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Thinking about Jazz Education in Canada: A Comparative Case Study of Collegiate Educators regarding Pedagogy, Administration, and the Future of Jazz Education

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2011
Dissertation
Author: J. Michael Kearns
Abstract:
This qualitative study captured the stories of four full-time professors and administrators of jazz, and explored how their views related to their practice. The four cases are Paul Read at the University of Toronto, Trish Colter at Humber College, Gordon Foote at McGill University, and Andrew Homzy at Concordia University. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted prior to observing each participant during a week of teaching. A third semi-structured interview followed and this set of questions was unique to each case. Three additional jazz educators in academia completed the first two interviews and this data served as a source of triangulation. Together the educators represented the seven Canadian schools that granted undergraduate degrees in jazz studies in 2005. Data consisted of interview and observation transcriptions, field notes, journals, memos, survey instruments, and pedagogical documents. Categories and themes emerged through a two-tier emergent coding scheme. The cases shared several categories: philosophy and practice of jazz education, the evolution of jazz studies, views on administration, and challenges to jazz education. In addition, each case described the struggles and success of a jazz program through the eyes of a founding faculty member. Several trends are suggested in the cross-case analysis that are important for the future of Canada's jazz education. They include the rapid growth of jazz education, which is at odds with the nation's diminishing artistic community, and an increasingly business-like approach to higher education. Possible solutions are volunteered. A pilot study informed this research. Credibility was strengthened by member checks, transferability was enhanced through rich description and multiple cases, dependability was increased by triangulation and an audit trail, and confirmability was enhanced by the use of an independent coder.

3 Bowman (1988) reviewed the doctoral research on jazz improvisation pedagogy and concluded that more research was needed, e.g., more investigation of educators and their methods of teaching improvisation in colleges and universities. Baker (1989, p. ix) observed that since the late 1970s, jazz education has been “old enough to afford us the psychic and temporal distance to begin assessing which techniques work and which don’t, leading us to an examination of methodology as well as content.” In a study that addressed Canadian jazz education, Louth (2004) interviewed four jazz educators in post- secondary institutions on how they reconcile their informal jazz education with their current position in academe. Louth (p. 287) recommended that additional case studies of jazz educators be undertaken to increase the knowledge of the informal learning strategies in collegiate jazz study and that future research should focus on contextual learning in the schools. Louth believed that this research is now possible because jazz education has become part of the academic tradition in Canada and the United States. Jazz Pedagogy When jazz was accepted as art music and when collegiate jazz study proliferated across the United States in the 1970s through the 1990s (Jazz in America, n.d.), jazz education had to reconcile new methods of instruction and a formal teaching environment with a jazz tradition that had “methods and cultural behaviors arising from the jazz community” (Prouty, 2002, p. 331). The jazz pedagogy literature provides suggestions for future research about jazz education. Bowman (1988) recommended studying the teaching methods and personal learning strategies of accomplished jazz musicians to inform jazz studies. Porter (1989, p. 137) commented that teaching methods in jazz education “have been borrowed from other types of music education, often

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

4 inappropriately.” Roberts (1993, p. 138) believed that interviewing [theory] and observing [practice] are “bound together” and that interviews inform the researcher about what to watch for and observations prompt questions for the interviews. Herzig (1995, 1997, p. 192) hypothesized that a canonization of the jazz tradition will stifle creativity and individuality. She (1997, p. 186) recommended more research on identifying effective teaching methods and suggested observing and interviewing educators to compare their lessons with their statements of belief for consistency. Beale (2000), Bresler (1994/1995), and Madura (2000) emphasized that a combination of theory and practice is an important direction for jazz pedagogy and essential for understanding music learning. The only peer reviewed research to date that examines the views and practice of music educators, through interviews and observations, is Wong’s multiple case study (2005). This study involved 10 primary/elementary music teachers from Vancouver and Hong Kong. Prouty (2002) researched the relationship of the jazz community and jazz education at the post-secondary level by qualitatively examining the jazz curriculum of three universities in the Pittsburgh area, interviewing the teachers who work there, and relating this information to his own experiences in jazz education. Of particular interest to this study was his conclusion (pp. 330-331) that jazz educators are conflicted because they must teach a performance practice that is based on tradition and stylistic norms while they simultaneously encourage their students to find a unique voice that breaks from tradition. Herzig (1995) also noted this dilemma. Prouty (p. iii) remarked that pedagogical conflicts arise from the dichotomies prevalent in jazz education: learning through oral/aural means or written sources; stressing creative improvisation or

