Jazz Pedagogy & Secondary School Music Teachers

Topics: Critical theory, Music, Education Pages: 4 (1129 words) Published: February 17, 2014
Jazz pedagogy is not a required field of study for music education majors in the state of California and many other states. Many new music teachers, employed as band directors in secondary schools, often find themselves directing a jazz ensemble with little or no personal experience in playing or improvising jazz. Jazz is one of the most important musics taught in public middle and high schools (Kelly, 2013). There are several studies (Mantie, 2009, Milkowski, 2001, Wetzel, 2007), which show that participation and interest in public school jazz band programs has continued to rise since the 1970s. Milkowski (2001) reports that, in 1960, there were 5,000 high school jazz bands in this country, and in 1980 there were more than 500,000. Students majoring in English Literature, would not earn their bachelor degree, let alone qualify for their Single Subject Teaching Credential in English, without ever studying William Shakespeare. However, in the state of California, students majoring in music education can graduate and receive their California State Single Subject Teaching Credential without ever taking a class in jazz studies. In California, music teachers are entrusted to teach music, including jazz music, to more than 2.8 million students in more than 1200 middle schools and 1300 high schools throughout the state (CA Dept. of Education 2011-12), and many of them have no experience in jazz pedagogy. Both Kelly (2013) and Milkowski (2001), agree that most music education majors enter the field with little or no jazz experience and are expected to be experts (at least in the eyes of students, administrators, and parents) without adequate support from collegiate music education. Graduating as a music education major without any course work in jazz pedagogy and no personal experience in jazz improvisation is a major weakness in the music curriculum, in the state of California. Commenting on the 1994 publication of the United States National Music Standards,...


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