REPORT SCOTTISH JAZZ FEDERATION CONFERENCE ON JAZZ EDUCATION 31 AUGUST 2012 ROYAL CONSERVATOIRE OF SCOTLAND, GLASGOW
Introduction This one day event was the first ever structured conference open to all jazz and other music educators in Scotland. It was prompted by the publication in 2011 of the full scale Review of Jazz Education in Scotland, commissioned by SJF, which ended with a set of proposals for a strategy for SJF to undertake development work in jazz education over the next decade. The conference - an initial experiment to test proposals contained in the strategy and particularly to assess the need for a regular forum for educators - was seen as part of Phase 2 of the SJFâ€™s education strategy (Phase 1 being the Review itself). Tied in with planning and running the conference was the collection of further detail on educators and their activities around the country - the first steps on creating a wider database to use for networking and referral. The conference, like the Review, was funded by Creative Scotland through the Youth Music Initiative and by income from the event generated by SJF. Attendees The conference was attended by a total of 51 people, including four guest speakers and the organising team engaged by SJF (SJF Director Cathie Rae, Becc Sanderson, Nod Knowles and conference facilitator Paul Pinson). A full list of attendees is appended to this report (Appendix 1). The event was successful in achieving the aim of attracting a very wide spectrum of people with a variety of educational and musical experience. Attendees ranged from instrumental services personnel to conservatoire and university staff, to class music teachers, youth jazz orchestra leaders and professional jazz musicians. Their levels and types of experience also represented the widest possible spread of interest, from long-term specialist jazz educators to class music teachers or instrumental tutors just beginning their exploration of jazz teaching techniques. Between them the attendees had experience of education work covering all age groups from the earliest years to adult life-long learners. The four guest speakers - Raymond Macdonald and Richard Ingham from Scotland, Erling Aksdal from Norway and Gerry Godley from Ireland - were chosen for their ability to illuminate issues in jazz education and stimulate debate from a number of perspectives. All speakers also participated fully in discussion and debate throughout the day. Operating as the facilitator for the day, Paul Pinsonâ€™s role as an objective outsider was to ensure that the programme flowed as well as possible and that discussion and debate were open and productive.
Programme The programme for the conference was designed as an introduction to the issues facing the development of jazz education in its various aspects and in the context of music education in Scotland. The purpose of this first ever conference was specifically to prompt the jazz education constituency to think about what it needs and what it may be able to achieve through collective action and with the collaboration and support of SJF. On this first occasion, the conference was not aiming to focus on specific issues of pedagogy and educational methodology (which might well be subjects for future events if the constituency confirmed a need) but rather to prompt discussion and reflection on the needs of the sector overall. The need to cover a wide range of issues from the wide range of attendees necessitated a very tightly-packed schedule of presentations and discussion groups. The programme, as presented to the attendees, is attached to this report as Appendix 2. It was prefaced by this outline of the aims of the event: AIMS OF THE DAY In organising this first ever forum for Scotland’s jazz educators, the SJF is aiming to:
Get a clearer picture of the opportunities and challenges faced by jazz educators Create networking opportunities Share ideas and insights into working initiatives Encourage a real commitment to sharing resources and information Inform future strategic plans for jazz education across the sector
Presentations Presentations by guest speakers were made throughout the day (see the programme schedule) and can be seen in full in the appendices to this report. In brief they were as follows: What Do We Know So Far? Nod Knowles (author of the 2011 Review of Jazz Education In Scotland) Cathie Rae, Director of SJF and professional musician Nod and Cathie re-iterated the aims of the day, as above, and presented a summary of the Review and of its proposals for a long term strategy. A summary and the full Review can both be found on the SJF website www.scottishjazzfederation.com ). The strategic proposals fell under the following headings, which were reflected in the programme and discussion sessions of the conference:
Dialogue and partnerships Infrastructure Training and CPD Research and information Advocacy
Meeting The Challenges In Jazz Education Erling Aksdal, Head of Jazz Course, NTNU Trondheim, Norway Erling outlined the approach to jazz education taken by his university. He described jazz musicianship as ‘generative real-time musical decision making’ rather than use the term ‘improvisation’. Amongst the necessary qualities for acquiring such skills were the importance of listening (in the way that one would in acquiring a first language) and peer-to-peer learning (rather than the master-apprentice model of pedagogy). He emphasised the importance of the learning environment and of the student finding their own voice; he enumerated the challenges that faced jazz educators; and proposed his opposition to the model of Instrument-Notation-Interpretation (INI) on which so much music education was based. (Full presentation - Appendix 3.) What Do We Need In Training and CPD for Jazz Educators? Richard Ingham, University of St Andrews; ABRSM Richard’s presentation was designed as a short introduction to the subject and to the group discussion sessions on CPD and Training that followed it. He examined the various needs for CPD in music educators - to refresh the experienced and develop skills and confidence in the less experienced. He went on to outline some of the areas that could be covered by training and CPD including the practitioner’s own playing and listening skills and jazz knowledge