs by ear, figuring out what sounds good for yourself, not what a book or sheet of licks tells you to play. Everything needs to be connected back to experiencing and hearing, and following your taste. Theory should always be connected to what the student has already heard and experienced and knows by sound.
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Billy B
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Changes in Teaching Jazz Reply with quote

Jaw04 wrote:
JayKosta wrote:
Jaw04 wrote:
I have changed my approach to teaching a great deal. My pedagogy has changed and developed over the years just like we all go through growth and change in our lives, work, and musicianship.
I place way more emphasis on playing by ear and getting away from the page, getting away from the books, and developing your personal musicianship through listening, exploring, and being guided along the way by your teacher. I have rejected a lot of the pedagogy that I was taught. Learning music, whether it be jazz or anything else, is about encountering and experiencing music for yourself.

------------------------------------------
Have you had to do anything in the way of 'catch-up technical/theory teaching' with your students so they are prepared for your new emphasis method.
You've had years of prior learning and experience as foundation. Have you encountered students who do not respond well because of their lack of that foundation?
That's a good question. Sometimes there are holes in a players foundation. I still emphasize fundamentals on the instrument a lot. You need to know all 12 major scales inside and out. You need to be well versed in practicing long tones, lip slurs, scales, articulation. I also incorporate sight-reading as an important skill. But when it comes to learning jazz, everything needs to be rooted in exploring it and developing it through trial and error, listening, playing along with records, learning songs by ear, figuring out what sounds good for yourself, not what a book or sheet of licks tells you to play. Everything needs to be connected back to experiencing and hearing, and following your taste. Theory should always be connected to what the student has already heard and experienced and knows by sound.


A good approach for all styles of music. Ear training from day one.
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american boy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Along with practicing tunes in every key and playing live with others,of course we must do alot of listening to the past and present greats..Transcribing is also great..Once again, I have seen remarkable results with students learning tunes in all keys..What happens with many players playing jazz standards is getting in a rut..I went thru that when I toured with big bands,and you would get a feature and you want it to sound good so you play what you know(especially if the leader is, lets be nice,intense)..So yeah,i`ve heard players in that situation repeat solos or parts of solos almost every night.
The way out of that rut is the all keys practice,and I will not go on about that again,but I have seen the magic of that with many students,of all ages.
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 02, 2021 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

american boy wrote:
Along with practicing tunes in every key and playing live with others,of course we must do alot of listening to the past and present greats..Transcribing is also great..Once again, I have seen remarkable results with students learning tunes in all keys..What happens with many players playing jazz standards is getting in a rut..I went thru that when I toured with big bands,and you would get a feature and you want it to sound good so you play what you know(especially if the leader is, lets be nice,intense)..So yeah,i`ve heard players in that situation repeat solos or parts of solos almost every night.
The way out of that rut is the all keys practice,and I will not go on about that again,but I have seen the magic of that with many students,of all ages.
TRY IT!
It's true! It's something I resisted for a long time. I was like, man I'm never going to play this tune in A flat. But it makes a big difference with connecting your ear to your fingers when you learn heads like Donna Lee, or simpler ones, in all 12. Again, by ear, not reading...
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, I don't know. I am not a teacher in music nor have any formal skills for or nor knowledge of that trade but I have the strong feeling that here on TH is a strong tendency to the academic form of jazz playing, more specific, improvisation.
I know several guitar players who are not al all formally schooled and only are able to play a few scales, blues scale, major scale, some minor things and know a little of positioning on the guitar like the CAGED system but still are great improvisers. Think about the gypsy players who can't read music, have their own chords (gypsy chords) and scales. But they are superb improvisers.
The same for New Orleans players. When I was 15 I played (slide trombone) the whole repertoire and it was always in the keys of Bflat, G minor, Eflat, C minor, F and Dminor, less in Aflat, F minor and very little in Dflat, Bflat minor.
C major and Aminor I don't even remember. So certainly no 12 keys! To say it more clearly: I suppose that a player who can only play in three keys still can be a great improviser in a certain musical tradition or form.