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

5 improvisation true to performance practice; focusing on individual achievement or group interaction; and traditional, informal education, or institutional, formal education. Louth (2004, p. 281) stated that some institutions are accused of supporting a jazz canon that ends about 1960, thereby limiting the instruction of improvisation methods and styles to those existing before this time. Researchers in jazz articulate that the views of jazz educators need to be heard to better understand these conflicts, dichotomies, and canons. Jazz Administrators in Higher Education Both jazz pedagogy and jazz curriculum are two current topics in the literature (Allen 1995; Beale, 2000, 2001; Berliner, 1994; Cartwright, 1995; Collier, 1994, 2010, July, n.d.; Davis, 2002; Gabbard, 1995; Hamel, 2010/2011; Herzig, 1995, 1997, 1998; Javors, 1999/2000; Leavell, 1997; Letson, 2010; Louth, 2004; Prouty, 2002; Sarath, 1999; Walker, 2004; Watson; 2010; Wehr-Flowers, 2006). Studies that have addressed the views of jazz administrators on the topics of jazz pedagogy and jazz curriculum have tended to be from the United States (Letson, 2010; Mason; 2005; Prouty, 2002). Some researchers have chosen to use surveys to collect data instead of interviewing the jazz administrators (Day, 1992; Fischer, 1999). Two Canadian studies, i.e., Elliott (1983) and Brenan (2005), have focused on the views of music administrators and only Brenan interviewed the chairs of the jazz study departments by telephone or email. Jazz department chairs have valuable experiences to share because as administrators they must be advocates for jazz in the institution and in the community. Although jazz education has been accepted in academe, it is not always granted equal status or equal financial support in comparison to the other music departments (Beale, 2000; Brown, 1988; Buium, 2003; Davis, 2002; Dobbins, 1988; Mason, 2005; Porter, 1989; Prouty, 2002, p.

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

6 324). Louth (2004, p. 288), for one, recommended that future research document the perspectives of administrators of jazz programs. Interviews of jazz department administrators can give some much needed insight into the pedagogy, curriculum, and advocacy of jazz programs in Canada because administrators are ultimately responsible for what is and is not included in a jazz education. Future of Jazz Education By knowing the past, dealing with the dichotomies of the present, and anticipating the future, jazz educators can make informed decisions that will affect the direction of jazz studies. Opinions on the future of jazz education tend to be anecdotal without reference to the literature and often address faculty diversity and pedagogical techniques. Several studies have strengthened their predictions with reference to the literature and current trends in jazz education (Collier, 2010, July; Davis, 2002; Herzig, 1998; McDaniel, 1993; Taylor, 2002). Jazz educators and researchers should consider informed predictions to assist them in anticipating the future of jazz education, new interests in music students and our culture in general, and changes in the direction of jazz performance. This will assist post-secondary jazz education in maintaining (a) academic and government support, (b) student interest and interaction, (c) a connection with contemporary musical culture, and (d) innovation in jazz performance. The personal accounts of jazz educators and administrators, their experiences in Canadian colleges and universities, their views on jazz pedagogy, and their thoughts on the future of jazz in higher education are important considerations for Canadian music education. This study will look at the lives and views of seven collegiate educators, and will present four in individual case studies to analyze the relation of their views and

