Marc Myerâ€™s exceptional site www.jazzwax.com, features a variety of interviews, reviews as well as Â Marcâ€™s own views on the state of jazz today in general. He speaks out on matters jazz education in his 28 January 2012 posting some of which I disagree with. He claims that jazz professors (at universities, presumably) â€śteach students not to worry about what audiences think and encourage them to just do your own thingâ€ť. Â He then continues to say â€śI strongly doubt that thereâ€™s a single course offered today that addresses strategies for winning over and holding onto audiencesâ€ť If this wasnâ€™t enough, he also says, â€śThe other problem is the large number of graduating musicians who have been deluded into thinking that doing your own thing leads to a decent living and that jazz is somehow superior to other music formsâ€ť.
This approach to teaching is clearly not the case- not in the UK anyway. I speak from being a jazz educator at Brunel University since 1997 as well as a tutor for eleven years of Jamey Aebersold Workshops in the UK (1996-2007).Â First of all, no right minded thinking educator attempts to â€śdeludeâ€ť students of any age or level) to believe that earning a jazz studies degree is going to lead directly and seamlessly into fulltime employment in the jazz field as a performer and/or composer. Furthermore, Myersâ€™s flippant usage of the phrase â€śjust do your own thingâ€ť referring to students not considering the need of audiences, etc, is also offhand and ill-considered. For someone who has clearly not Â entered the jazz education arena how can he even comment first hand on this? Presumably,Â Mr Myers gleans his conclusions from having observed and heard performances from these students and recent graduates, which is fair enough. However, it does not behoove Myerâ€™s case to place the blame squarely on the educatorâ€™s and programmes churning out these hopeful jazz musicians of the future.