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Bill Anschell's Notes from the Lobby

Careers in Jazz

By Published: June 17, 2012
Secondary school teachers: Although these teachers rank beneath university teachers in the jazz pecking order and in societal standing, theirs is the more noble calling. While university professors are largely responsible for the flooding of the market with aspiring professionals—highly trained and largely generic— secondary school teachers are more interested in building the future jazz audience. Their focus is on instilling an understanding of and appreciation for jazz among their students; unfortunately, this appreciation quickly fades with the students' maturity.

Private instructors: Whether teaching in the back rooms of music stores or out of their own homes, these are individuals who tried and failed to make it as Gig Whores. Although most other musicians consider private instruction the final stop before suicide, society is kinder to these unfortunates, allowing them to hide their indignity behind "the importance of arts education," "passing knowledge from generation to generation," and "keeping youth off the streets."

4. This well-fed, parasitic middleman—typically a jealous amateur musician formally trained in non-profit business administration—may work either directly for the government or for a government-funded non- profit presenting agency. Either way, he or she enjoys a salary and accompanying benefits unthinkable for a working jazz artist.

5. Smooth Jazz is, of course, not jazz at all. Apart from the fact that its bass and drum parts are actually repetitive pop patterns and its harmonies are simple pop progressions, its practitioners are entirely unlike jazz artists. They are well-paid, well-balanced, enjoy normal hobbies, have many fans, appreciate their audiences, and seem to harbor minimal disdain for mankind as a whole.


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