But I agree that the modern development in music is asking for more technical and theoretical skills but these are only circumstances, that is IMO not directly the heart of the skill of improvisation.

What is?
First, we shall have to admit that improvising is a skill probably not for everybody, you need a certain mindsetting for it. Some talent seems to be needed.

Second, you have to go through some barrier on your instrument. If you play from your inside into the music you will be late, ever. You have to recognize that the music is already there, you have only to fill in your music in the space that already exists. You must hear what is needed. The barrier is gone as soon as you give up thinking about what you are playing and just throw yourself in. Here may be a strong connection with the rhytmical aspect of improvising. So stop tapping your feet! (then you are making your own rhytm section). BTW, this is NOT inevitably a technical thing! And it may be the most important aspect of improvising, let's call it the freedom aspect. Sorry, I can't explain it better.

Third, you must be able to give meaning to the notes you play. I am sometimes really surprised by the simplicity of notes played by Armstrong, Bix, Chet, Davis and the others, notes I can easily play, still I can't give them the same impact. This is the emotional aspect.

Fourth, you have to develop a certain logic in your improvising, some sort of musical chopper view. It's a mental thing. Some very skilled sax players know exactly which scales can be played on a certain chord and do that all the time. Extremely boring! When you listen to Armstrong, Bix, Miles, even Coltrane and all the others, it always sound logic like these must be the notes to be played. Often it even sounds easy (it is not) or even as the only notes that could be played. It's the structural aspect of improvising. It helps to stay a little bit close to the melody but that's not the end. And yes, 3 and 4 are probably the same thing seen from two sides.


Last edited by delano on Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:31 am; edited 2 times in total
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mr delano

I am startled by the excellence of your post.

Your comments reflect my experience very closely.

I will not comment on the technicalities, partly because you have already said the word, and partly because you set me to study.

I must say this however and I say it because I have said it many times and I hope you dont mind my presumption.

Miles bix and louis played not just the notes but they played the spaces between the notes.

The note played is not the most important element it is the note following that note that is more important and the space between them that is of equal importance to it.

I believe fundamentally that it is in studying the spaces that we open up a cathedral of space which the following notes can fill but only when given enough space to breathe.

One of the differences between an amateur and a professional is the amateur plays notes and has no control over the spaces so the notes are crammed together.

Music for me is a series of pauses separated by notes, and in the same way that the countryside keeps the towns apart the pauses keep the notes apart and properly used can give them context.

Where would we be if we only had towns joined by towns.

For an artist to communicate there must be a pause to let the sound reach the heart, if the pause is too short the sound can only reach the brain before the next note sounds and distracts. It is understood intellectually but it is not felt or lived.

Correctly played pauses allow the notes to have their full weight.

You are so right the notes you play are the same notes that louis and bix played there is no technical difference between your notes and theirs but they use the space between those notes and deliver greater impact.

The difference is subtle and can be immense.

I hope you are not offended if you are already aware of this I suspect that you are but I had to say it just in case.

I hope you dont mind my contribution.
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No, I don't mind and I like your way of formulating it: the space between the notes. I do my best but I can speak English rather easy in an informal setting but it is much more difficult for me to write in English about an abstract subject like this.
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american boy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course the things like space between notes and altering the rhythms in a kind of theme and variation(or variation and theme) vibe rather then endless 8th note lines is much more interesting,and folks like Miles made that clear with every solo..However, by teaching the student to work the songs in every key,your helping to unlock the possibilities harmonically..Not in place of space and rhythms,but as a practice in being nimble(Connecting fingers,eyes,tongue,brain)..When we go back to the original keys,there`s so much more happening (Thats what I`v found in my own playing by doing alot of this)
For example, if you practice say, something like "Confirmation" in F#,when you go back to G(in Bb) its like when the batter is in the on deck circle with 2 bats.When he goes to hit with 1 bat,he`ll really be swinging!
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 5:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am no judge of course but you get your message across well and you are clear and descriptive, what more can be asked than this.

