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  1. #21
    Super Action Man's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Very interesting article, although, I must say, if my other subjects were half as intense as jazz band is, I'd die from overworking. Also, good luck trying to instill a passion for mathematics within me :-P.

  2. #22
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    If one is fully engaged in his education, all areas of studies can be intense (or at least absorbing).

    Edit and admission: When I was in high school, I could NOT wrap my head around algebra, trigonometry and another course whose name I cannot remember. I wasn't even partially engaged in mathematics, so my math teachers made a deal with me: if i could show minimal proficiency by the end of the term, they'd allow me to go to the band room twice per week instead of coming to class.. Otherwise, I'd fail. I never legitimately passed a mathematics test after sixth grade, and things sure weren't going to change for me in high school, so my math teachers took pity and passed me. I took foundational college math five times before i passed. (My profs dropped me before I ruined my GPA). I finally found a math course for English majors lovingly called Math For Dummies. I got a social promotion with a C- on that course, which brought my average down.

    Mathematics was an intense experience for me, but not in a beneficial way.
    Last edited by Bloo Dog; 05-04-2012 at 04:11 AM. Reason: afterthought
    The absolute real reason I continue is the free shrimp at the cocktail hour. It's the little things.--- Rich Maraday

  3. #23
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    I use a challenge system in my bands, and especially in their first year the kids get pretty competitive with it. After they have been playing a but longer the kids who are into it generally float to the top, and because the others are not even in the race with them the competition aspect starts to fizzle. Competitions will still pop up, but it usually doesn't involve all the students.

    When it works to motivate and add excitement and incentive then competition is great, but kids who are learning because they are in a competition are not learning for the right reasons. Students should be learning music (or any other subject) because they see it as valuable, enjoyable, and relevant to their lives. Meaningful musical experiences are what hooks kids, but the author of the article couldn't see that, so he latched onto the competition aspect.

  4. #24
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Action Man View Post
    Very interesting article, although, I must say, if my other subjects were half as intense as jazz band is, I'd die from overworking. Also, good luck trying to instill a passion for mathematics within me :-P.
    It's too late for you. Maybe your kids
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  5. #25
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    It's too late for you. Maybe your kids
    gosh I hope so... everyday I wish for a passion for something that wasn't music... maybe it'd make life easier, haha.
    although don't get me wrong, I love it.

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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by paulwl View Post
    If you were an American, them'd be fightin' words.
    Well I was thinking of moving to Texas. I've got a ten gallon hat and everything ..

    On topic: To be fair, many (most?) people in the UK would agree with the views expressed in the article. It all seems like "common sense", in a way. In the UK there is a much publicised move to pay teachers by results (ie the results their students obtain). That also seems plausible. Equally silly, IMO.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  7. #27
    Distinguished SOTW Member piwikiwi's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    Well I was thinking of moving to Texas. I've got a ten gallon hat and everything ..

    On topic: To be fair, many (most?) people in the UK would agree with the views expressed in the article. It all seems like "common sense", in a way. In the UK there is a much publicised move to pay teachers by results (ie the results their students obtain). That also seems plausible. Equally silly, IMO.
    I don't think it will work. Here is video about what motivates people, and money is not a very good tool to motivate people. (This study was paid for by the FED btw)
    Selmer Reference 54 tenor, Stan getz legends series 6*, Rico jazz select 3H

  8. #28
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    I've got to agree with this. That whole piece seems full of tendentious political rhetoric and fluff.
    Spend some time in a class teaching something other than music. The author's observations tend to be a little effusive, but much of what he said rings true.

    The article wasn't just about music education. It was about western education in general and how teachers of other disciplines could learn something from school jazz bands and from the teaching of jazz to young learners.

    I just spent eighteen intense months teaching English to Chinese students whose ages ranged from 18 to 45. All had scored well on the Gaokao (the Chinese test for which all students begin studying as soon as they enter school. One's grade on that test largely determines one's lot in life in China. Poor grade= admission to bad universities and colleges. Good grade= admission to good universities+ higher-paying jobs after graduation). Older students scored well on all CETs (another test of proficiency in English for admission to universities). Despite their apparent academic achievements, many of them could not carry on a conversation in English beyond the canned responses that they had been taught through the years.

    In both corporate training and in my Oral English classes, I emphasized spontaneity. I threw the Chinese method books away as soon as I arrived at the first session. I stressed interaction among the speakers. While these students derived almost nothing from the previous Chinese English teachers, they excelled in my classes and seminars for one simple reason: they interacted with each other. They were encouraged to take chances (something which the author mentioned) They spoke English not for a grade, not for approval, not for a better job. They spoke English just for the fun of it. They interacted. They communicated. They responded to each other's extemporaneous expression in much the same way in which jazz musicians communicate and respond to each other. These kids in the class room and the adult students in the corporate classes had a blast in my class because they were allowed to make mistakes. (In my upper-classman writing classes, I used a similar written approach to stimulate interaction and creativity).

