Jaijai, what a wonderful mission you've undertaken to create such a place for artistic minds to meet and share their hearts. A place to renew faded determinations, and revive lessened momentums. A place to display our wares and reconfirm to one another that we actually are on the right track.
I commend you, Jaijai, for caring so much that you created this castle of the heart for all of us. I want to share my praise for all of the new friends as well as old friends that I've met and will meet here in our castle. Here we can garnish the where-with-all, the strength, the conviction, and the selflessness through our symbiosis, to share our gift to the world with an unbiased agenda.
My mentor, Daisaku Ikeda says of art: "A beautiful flower delights and refreshes the hearts of all people equally, no matter what soil it grows in. That is the power of beauty. The same is true of great art. It is this spirit that the German poet Heinrich Heine sang of when he wrote that once the peapod bursts open, the sugar peas inside are for everyone to enjoy."
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Are Schools (ie: Grade Schools, Middle Schools, High Schools &/or Colleges) really the Best Place to teach CREATIVE Arts & CREATIVE Processes anymore... and... Were They EVER!?? My experience reveals the following: If you want to teach New, Culturally Relavant, Progressive, Creative Jazz Music... and have obtained a degree from Anywhere... ANYWHERE, in order to teach that subject, in a Public School- you will be Prevented From Doing So by: UNIT REQUIREMENTS, PREREQUSITES, LESSON PLANS, OBJECTIVES, PEDAGOGY... & on... & ON! This is why we still have the 'Same Lame' offerings in Musak Edgeamakashun ! You will be required by the system to offer such things as: Individual Lessons, General Music, Marching Band, Concert Band, Chorus and... oOOoo Yeaaaa... Jazz Band! HEY! We've had these SAME OLD Non-Creative, Non-Evolving, Non-Relative, NON-TURNON & Ever Increasingly DEAD END METHODOLOGIES Long Enough! ENOUGH FORENSIC MUSIC & ART! Is'nt it time to trash the old Subject-Based Stuff & Emphasize the CREATIVE NATURE of ART? Has EVERYONE Forgotten that the Real Excitement & Value that ANY ART brings to any LIVING INDIVIDUAL Creator or Perciever is THE ONGOING, EVER-CHANGING, CREATION ITSELF!? How Long can one live in a PERFECT WORLD (-where, obviously- nothing new will happen) How Long can you Repeat the Same Song or Look at the SAME THING? How Looongggg...??? (Whew- smile!) -Blue Brown!
Hi, We are compromised with our Kids, not only teach them Jazz or some tecniques, We want to encorage them to find their voice and character, because we are role models not only musicians for these kids.
Count with us we want a change in our communities and in the future of music.
The Velez Brothers
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.velezbrothers.com
Perhaps it's not as much about "going into the schools" as it is "going into the community". I'm just kind of thinking out loud here, but it occurs to me that there are a couple of keys to reaching kids. First, music needs to be played at "family friendly hours"; a 9:00 pm show start doesn't work for kids. Second, the music needs to be played at "family friendly venues"; bars, lounges and clubs are off limits to the people we're talking about reaching here. Third, the prices need to be "family friendly"; money is tight with everyone, but especially people with young kids. How to accomplish this? I don't know. Perhaps someone else out there has some experience along these lines?
Also, I would throw out there that the Mentor / Apprentice dynamic is all but essential to music, yet has fallen out of fashion in recent times. A pity.
What do I think about music - more particularly jazz -in schools? Well, I am a school principal in France, & have about 500 students from 11 to 19 . The big problem in the French educational system is that there is only 1 hour a week dedicated (!) to music, & that's only for students from 11 to 15. This is a real pity & shame...(I think the American system dedicates more hours to music).
Many French teenagers don't even know what jazz is. They think it is old fashioned, & music for "old people"! They've never heard of Jaco Pastorius, Kenny Clark, Pat Metheny let alone John Coltrane & Miles.... So, it is a real challenge to bring them to jazz, but it is possible !