As for your abilities again I am no judge and have no right to judge but I firmly believe that the players in this forum are far better musicians than they think they are.

We are poor judges of ourselves and we are far too critical of our own shortcomings.

I like the way you write and I like that you pull me up on my shortcomings how else might I improve than by being corrected.

Respect to you sir
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BGinNJ
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2021 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know how well, or even if, they teach improvisation in college, but the common ways people learn it, I don't see changing because of the pandemic.

Maybe more online delivery of instruction. But the reality is, you still have to have a certain amount of mastery of your instrument, there's a bunch of jazz standards to learn, and you have to develop your own vocabulary as a soloist.

People learn scales, modes, chords, tunes, sing along with solos, transcribe- at some point you just have to jump in, try and make something up.
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Bflatman
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PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2021 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is a massive danger with the pandemic and the changes to the way people behave and what is the new standard of working.

I will tell you now what the result of making changes has been where I live.

Before the pandemic when you want a job you get an interview you visit in person you do the interview and you get the job if you are selected.

When you got sick you visited the doctor and the doctor fixes you up

When there is an incident or crime the police visit and interview in person and pass any information needed by insurance companies to the victim.

Now following the changes due to covid this is my direct experience of what is happening now.

When you want a job and you get an interview you have to conduct the interview over the internet and half the time the software does not function and the interview fails on technical grounds.

On one recent interview the technology failed half way through the interview and kicked people out of the interview. On several others it never functioned at all.

On one they refused to interview having already set it up simply because I had not purchased several hundred dollars worth of specialist equipment just for the interview so they could connect to it. That interview would have cost me 1000 dollars an hour. I had purchased a new computer and a better fibre internet for interviews and this still wasnt enough.

When following a crime the police now take statements and investigate over the phone and when you need information from the police they are uncontactable and when you finally get through to them after several days they refuse to give any information about the crime to the victim of the crime that they should give.

When I became sick recently and needed my doctor I was given an appointment for a telephone consultation one week later and the doctor on that appointment could not work out what the medical problem was so he asked me to send in some photographs of me for him to use for a diagnosis.

When I was knocked down by a car and severely injured I traveled to the hospital ER I was told patients need to book ER visits over the internet now.

So far almost nothing functions over the internet.

It sounds great to shift all activities onto the internet but in almost every case that I have needed things to function they have not functioned at all.

Be very careful that the post covid internet based learning actually does what it is supposed to do.

The point of internet based learning is that the student actually does learn and you as a teacher have to measure that.

Every single attempt to build a brave new internet based world where services have migrated to the internet has been nothing short of a total disaster.

There is an expression in medicine. The operation was a success but the patient died.

Migration to the internet was a success the downside is nobody is getting any service or results any more but lets not talk about that. Nobody likes a complainer.

I say to teachers everyone regards the internet with rose tinted glasses. Be very sure that the student is actually learning rather than substituting failure over the internet for success in person.

It is very important to measure success correctly and what success means if you teach over the internet.

For example if the student is stuck in their bedroom eating pop tarts and not having to improv in a real live gig situation, how do you measure their performance and ability to do it. And is the technology up to the job.

So far in all emergency services and in all employers that now confidently force people onto the internet all I am seeing without exception is incompetence and zero service provision.

I cant imagine music is in any better condition than medicine or the police and that means not functioning.

By the way the doctor never followed that call up so all that is happening in medicine is patients are either having to get better without any medical intervention or they are dying without seeing a doctor. I find that unacceptable.

And of course if they collapse because they never got any treatment from a doctor, they cannot visit ER without first making an appointment.

I am not saying this to complain I am saying what is happening now in the real world post covid where it is claimed that everything has been migrated successfully to the internet that may be true the migration happened but nothing recently migrated to the internet is functioning.

When you move things to the internet you had better make damn sure it works properly and seamlessly or all you have done is dismantled everything and you are wasting everyones time.
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