Jazz Education Performance Training: Contemporary Jazz Educators and Performers Perceptions of Performance Training in the 21st Century
Kerr, D and Hodges, GJ and Knight, B, Jazz Education Performance Training: Contemporary Jazz Educators and Performers Perceptions of Performance Training in the 21st Century, Research Into 21st Century Communities , Post Pressed, Knight, B. & Walker-Gibbs, B. & Delamoir, J. (ed), Teneriffe, pp. 249-262. ISBN 9781921214240 (2007) [Research Book Chapter]
As essential to students as technical information and counsel is the understanding of jazz acquired directly through performance - Berliner (1994, p.41)
The practical areas of a jazz focussed degree have traditionally focussed on cultivating the skills and techniques associated with the students’ respective instrumental major, repertoire, developing improvisational skills, and ensemble participation. Being an essential part of the curriculum, a variety of resources have been developed to assist in the teaching and monitoring of student development in these areas. There is also a well developed, if diverse, body of published curriculum materials for these sub-disciplines.
In contrast, there is a marked absence of a codified methodology for the implementation of practical performance opportunities as a means of achieving related learning outcomes and objectives. It is evident that while most educators agree on the importance of student performance, there is a somewhat ad-hoc approach to the conversion of these practical skills to performance environments, particularly in relation to those that occur outside of formal course examinations. Renowned jazz educator Jerry Coker explains,
Sometimes the university itself does get involved, occasionally they do. But even if they don’t, I see individually people doing those kinds of things (off-campus performances). So, whatever we can do to help them, fine. Once again, we don’t have a formal approach to that within the institution. Somebody hears about it and then they think maybe we can take a group over there and play for them. (Coker, J. pc, 2006)
Research relating to these practical performance environments is similarly lacking. However, this is not surprising considering the small amount of research published by the jazz education movement as a whole. According to Jarvors (2001, p. 13):
Descriptive or evaluative research in curricular issues applying directly to a specific jazz performance focus is strongly lacking and inconsistent with the increasing acknowledgement and inclusivity of jazz studies in the American music school.
In exploring this relatively uncharted area of jazz education this paper aims to investigate various challenges of providing students with practical performance opportunities and identify certain performance skills that may be lacking in jazz students. It also presents some of the ways in which performance training activities are being administered and then explores the responsibility of institutions in providing these opportunities.
Research Book Chapter
jazz education, jazz performance training, music education