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

7 practice. In this way, seven Canadian post secondary institutions that offer undergraduate degrees in jazz studies are represented in this study. As such, the present project fills some important gaps in the research literature on Canadian jazz education. Literature Review To understand the depth of the problem, the literature that addresses the jazz educator’s experience in higher education, that addresses the pedagogy and curriculum of jazz education, and that addresses the future of jazz education will be reviewed. It is important to first comment on the “Is-Ought” fallacy discussed by Davis (1997). Generally, an “is” statement is considered to be factual and an “ought” statement is considered to be an expressed judgment. Davis emphasized that although “ought” statements “may claim to be based on or describe a natural situation…they are not in themselves empirically founded.” It is possible to move from an “is” to an “ought” if it is logical and defended but often the “is” is not factual and the reality is an “ought-ought” statement. Davis alerts us to the need for extreme care in distinguishing between statements that are based on facts, data, or beliefs. With this in mind, it should be noted that much of the literature reviewed is oriented towards what ought to be or normative statements, rather than what is or descriptive statements. Every effort has been made to clarify what is fact and what is opinion and to identify any “Is-Ought” fallacies. The Emergence of Collegiate Jazz Education Before jazz education could start in Canada, an interest in jazz would have to be established in the Canadian culture. The literature in this section pertains to the development of a standardized jazz methodology, the beginnings of institutional jazz

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

8 education in the United States and Canada, and the relationship of jazz education and jazz culture. Beginnings of American jazz education. In the United States around 1917, coinciding with the beginnings of music recording, the first conservatory-trained musicians began to enter the jazz scene. In the 1930s, books on jazz methods became available along with studio instruction in the big cities (Murphy, 1994). Cutting sessions [competitions of virtuosic improvisation] and jam sessions [“house” rhythm sections that accompanied any number of soloists] were the first organized group-education, preceding today’s master classes. Jazz recordings at the time were the equivalent of the first method books, providing an accessible model of jazz-style to emulate (Murphy, 1994). The training of African-American service musicians at the Great Lakes Naval Base in Illinois, by Len Bowden between 1942 and 1945, was “one of the birthplaces of formal jazz pedagogy” (Murphy, 1994, p. 35). Murphy wrote that Bowden’s curriculum of ensemble experience, arranging, improvisation, and rehearsal techniques is still fundamental today. Jazz education was accepted in American universities and colleges only after academe conceded that the technical proficiency, harmonic complexity, and reliance on classical form and harmony of post-swing jazz (post 1945) made jazz comparable to western art music and palatable to the institution (Beale, 2000; Louth, 2004; Nisensen, 1997; Prouty, 2002). Many historians mark the beginning of jazz education as the establishment of curricular activities, most notably, at North Texas State College in 1942 (Joyner, n.d.) and the Schillinger House of Music in Boston in 1945 (Berliner, 1994; Jazz in America, n.d.; Prouty, 2002). In 1947, North Texas State College, which would

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

9 become the University of North Texas, offered the first post-secondary jazz degree (Porter, 1989). This was a dance band program that was popular with musicians who were returning to civilian life and were eligible for tuition assistance under the G.I. Bill (Joyner, n.d.; Prouty, 2002). Prouty (2002, p. 127) wrote that before jazz could nationally enter the academy, jazz pedagogy had to become standardized in order to teach a large number of students. 1

A standard jazz methodology. Prouty (pp. 133-134) stated that in the 1920s a standard methodology for improvisation started with jazz performers who utilized abstract musical structures, most notably Coleman Hawkins. By jazz artists basing their improvisations on the song’s chord structure rather than the melody, theoretical knowledge became a source of improvisational material. Berliner (1994, p. 161) attributed the initial interest in using scales to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. In order to lengthen and elaborate their phrases, they combined chord tones with additional notes. George Russell’s The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization (1959) was an influential publication for jazz theory, which would influence improvisers to solo in a more linear fashion by playing the appropriate mode of the Lydian scale over a given chord (Prouty, 2002, pp. 136-138). 2

David Baker, who studied and performed with George Russell, first taught the Lydian chromatic concept to Jamey Aebersold (Beach, 1991). Baker, Coker, and Aebersold started an improvisational trend where soloists would perform scales starting on the root

1 North Texas State College became the University of North Texas (UNT) in 1988 and the Schillinger House of Music became Berklee College of Music in 1973 (“Jazz in America,” n.d.; Prouty, 2002). 2 Russell first published this theory in a pamphlet in 1953 (Prouty, 2002).

