Busy day yesterday, but not terrible. Teaching jazz theory, Mark’s lesson, and Big Band. Then, Jenine took me out to the Rochester Mills Brewing Company for dinner and a milkshake stout. Yum!
In terms of Jazz Theory, I’ve realized that my historically-based approach to learning improvisation is not applicable to an academic environment. There’s no way to reproduce the hours of exposure to jazz that our Great Masters needed in order to learn their music. Some educators, including myself, often say that the real place to learn jazz is on the bandstand. This is true. However, Jenine pointed out that many of the students in my Jazz Theory class are not going to be jazz musicians, and in this sense, they’re not learning the information to be a cutting edge improviser, but more likely learning pedagogy to pass on when they themselves become teachers. That is not to say that the students in the class want to be the best they can, but they are not jazz majors, and have other obligations within their primary concentrations.
Eventually, I’ll have a jazz major in place, and some of the students will need these courses for these degrees. For now, the students are steadily increasing in number, and many of them are becoming more skilled at improvising. I’ve just got to keep plugging away!