Jazz Education

Historical and Critical Perspectives

Authored by: Ken Prouty

The Routledge Companion to Jazz Studies

Print publication date:  December  2018
Online publication date:  December  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138231160
eBook ISBN: 9781315315805
Adobe ISBN:


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If jazz has been, as David Baker argued in a column in Downbeat in 1965, the “academy’s neglected stepchild,” a compelling case might be made that jazz education and pedagogy have a similar relationship with jazz scholarship and criticism. Prior to the last two decades, the vast majority of scholarly work devoted to jazz education emerged from the ranks of its own practitioners, or from researchers in allied fields like music education. What has often been missing from much of this research is any sense of the “why” of jazz education, or any real sense of critical reflection about the nature of the field. As a result, jazz education has often been viewed as a development that was largely isolated from, and often at odds with, the “real world” of jazz outside academia. My aim in this chapter is to demonstrate that jazz education must not be thought of as an isolated pursuit within the confines of academic music programs, but must be understood as being inextricably linked to broader extra-institutional jazz communities, practices, and discourses. Just as scholars within the New Jazz Studies movement have called for a greater understanding of jazz’s relationship to issues of race, gender, class, nationality, and so forth, so too have like-minded researchers recast jazz education as a site where the history and identity of the music are being continuously debated and redefined.

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