jazz education

Jazz Education

III. Jazz Education Today

A. Increased Credibility


Jazz has been increasingly “legitimized” in formal academia 



university jazz studies programs proliferated in the 1970s, ‘80s, and ‘90s  



today, jazz students study and practice side by side with their classical music counterparts in America’s most prestigious university schools of music and conservatories (e.g., Eastman, Indiana University, New England Conservatory)  



today, students can earn a bachelors, masters, or even a doctoral degree in jazz studies 

B. More than 120 Bona Fide Jazz Programs


Today there are more than 120 American colleges and universities where students can major in jazz studies 

C. Cultural Export


Jazz education has become a major cultural export with post-secondary degree programs established in Europe, Australia, and South Africa; in Canada over 160 jazz courses are available at 76 institutions with 10 of them offering undergraduate degrees in jazz studies 

D. Jazz Pedagogy Courses


Jazz pedagogy courses are included in most college curricula, available (although often not required) for music education majors 

E. Jazz and the Mainstream


Mainstream music educators no longer consider jazz a passing trend; jazz is affirmed as both a highly expressive style and an appropriate topic for serious study 

F. Research


Research has enhanced the historical, theoretical, and pedagogical knowledge of jazz 



scholarly investigations have become more prevalent in the last decade (especially in pedagogy and history) 



more professional musicians/educators are conducting and contributing formal research, expanding the knowledge base  



research has helped jazz become recognized as a legitimate art form and strengthened its position in academia 

G. Middle Schools


Jazz ensembles have become increasingly common in middle schools (and even have begun to appear in elementary schools) 

H. General Music Classes


General music students and college students in music survey courses are receiving more exposure to jazz 

I. Jazz Improvisation Instruction


Jazz improvisation (at all levels) is receiving more and more attention 

J. Performing Arts High Schools


Performing arts high schools proliferate in the US (only five in 1970, over 100 today), most with specialized courses in jazz studies (e.g., combo performance, improvisation, jazz history, etc.) 

K. Jazz Education Materials


The number of available jazz education materials, including computer programs and multi-media, continues to increase; hundreds of related materials are available on the Internet 

L. Jazz Educators Journal


JEN’s major publication, Jazz Ed, is currently published six times per year 

M. Significant Contribution


Historians, musicians, and educators consider jazz to be among America’s most significant contributions to the world of music 

N. Jazz Festivals


Hundreds of high school and collegiate jazz festivals and competitions are presented each year; numerous professional jazz festivals include an education component 

O. Contemporary Concerns


Contemporary concerns deal with the quality of the student jazz experience and the discovery of more effective ways to teach and assess curricula now in place 

P. Doctoral Degree in Jazz Studies


Three universities offer a doctoral degree in jazz studies: University of Miami, New York University, and the University of Southern California 

Q. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz


The mission of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz is to offer public school-based jazz education programs for young people around the globe, helping students develop imaginative thinking, creativity, curiosity, a positive self image, and a respect for their own and others' cultural heritage 



includes bona fide jazz conservatory (located at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music) for exceptional students 



producer of Jazz in America: The National Jazz Curriculum which provides all American public elementary, middle, and high school students the opportunity to study jazz history as part of their social studies and American history courses (an effort to teach America’s youth about its indigenous art form and develop jazz audiences for the future) 



for more information on the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, click here  

R. Berklee College of Music


Located in Boston, the Berklee College of Music was originally founded in 1945, under the name Schillinger House. Berklee has consistently produced grammy-winning artists, and is known for being the largest independent college of contemporary music in the world.  



offers approximately 650 jazz and jazz-related courses and ensembles, many highly specific including dozens of jazz improvisation courses (e.g., Improvisation in the Rock and R & B Idioms; Improvisation in the Jazz-Rock/Fusion Idioms; Improvisation on Standard Songs; Improvisation in the Jazz-Blues Idiom; Improvisation in the Latin/Jazz Idiom; etc.) 



four-year degrees are offered in Jazz Performance (instrumental and vocal), Jazz Composition, Music Production & Engineering, Film Scoring, Music Business/Management, Composition, Music Synthesis, Contemporary Writing & Production, Music Education (jazz emphasis), Songwriting, and Professional Music  



for more information on Berklee, click here 

S. University of Miami


The Unversity of Miami's Frost School of Music was established in 1926. Located in Coral Gables, Florida, with a focus on the advancement of music performance, and the creativity and scholarship of its students 



bachelor degrees are offered in Studio Music and Jazz/Instrumental, Studio Music and Jazz/Vocal, and Studio Music and Jazz/Instrumental and Performance (Double Major); masters degrees are offered in Jazz Performance/Instrumental, Jazz Performance/Vocal, Jazz Pedagogy, and Studio Jazz Writing; doctoral degrees are offered in Jazz Composition and Jazz Performance; degrees are also offered in Music Engineering, Music Business and Entertainment Industry, and Media Writing and Production besides traditional music degrees (Performance, Musicology, Music Education, etc.) 



A joint program between Instrumental Studio Music and Jazz and Music Education enables students to earn teacher certification in music education concurrent with the jazz major 



for more information on the University of Miami, click here 

T. Brubeck Institute


Located east of San Francisco on the campus of the University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA, the Brubeck Institute was establised in 2000 by alumni Dave and Iola Brubeck so as to develop jazz artists and audiences for the future 



Brubeck Institute Fellowship Program -- full scholarship, one- to two-year specialized performance program designed to facilitate the education of five to seven exceptionally gifted jazz students, ages 18-19 



Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony -- week-long, full scholarship program that provides 17 exceptional young jazz musicians (ages 15-17) the opportunity to interact with and learn from jazz masters 



Brubeck Festival -- annual, multi-day Spring music fest held in Stockton, CA; it features jazz, classical, and world music, celebrating the musical and social philosophy of Dave Brubeck 



Jazz Outreach -- Institute sponsored concerts, masterclasses, clinics, seminars, and other events in elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the country by jazz masters and up-and-coming jazz students 



The Brubeck Collection -- one of the largest personal jazz collections in the world (over 300 linear feet); contains hundreds of published and unpublished compositions, original manuscripts, recordings, photos, writings, press clippings, and memorabilia 

U. Top Graduate Schools


According to the 2002 U.S. News & World Report Survey of American Colleges and Universities, the top rated jazz graduate schools (ranked in 1997) are (in order): 



University of North Texas 



University of Rochester–Eastman School of Music (NY)  



University of Miami 



Indiana University–Bloomington 



University of Northern Colorado 



New England Conservatory of Music (MA) 



Manhattan School of Music (NY) 



University of Michigan–Ann Arbor 



Florida State University 



Northern Illinois University, University of Southern California, University of Texas–Austin (three-way tie)

Portions taken from "Jazz Studies in American Schools and Colleges: a Brief History" by Daniel Murphy originally published in Jazz Educators Journal, Vol 26, 1994, pp 34-8 

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