A Case for Jazz Education
This is a seven part series of articles in which I make a case for the inclusion of jazz education studies as a prerequisite for future music teachers. I examine the history of jazz as a multicultural phenomenon, as well as the philosophies that support a comprehensive knowledge of jazz practices and jazz culture. Jazz music, as a representation of both Western European traditional musical practices and several ethnic musical practices from around the world, including music of Africa and Latin America, has no equal in its multicultural facets. Its development as an American music from the turn of the twentieth century to the present day has taken many twists and turns. The music has spawned deep roots and sprouted many branches, and it has continued to remain a consistent medium for the expression of spiritualism and musical democracy. The jazz culture has represented the battle for cultural pluralism throughout the world through the voices of its pioneers and its practitioners. In an age where the story of America is told from a multicultural perspective, a closer look at the history of this music and the people who make it may lead us to a better understanding of diversity and the quest for cultural plurality in our society. Jazz music represents more than a genre where personal expression and communication exists at the highest level; it represents American values of democracy, free speech, and equal opportunity. Jazz training should be mandatory for music teacher training programs nationwide.