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

10 of the corresponding chord. Their texts and Aebersold’s play-a-along recordings would simplify and popularize Russell’s chord/scale concept, creating a unified theoretical approach that could be incorporated into classroom settings (Glawischnig, 1996). In the 1960s with the tools of large-scale jazz instruction available, the academic community continued to oppose the inclusion of jazz in the academy (Davis, 2002; Dobbins, 1988; Herzig, 1998; Lopez, 2002; Prouty, 2002). In addition to opposition from outside the field of jazz education, Prouty remarks that from the outset, post-secondary jazz education had inherent conflicts as it struggled to integrate a traditional apprentice-like education with the methods and structures of academe. Birth of institutional jazz education. While this paper focuses on collegiate jazz education, this must be preceded by a discussion of its emergence from high school education. Student-directed jazz ensembles or dance bands started at the secondary school level in the United States as an informal adjunct to the concert band movement of the 1920s (Elliott, 1985; Murphy, 1994). In the United States during the 1960s several factors influenced the rapid development of the stage band movement in secondary schools: (a) ex-service musicians from WWII became music teachers, (b) published arrangements for big band became more sophisticated, and (c) competitive festivals and commercialization became viable. This stage band movement developed more slowly in colleges and universities and often required student pressure on college administration before stage bands were included in college curricula (Elliott, 1985; Murphy 1994). Lopes (2002, p. 237) believed that the movement to include jazz education in college curricula began earlier in the 1950s when music conservatories for jazz were established, such as the Advanced School of Contemporary

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

11 Music in Toronto. Two changes strengthened the jazz education movement: in 1958, two annual collegiate jazz festivals began in the United States; and in 1959, the National Stage Band Camps were established. Louth (2004, p. 23) provided a slightly different opinion and stated that the initiation and growth of jazz studies in the United States began in 1956, with the endorsement of jazz studies by the Music Educators’ National Conference. Several events accelerated the acceptance of jazz education in the United States and in turn influenced Canadian educators: (a) recommendations of the Yale Seminar (1963), (b) declarations of the Tanglewood Symposium (1967), (c) inauguration of the National Association of Jazz Educators (1968), and (d) the Goals and Objectives Project of the Music Educators National Conference (1969) (Elliott, 1985; Lopes, 2002; Prouty, 2002). The National Association of Jazz Educators was founded with the goal of pooling resources, setting standards, authenticating materials, and furthering jazz education in general (Murphy, 1994). Lopes (2002, p. 238) believed that jazz education was secured in public and post-secondary education with the formation of the National Association of Jazz Educators. Prouty (2002, p. 127, 140, 145, 148) offered more reasons why the acceptance of jazz education was accelerated. The civil rights movement of the 1960s promoted the history and culture of American minority groups (Berliner, 1994, p. 56). The academic community realized that jazz education used familiar methodologies of large-scale instruction. Jazz history courses created interest and familiarization with jazz and were already being taught in some institutions. The last reason was there were economic benefits for universities, evidenced by the success of early jazz degree programs.