So, as a jazz addict, I never waste an opportunity to have jazz & music at school. I invited some bands to play live, I play movies( such as Mo' Better Blues) or Live concerts I have on DVDs, for the boarders on Wednesday afternoon. Some were interested in Gospel; a teacher decided to work on the subject & they promise they will sing at the end of the school year! When we organize our "School Grand Opening", the music played is jazz ! I bring my own CDs & you have Pat Metheny on, Kenny Garrett, Ahmad Jamal & many others. 50 of our students are going on a humanitarian trip to Brazil; so I asked them to work on Brasilian singers & musicians.
It is of our responsibility (us, jazz lovers) to give them the opportunity to discover all these great artists & their music. We have to find the ways to introduce them to great music.
I would love to have more artists coming in my school, but it is also a question of money...who would (could) do it for free? If anybody wants to come abroad & visit France & play in my school, you're very welcome ! - Astrid BAÏLO
You make some intresting points here. I remember when I was in high school, the honors society would host a couple of informal concerts; not just jazz, but other forms of music like bluegrass and barbershop. The keys are that it's up to the musicians to to put these gigs together with the school clubs - and to not just be willing to perform free of charge, but even to insist upon it; to look at it as an opportunity to build the "audience of the future" for future jazz players. Play it forward.
i work with 6-8th grade kids who got stuck in band 'cuz they don't understand what "elective choices" means on their curricula forms. most of them say "UUUHHhh?" or "idunno" when i ask them why they are coming to play an instrument. a friend of mine quit teaching when his principal berated him for expecting the children to practice 15 minutes a day,,,"it's too much to expect from children, the parents wont help them or insist on the work getting done/this is unacceptable expectation which will give the child feelings of inferiority or lower the childs self esteem"CRAPPOLA
i kicked a half dozen kids out for never taking their axes home, not learning their notes, not studying, not working. my boss was thrilled. the kids are happier, no more bandhassle.
the ones left in class are no longer distracted. they get work done. happily.
trumpet is unforgiving, and will be horrible sounding till some hours are put in. as the months go by, these children, (for whom "music " is some bogus hip-hop or brittany syrup) begin to see themselves as able to make something happen-sounds, tunes, scales...the first time they put what sound like a buncha random notes together, add some rhythm,and miraculously make a TV jingle come to life...well, this is like watching columbus hit shore. NOW they begin to get it. we can make music on this pipe.before they couldn't say one note was high, another low...
and then it all comes apart. the parents and siblings complain about the noise. the work is too hard. the ball game. the girls. the boys/ grandmaw can't stand the racket. i gotta play outside. practice in the car...
christmas was great. everyone had to get together in small groups and learn tunes. by themselves. singing, looking for notes...struggling. teachers in the halls wanted to know what the chaos and yelling was all about. one child looked up and said "this is what learning stuff sounds like." they teach each other well...12 to 25 kids, looking for frosty, jingle bells, and the toughest one, white christmas...i learn a lot from them
i have about 70 kids in classes for a few hours a week. they like music, but they like skateboards, glitter, and apples too.. they think schoolis ok. they think thomas jefferson invented the lightbulb. the civil war was in 1776, they tell me george p bush was the second president, kennedy was the first president, and the first guy to walk on the moon was louis armstrong.
after my first day i asked if anyone in class could tell me what a sentence is-and requested answers in complete sentences. the next cat who answered "huh" got sent out. "eflat" got sent to the corner for the day. now i get "i don't know" or "the note is eflat" or "i think it's probably..." we speak in sentences now. gotta start somewhere.
these kids wear hip threads, carry 90$ backpacks, cel phones(the latest ones) ipods,all speak english, a few speak other languages as well. they have huge tv sets, several in the house, but very few, if any books in their houses, aren't sure what "encyclopedias" or "dictionaries" are for, but they can google reams of great stuff on japanese cartoons or teen idols...they have no clue 'bout america, the world, the town...we have much more basic problems than getting a flat 5 in their ear...
where would you suggest we start? they don't get music yet. they barely can differentiate between a clarinet and a g clef. dizzy is state of mind, bird is a canary. miles is a distance. brownie is a sweet treat.
we try to play varieties of music for them, it's all nice, 'bout as interesting as the senior golf tournament.
they get excited over the play-a-long air guitar games. wow. they have no exposure to any form of art.
