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Future Jazz

Jazz Education In The Century Of Change: Beyond The Music

By Published: September 26, 2012
Jazz skill: Realizing one's unique "voice."

Life skill: By honing one's own vision, the individual assumes an active role towards changing and improving a given situation by offering unique and personal ideas towards that end. This involves critical and creative thinking, honest self evaluation, much discipline and a desire to change one's status quo towards discovering a better way to accomplish something.

Key concept: Clarity of vision.

Jazz skill: Knowing the "standard" repertoire (history and traditions) as it is along with the desire and ability to vary these set directives in creative and multiple ways, both spontaneously as well as pre-planned.

Life skill: Being able to adjust and change direction in a situation already framed by a given set of rules and conditions which may or may not encourage new discoveries and innovation; seizing the moment and affecting immediate change while at the same time being actively involved in the process itself; having the necessary confidence to accomplish this goal with the awareness that the final result might not be realized until later with no guarantees concerning the outcome.

Key concept: Flexibility.

Jazz skill: To be able to "swing" meaning being part of the surrounding context ("groove").

Life skill: Being part of the creative process taking place; to energize and be energized by interacting with the involved parties towards realizing a goal; feeling a "joie du vivre" through being involved in a group effort.

Key concept: Commitment.

Jazz skill: Composing original music, etc.

Life skill: Creating something new and/or modifying an already established tradition or practice based upon one's imagination, skills and experiences.

Key concept: Individual creativity.

Jazz skill: Being in the moment, aware of what is happening around you (in a playing situation).

Life skill: An open attitude towards the new and unexpected without fear or immediate judgment; realizing that out of the old comes the new to be embraced and refined as befitting the specifics of a situation.

Key concept: Awareness.

Jazz skill: Interaction on stage; communication with an audience; working within one's immediate musical community.

Life skill: Realizing your relationship to one's direct working and social environment, meaning the immediate group as well as society at large; the ability to see the "big" picture in both one's private and public life.

Key concept: Citizenship.

Jazz skill: Being an entertainer and communicator.

Life skill: Realizing the social component and purpose of your work; the ability to offer one's ideas and creative work in a manner that will successfully convey ideas and concepts to a given audience for consideration.

Key concept: Communication.

Jazz skill: Being an artist

Life skill: To recognize the deep intrinsic values of what one does in life on both a practical and spiritual level; communicating core universal values (truth, beauty, compassion, etc.) in a way that both educates and entertains.

Key concept: Spirituality.


John Dewey, one of America's foremost thinkers on education:

"Each (individual) shall have the education which enables him to see within his daily work all there is in it of large and human significance... first and foremost to teach habits of learning."


Special thanks to Walter Turkenburg, Jari Perkiomaki and those educators who offered comments.

Photo Credit

Wolfgang Becker


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