Becoming a "Jazzperson": Moving Beyond Sounds and Tones
By: Gianfranco Tornatore
Published: 05/22/2013
Uploaded: 12/12/2017
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2013 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: collaborative inquiry, cornel west, dialogue, Education, Jazz, music

Description/Abstract: Researchers at the collegiate level have investigated and attempted to incorporate the collaborative qualities found in jazz ensembles into the classroom with the hope of producing better teachers and learners, more useful learning environments, and more responsible and responsive musical practices. Few, however, have investigated the implementation of such collaborative practices in jazz education at the secondary school level. Using "collaborative inquiry"--a systematic approach for inquiry that involves research and learning with people rather than on or about them--this study explored the collaborative interactions between students and teachers in jazz education at the secondary school level. During the fall of 2010, with eight students from the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City, a group came together to engage in the process of becoming "jazzpersons"--defined by Cornel West as an existential commitment to finding one's voice, to freedom, to thinking critically, to caring and loving, to being empathetic and compassionate, and to collaborating with others in a manner that is improvisational and humane.
The findings from this study indicate that such a group experience could lead to: the individual improvement of musical skills and knowledge; the creation of collective new skills and knowledge; the ability to express voice individually and collectively in music, the classroom, and beyond; and communication across differences with profound levels of mutual respect, care, trust, and understanding. The findings also support the need for alternative methods and conceptions of jazz education that both jazz educators and researchers may use to discover, co-create, sustain, and enrich better practices in secondary school jazz education. The implications of such findings have the potential to impact not only jazz education, but education in general, from multiple perspectives including instruction, teacher preparation, curriculum, policy, and research.