    I have used the same method in both college and university classes since I first began teaching in China. (This latest gig was my first at corporate training). Why do I use this method? Because the Chinese method of teaching the English language does not produce a functional speaker. Chinese educators know this too, though they will admit it only in confidence. Though collaborative learning is now encouraged in Chinese schools, both Chinese students and teachers cannot get the Gaokao out of their heads. Everyone strives for uniformity and conformity. Nobody wants to be a zebra in a herd (flock?) of penguins.

    The Gaokao is the Mother of All Standardized Tests. It was formulated about 14-1500 years ago during the Sui Dynasty to create equal opportunity for all people--- farmers, laborers, (i.e., the common man)--- to receive an education. The knowledge to be acquired for passing the test and gaining access to privileges formerly reserved for the Chinese elite was straightforward and available to all who asked.

    The Gaokao (translated high test) system produced people from all walks of life who were treasure chests of information. The problem with this system (which exists today) is that it produces scholars who possess no creativity and no urge to be creative. The fear of making a mistake of any kind is so engrained in the Chinese student that even as adults, they tend to avoid situations in which they may be scrutinized and found to have made a mistake. Even facile English speakers avoid speaking English to another Chinese, and often, he will show tremendous anxiety when speaking to an American professor. The author of the cited article, I think, was trying to make a similar point. Students in other disciplines in America just aren't interacting, studying for the joy of learning, and sharing what they have learned with others for various reasons. (On the college level, it is because of the increasingly competitive atmosphere).

    (Unfortunately, this is fear of failure has NOT made its way onto the streets of China where automobile accidents are tragically common).

    I believe that one of the failures of the American Educational system is that too many local systems teach for the ACT and SAT. In some communities, American students are required to take yet another test in order to graduate from high school because they missed a lot due to the pressure on the teachers for them to get the students to pass a final test. America has created its own Gaokao educational system, and it is stifling creativity.

    Jazz is freedom.


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  9. #29
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian paulwl's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    School itself has become about competition. It had to happen.

    Another thing that had to happen, after competing became its own reward, is that lots of people have tuned out. They don't want to compete, they want something of meaning in itself. These are the people often called muzzy-headed cappuccino-serving liberal-arts hippie m*#!!erf*¢%ers.

    And that's the thing about competitive people. In their world, anyone who doesn't play the game is a loser, a selfish p&!¢%, a burden on society and an object for contempt.

    Quote Originally Posted by piwikiwi
    money is not a very good tool to motivate people.
    That's why historically, we have to put a lot of pressure on people to be motivated only by money. Right up to the point where you either put money first or starve.

    Money has become a work ethic, a morality, a lifestyle. But ironically enough, without all that help from society, money couldn't...compete.
    Jazz = a man with a $5,000 horn driving a $500 car to a $50 gig.
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  10. #30

    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    I get his point, but it's a wee bit short sighted. As a classroom teacher (and a damned good one), I have to point out that students will more easily get behind a subject like music than they will a subject like History. It teach using an experiential-based system. I can't claim to be able to inspire students about the Sepoy Rebellion, but I can at least get them thinking about history and why it is relevant. I am NOT able to reach all of them, because some simply have no acumen for the subject. The difference with music is that the student nearly always has at least some interest in the subject. I agree that the old-fashioned way of teaching needs to adapt, but this article misplaces too much of the responsibility on the teacher and fails to acknowledge the inherent differences between artistic electives and core academics. That's a shame because, as usual, all the blame is placed on the teachers, and that's not right.
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  11. #31
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloo Dog View Post
    Spend some time in a class teaching something other than music. The author's observations tend to be a little effusive, but much of what he said rings true. ]
    Yeah, I did that. It doesn't, for me. It sounds like the observations of someone who has precisely NO experience of teaching in compulsory education. Not that that in itself means he is wrong.

    BTW, Bloo Dog, I read both your posts and it seems you have thought carefully about what you are doing for your students. But your intent and procedures are quite different from what Dr Klemm would recommend, I think. At least to judge from this article. In fact, in some aspects, your ideas seem completely opposed. Dr Klemm saying "Jazz/Education Is Freedom!!!!!"? I don't think so.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

  12. #32
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloo Dog View Post
    Prediction: fully eighty percent of the respondents to this thread will not read my post solely because of its length and because it will require too much time and effort to read.
    Well, hey Bloo Dog, I guess I'm part of the 20% who did read your whole post (and the ones that followed as well). I was able and willing to do that because you have obviously practiced writing. You know how to use topic sentences, paragraphs, and grammar. So what you write is intelligible. Unlike some posts with countless run-on sentences, no paragraphs(!), and no logical train of thought. Those are the posts I never get through.

