Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What my students are doing RIGHT:

Several weeks ago, a YouTube video clip of Branford Marsalis was circulating entitled, "Branford's Take On Students Today".  You can see this clip by clicking here.  Branford is clearly an instigator who likes to stir the pot by taking a strong controversial stance, thereby forcing people to think and respond.  Although there are certainly nuggets of truth in his rant, I don't share the entirely negative viewpoint he has chosen to project.

Lately, my students have genuinely impressed me with their self-initiative.  Here is a short list things I have noticed them doing RIGHT:
  • Every night, a group of 4 or 5 are getting together to learn and review standard jazz repertoire.  When they don't have a complete rhythm section, they use Jamie Aebersold play-a-long CDs.
  • They are listening.  I see them with stacks of CDs they have signed out from the library.  Many are even using the interlibrary loan system to obtain more obscure material that isn't in our university's collection.
  • I hear them talking with one another about recordings; expressing thoughtful, intriguing opinions.
  • They are learning recorded solos.  Some are notating their chosen solos, others are intentionally skipping the step of writing it down.  Either way, they are immersing themselves in the sounds, styles and nuances of the masters.
  • They are making the trek to Hartford (and beyond) to attend concerts and participate in organized jam sessions.

This current crop of students is a truly committed bunch.  Their enthusiasm and love for the music is contagious and our relationship is becoming more and more reciprocal, as I find myself learning from them.

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