Paradox, problem, and potential in secondary school jazz education
Warner, Matthew Eric
MetadataShow full item record
Several rationales for secondary school jazz education are commonly referenced in pedagogy manuals, advocacy literature, and instructional resources: jazz education can develop certain musicianship skills more effectively than traditional large ensemble classes (e.g., concert band), jazz education fosters lifelong music-making, jazz education can help build and sustain an audience for jazz, and jazz education is important because jazz holds a special place in American art and culture. The growth of jazz education, however, does not seem to have led to the expansion of the jazz audience and consumers in the USA or increased the likelihood of lifelong music making of students. Furthermore, jazz educators have not employed the kind of curricular structure and pedagogical practices necessary to take advantage of salient features of jazz in secondary music education. A close examination of the incongruence between rationales for jazz education and the practices of jazz education in secondary schools reveals certain paradoxes: student jazz participation grows, while broader jazz consumption ebbs; jazz education resources multiply, while diversity of theory and practice within jazz education diminishes; student jazz ensembles become more polished, but at the expense of developing skills that enhance students' personal music agency. I contend in this study that paradoxes such as these can be useful as a framework for problematizing as well as imagining (and ultimately enacting) possibilities. I propose that a "this-with-that" dialectic described by Jorgensen enables paradoxes to be analyzed and potentials to be discovered. I describe three paradoxes in secondary school jazz education with a twofold purpose: 1) to critique secondary school jazz education and offer recommendations based on this critique, and 2) to provide a practical example of how paradoxes in music education might be engaged by music educators. Although this project will have special significance to secondary school jazz educators because it offers a sustained critique in that area, it is my hope that this project will benefit music educators of all types as they encounter paradoxes in music education.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--Boston University