    Anyway, I think there are some good points in that article. And the best one is what you have pointed out here. The need to practice and study is essential to any learning process. But of course a teacher can only inspire the student to practice; the student has to put in the time and do it.

    If there is a flaw in the article, it would appear that the author has overlooked the fact that music education is not mandatory, and I suspect it attracts those who are motivated to learn music (and maybe motivated in general--I bet many of them are good students in the standard curriculum as well). Those who aren't motivated will be weeded out fairly quickly. But I do think there should maybe be more emphasis on DOING, both in and out of the classroom, rather than watching and listening to a teacher lecture. Even the simple act of taking notes during a lecture will help a student learn and retain more of the subject matter. So getting the students engaged in some sort of hands-on process would be useful, imo.

    One thing for sure; education is a challenging pursuit and teachers are way, way undervalued, at least in the U.S. (I don't know if that's as true in other countries).

  13. #33
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Not only are teachers (especially public school teachers) not respected, but they are vilified in the media and the practice of their profession is a political football. They're seen as being not only incompetent, but lazy. Even though it's been shown time and time again that teachers have relatively little control over the performance of their students (there's this thing called free will, and students are quite proficient at exercising their free will), the powers that be want to base teacher's wages on student performance. It's the only job where a willing worker is held responsible for the quality of the material with which they work.

    Since I have experience at teaching other subjects than music (remedial math, 'typing', business applications, 1st grade reading), I am confident in saying that I teach every subject using the same approach I do in my music classes---and that approach is remarkably similar to what Bloo Dog has put forth. (yeah I read his entire post, too).
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  14. #34
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    The root of most problems in American education can be found in the home. I have taught in private schools where the kids' parents feel as though their kid is entitled to clown around all day because they paid a lot of their money for them to do so. Then, when the kid can't get into Harvard or even the Bunkie, Louisiana School of Hair Dressing and Dermagraphics, they blame the teachers. I understand what you're saying, Hakukani. I hate it. I couldn't do what you do.

    And BayViewSax, good for you that you aren't afraid to say that you're a damned good teacher. Just don't let the system beat you down to the point that you begin to doubt yourself.

    It is so true that the human free will often defeats itself. This is the part of education which needs to be addressed in education from DAY ONE, with Day One being the moment of birth. I realize that this too much to ask of most parents, but a lot of Japanese parents who wish for their children to play violin start before Day One by listening to violin music during gestation in the hope that the unborn child will be influenced by it. (Is this still part of the Suzuki method?).

    JL, you raise a good point that music education is not mandatory, so those who like to play and practice will gravitate toward it and probably excel. As I said before, music was, for me, a refuge from high school math class. The band teacher was okay with my suspiciously frequent appearances in the band room and my sitting in with the class and playing around with instruments that nobody wanted to play. (In New Orleans, when I was a kid, the Orleans Parish Department of Education put a musical instrument in the hands of every kid who wanted one. It was not uncommon to have high school marching bands consisting of 150-200 kids or more! Those kids may have had new musical instruments, but their uniforms may have been worn by their grandparents at one point).

    But yeah, JL, you raise a good point about music not being mandatory. Turning kids on to music or basketball or football isn't quite the challenge that the math teacher faces. Even if I could perform well in math class, I don't think I would want to teach it, especially to uninspired, unmotivated students. I have no problems stating that I am one h3ll of an English teacher. That's on my good days. On my bad days, I feel like throwing myself in front of a bus after spending too much time trying to teach students to recognize a noun and a verb, only to find the next day that they didn't retain one thing that was discussed in class and what they created on their own on the day before.

    Many European systems have dual systems (perhaps this is the wrong term). One is an academic system which allows those with an academic bent to study for a traditional academic degree. Those who are not academically-inclined attend trade schools. I know that Tunisia, a North African Arab nation that was once a colony of France has such a system that allows students to make that decision before entering high school. The high school prepares them for either a professional degree, an academic degree, or a trade certification. Perhaps this is the route which American Education should take. There's nothing wrong with passing students who can produce no more than basic sentences in English as long as they can work a job that does not require more than basic writing skills in order to make a living at it. (I hate saying that. Please--- somebody shoot me!).