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

12 Jazz in Canada. I would like to briefly discuss the history of jazz in Canada before launching into a discussion of our nation’s jazz education. Miller (2003, pp. C10-C11) wrote that Canada’s history in jazz dates back to 1914 when the Creole Band with Freddie Keppard performed in western Canada. Another key figure in American jazz history that performed sporadically in Vancouver between 1919 and 1921 was Jelly Roll Morton. Even the first song recorded by the Original Dixieland Jazz Band in 1917, “Darktown Strutters’ Ball,” was written by the Canadian Shelton Brooks. Since its beginnings in the United States, jazz has been part of the Canadian music scene. Because of the large distances between major cities and given that the majority of Canada’s population was situated along the United States border, American bands were more likely to make brief appearances in Canada and return rather than undertake extensive tours. This led to distinct, regional, and geographically isolated jazz scenes in Canada. In general, Vancouver, Toronto, and Montréal became distinct jazz centers (Gervais, 1981; Leive, 2002; Louth, 2004; Miller, 1981, 1982a, 2003; Smith, 1981). Jazz education is a different story. It did not migrate north as quickly from the United States. Canadian jazz education. Elliott (1985, p. 17) believed that Canadian jazz education was predominantly an “American movement transplanted and assimilated.” Canadian jazz education started in the 1970s, approximately 10 years later than in the United States (Louth, 2004, p. 24). Before this time, the national reconstruction of Canada after World War II created an opportunity for educational change that allowed an unprecedented growth of music education, especially instrumental music (Bray, Green, and Vogan, n.d.). The slower

THINKING ABOUT JAZZ EDUCATION IN CANADA

13 growth of jazz education in Canada is blamed on this late introduction of instrumental music education after World War II, whereas the concert band movement was already strong in the United States in the 1960s (Elliott, 1983, 1985). Several early developments in Canadian jazz education are: (a) the growth of the dance band movement as a supplementary activity to the concert band, in the 1950s and 1960s; (b) an initial support for jazz by the Canada Council for the Arts in 1957; (c) subsequent grants for Canadian jazz musicians to study with jazz masters, often abroad, in the 1960s; and (d) Canadian jazz educators emerging from professional big bands, such as bandleader Phil Nimmons. In the late 1960s, Nimmons provided informal jazz education in the public schools through open rehearsals (“The Canada Council for the Arts,” 2003; Elliott, 1985; Miller, 1987). Elliott (1985) believed that most Canadian music educators at this time were too busy introducing new string programs, establishing the practice of concert bands, and maintaining the tradition of choral music to pay much attention to jazz education. Another hindrance to the success of jazz education was the “youthfulness of Canadian music teacher education and the difficulty of coordinating and assessing new developments across a vast decentralized system” (Elliott, 1985, p. 20). Elliott (1985, p. 21) summarized that there was little or no attention in Canada’s music education periodicals to jazz education from 1965-1985. He criticized Canadian music education authorities for never taking a public position on the role of jazz in music education. Still after 1970, interest in jazz education grew. It became part of music education in public schools and music educators emerged who were jazz specialists, like Paul Read (Elliott, 1985; Green & Vogan, 1991). The growth of stage bands at the high school level created a demand for jazz studies in colleges and universities. This was

Full document contains 429 pages
Abstract: This qualitative study captured the stories of four full-time professors and administrators of jazz, and explored how their views related to their practice. The four cases are Paul Read at the University of Toronto, Trish Colter at Humber College, Gordon Foote at McGill University, and Andrew Homzy at Concordia University. Two semi-structured interviews were conducted prior to observing each participant during a week of teaching. A third semi-structured interview followed and this set of questions was unique to each case. Three additional jazz educators in academia completed the first two interviews and this data served as a source of triangulation. Together the educators represented the seven Canadian schools that granted undergraduate degrees in jazz studies in 2005. Data consisted of interview and observation transcriptions, field notes, journals, memos, survey instruments, and pedagogical documents. Categories and themes emerged through a two-tier emergent coding scheme. The cases shared several categories: philosophy and practice of jazz education, the evolution of jazz studies, views on administration, and challenges to jazz education. In addition, each case described the struggles and success of a jazz program through the eyes of a founding faculty member. Several trends are suggested in the cross-case analysis that are important for the future of Canada's jazz education. They include the rapid growth of jazz education, which is at odds with the nation's diminishing artistic community, and an increasingly business-like approach to higher education. Possible solutions are volunteered. A pilot study informed this research. Credibility was strengthened by member checks, transferability was enhanced through rich description and multiple cases, dependability was increased by triangulation and an audit trail, and confirmability was enhanced by the use of an independent coder.