i am aghast-but this is the "no child left behind " legacy. during my years on ships, i worked with roumanian and filipino sailors who brought their children (young music students)to meet the band-10-11-12 year old kids who could hang with us-curious, knowledgeable, filled with questions on technique, phrasing- players all, expected to work on their music for hours at a time, but still expected to keep the academics together...i was happy to spend my day with them-they had more info on america than our own kids do, and spoke better english(horrible accents, perfect grammatical forms)..i was shocked when i met our current crop of same age students...here in america i don't get the school scene at all. when it comes to education, parents act like they are sending the buick to a carwash...toss the kid in, it gets educated. end of story. homework is inconvenient, gets in the way of events and activities, and why can't they get schooled in the 7 hours they spend in class...well. you already covered that. unless i grab my 10 or 18 trumpet kids, they get stuck in the form taking, talky talky time wasting that the seasoned pros take for granted.
i offered to help with the brass program... and ended up teaching manners, hygiene, physiology, history, language,ethics, maths, basic nutrition...i would love to help with music, but these kids are a menace to themselves and to western civilization-its like, lord a the flies in 7th grade.
lesson one in middle school trumpet class is "look after one another" make sure your neighbor is ok, help or get some help if you see a problem.
trumpet class ain't about trumpet. it's about learning to learn, to be aware, to create a goal, make a plan, make some horrible mistakes, get better, more mistakes...gain some confidence, learn to teach each other...get over your fears-it's new to everyone, you are safe here...become a little civilized, spread some wings, step out.
would love to entice them with bill evans and dexter. we all would. am open to suggestion...
I've reached some interesting conclusions about the viability of teaching Jazz in the education system in the West. Based on my experiences and observations, the education system can barely be trusted to truly educate children on ANY subject. I feel that the most efficient way of educating children about Jazz is by providing independent facilities enabling a child to eventually educate himself/herself. Who better to teach jazz by example than parents and/or elders who have lived and continue to live the lifestyle? Since most of our children are too young to be granted lawful admission into Nightclubs where alcohol is served, they will have to be groomed by elders/parents/musicians in community centers, our homes and/or any establishment that is owned and operated by jazz musicians and jazz lovers. Today we have the unfortunate challenge of "de-programming" a generation of young adults who have been desensitized by unrelenting mediocrity in the Arts, especially Jazz. We live amidst a crowd of record/CD buyers who would openly yawn during A Love Supreme. That same hunger for Substance that drove us and fueled our quest towards Mastery desperately needs to be reawakened and cultivated in our youth. If this doesn't happen then those of us who are legacy-carriers of Jazz will not have enough of a marketplace of mature, knowledgeable discrimminating listeners to make a reasonable living. If a persons tastes do not reflect an understanding and receptiveness to the greatest works this planet has ever known then the marketplace will cater to tastelessness, banality, superficiality, etc. Imagine if more of our children could hear the magic in Dinah Washington's voice, the joyful articulation in any Wynton Kelly solo and then shift gears and sit through a Cecil Taylor recital without fidgetting restlessly. Some of us still have vinyl LPs and turntables that miraculously still work. Let's educate and arm our children in this sonic war against our souls.
As I read these laments about the state of the school system I come to the conclusion that schools are definately NOT the place for sharing complex musical tastes. And looking back on it, have they ever been? Juvenile "group-think" is always anti-establishment, so coming at a group of kids in a school is a lose/lose. The best way to reach kids is one on one, in a more informal setting.
I know (speaking for myself) if I practice at a park (I play acoustic guitar), kids will gather around no matter what kind of music I'm playing, kids will eventually stop and come over and listen, ask about what I'm playing, etc.
I think we have to accept that, like classical music, jazz has an "adult" audience. But we can still throw it out there to try and catch an ear. Practice on the steps out front rather than the safety of your practice room. Play acousticly in the park. Play for the neighbor kids. Find a way.
Actually I dont agree. When I was in highschool we had a great jazz group visit us. This inspired many of us to pursue jazz more seriously. Its all about the environment the school creates. To assume that kids will rebel only assures us that education in this country will never change. We have to be more ambitious and give kids more credit.