    Perhaps that's the easy way out. I don't know. Unfortunately, in America, many students need an entertainment component in their class room regimen; otherwise, they just wont engage themselves. Thirty years ago, educators were commenting how America had become a visual society. (Hakukani probably knows who first proposed that and can discuss it more intelligently than I). I think that what we're seeing in student learning behavior now (in America, at least) is a manifestation and an extension of that observation. Education for education's sake may become a thing of the past. (That's already being said by a lot of people who can't get jobs with their Liberal Arts degrees).

    The author of the article was so enthusiastic about his experience with young musicians that he proposes that every teacher embrace the techniques that he witnessed the band directors employ in class. There's a flaw in that, and some of them have been pointed out in this discussion. The bottom line is that teachers have to motivate the students to engage themselves and (somehow) become stimulated by every challenge in the current traditional western school systems. Back to jazz and education: since we now have the computer, it is possible to make almost any subject interactive as well as entertaining and rewarding. This technology just may save education and allow the author's dream for education to come true. We have just begun to crack that nut.

    Caveat: My proposition that computer technology may further the cause of education does not necessarily mean that I embrace it. When I was in primary school, we wrote with fountain pens, and we filled them from an ink well that was attached to the desk. I still believe in learning by rote procedure. That's why I cannot improvise in the key of Db Major. I'm still practicing the key of Eb major.
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  15. #35
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    Not only are teachers (especially public school teachers) not respected, but they are vilified in the media and the practice of their profession is a political football.
    What I want to know is just how in h3ll can any school board, superintendent of schools, and state legislator expect ANY teacher to even want to teach under those conditions. In my neck of the U.S., the county school system has eliminated about 1,000 teaching positions during the past three or four years.

    Hakukani, if you get a chance to take a sabbatical for a year, go teach in China at an upper-tier Chinese university. You'll find it refreshing.
    The absolute real reason I continue is the free shrimp at the cocktail hour. It's the little things.--- Rich Maraday

  16. #36
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    Smile Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by RootyTootoot View Post
    Dr Klemm saying "Jazz/Education Is Freedom!!!!!"? I don't think so.
    I said that, and I refuse to clarify the remark on the grounds that I wish to appear intellectually enigmatic (and vice versa, if there's a difference!).
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  17. #37
    SOTW Administrator hakukani's Avatar
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Bloo Dog, I agree that some things just must be memorized, and that it's difficult to make memorizing fun. However, a good teacher can manage that by cleverly disguising the rote exercise as a game of some sort. Also, learning from one's peers (cooperative learning) works well.

    Pre-literate societies memorized things by chants, that is, by rhythm or song. It's amazingly effective (after all, who doesn't know 'conjunction junction, what's my function'). Also, every lesson should engage learners from all three domains of learning--cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. There's too much emphasis on cognition in our society.

    The present professional development that public school teachers have had to go through in the last few years can be effective in making a poorly prepared teacher into an adequate teacher. Unfortunately, the same Professional development can turn a creative teacher into---an adequate teacher.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

  18. #38
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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bloo Dog View Post
    I said that, and I refuse to clarify the remark on the grounds that I wish to appear intellectually enigmatic (and vice versa, if there's a difference!).
    Sigh.

    I know you did. He wouldn't. This is an example of your views and the Dr's views on education being very different. IMO.
    "The sound of tireless voices is the price we pay for the right to hear the music of our own opinions."

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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by hakukani View Post
    ...every lesson should engage learners from all three domains of learning--cognitive, affective, and psychomotor. There's too much emphasis on cognition in our society..
    Hey, that's what I was trying to say! I just didn't have the vocabulary to say it so concisely.

    I taught kayaking for many years, and I also trained kayaking instructors. Kayaking is hardly an intellectual pursuit, but a lot of people want to approach it that way, and a lot instructors spend hours lecturing/explaining instead of getting on the ^&% water and helping the students learn by doing.

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    Default Re: What All Teachers Should Learn from Jazz-band Teachers

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post
    Hey, that's what I was trying to say! I just didn't have the vocabulary to say it so concisely.

    I taught kayaking for many years, and I also trained kayaking instructors. Kayaking is hardly an intellectual pursuit, but a lot of people want to approach it that way, and a lot instructors spend hours lecturing/explaining instead of getting on the ^&% water and helping the students learn by doing.
    My approach is less 'sage on the stage' as the 'guide on the side'. However, when administration comes through with their checklists, they are really disappointed to see the kids doing stuff, and the teacher just prompting. Administrators are tough to educate.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
    Sax player theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- .010" at the tip)
    "Free jazz is the vegemite of the musical world. It's an acquired taste."-J. Jacques

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