as well as their skills in teaching and coaching. The areas of technique and skills development which could be covered (and were in the courses Richard and colleagues were already running) were outlined in the presentation and he ended by asking the discussion groups to focus on the key question for the conference of what was needed overall in this area of strategic activity. (Full presentation - Appendix 4.) Promoters, Audiences And The Impact of Jazz Education Gerry Godley, Improvised Music Company, Dublin Gerry opened with a fascinating and amusing picture of the way that jazz was viewed with horror and aversion in previous times in Ireland and the example of a pre-war ‘Down With Jazz’ crusade by a campaigning priest and the massed ranks of his followers. Gerry’s company had used the historic story as a platform to promote their own (ironic) ‘Down With Jazz’ promotional campaign in recent months. The key thesis of his presentation was that, despite the undoubted benefits of jazz education work, the ‘education industry’ had to some degree lost sight of the need for (and of the perhaps shrinking incidence of) performance opportunities for its graduates. Unless playing jazz was to become an arcane, introverted activity for a few musicians with a jazz education, it was essential to pay fierce attention to the business of creating performance opportunities and, essentially, larger audiences for the music in future. Education and promotion had to recognise one another and work hand-in-hand to extend exposure for and interest in this quintessentially live music. (Full presentation - Appendix 5.) Making the Case for Jazz Education Raymond Macdonald, Professor of Music, Edinburgh University; founder member of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra
Raymond’s presentation ranged across the nature and value of improvisation and the ways in which people learn and musicians view the process of acquiring jazz skills. He opened by underlining that musical improvisation is a unique psychological process - it is at the same time creative, universal, spontaneous, non-verbal - and a group activity. Music’s role 4
and impact on personal health and well-being was increasingly well recognised and documented. The same is also true of improvisation and Raymond outlined research results from work with people engaged in music therapy. The intrinsic values of jazz and improvisation - perhaps insufficiently researched as yet - would prove powerful arguments for the development of jazz education for social and personal as well as musical benefits. (Full presentation - Appendix 6.) Trade stands Several organisations took the opportunity to display information and meet participants during the day. Their representatives also took a full part in the conference sessions (and their details are on the attendance list in Appendix 1). The organisations were:
The Scottish Association for Music Education (SAME) ABC Music The Raymond Scott Project The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) Jazz Course UK The Musicians’ Union (MU) The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) The Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra (GIO) The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland (NYJOS)
Discussion sessions Discussion and the emergence of ideas were the core business of the day. The various discussion sessions were designed to draw contributions from attendees as activists in the sector and to inform SJF about priorities and future plans. Discussions were held in small groups of 10-15 people and their conclusions were reported back to the whole meeting at the end of each session. The three main sessions focussed on the subjects given in the programme: Training and CPD; Information and Research; and Infrastructure and Networking. The discussions were closely documented during the conference. They were well focussed but inevitably covered areas across and also outwith the initial subject matter and therefore the reports below are summarised by subject areas rather than on a group-by-group, session-by-session basis. They also incorporate appropriate comments drawn from the participants’ evaluations after the event. CPD and Training There was complete consensus on the need for training and CPD opportunities. It was necessary to build knowledge and confidence amongst teachers who wanted to develop their jazz work - and to build the teaching skills and resources of educators who were familiar with the music. Building confidence and knowledge through sustainable long-term opportunities was key: one-off activities might be helpful but not sufficiently effective. Long term programmes of CPD opportunities also needed to be structured: carefully planned and directed with follow-through and follow-up, with evaluation and plans for an acknowledged legacy. In setting up CPD programmes for jazz it was important to recognise that different people in various parts of music education had different needs - and those needs might include being able to deal with
specific levels of learning. Training and CPD instruction should therefore not be presented in a general purpose, catch-all context but programmes should be shaped to meet specific needs and serve the appropriate levels of specialism. CPD and training should reference the opportunities for jazz work implicit in the Curriculum for Excellence. They should also connect with the possibilities opened up by the Musical Futures initiative. Some people believed that it was the local authorities, as education providers, who should be primarily responsible for expanding jazz education. It was pointed out, however, that some authorities have had to cut any expenditure on covering staff costs in connection with CPD courses. Professional musicians had no such financial cover if they took CPD for themselves - taking such time out meant that they were not available for other paid work. It was hoped that the SJF, as the one permanent proponent of jazz in all its forms, could take a consistent lead in promoting CPD in jazz education, either directly or via advocacy and collaboration. Bearing some of the issues above in mind, the discussion groups suggested the following list of potential actions and activities that could be included in furthering CPD. Opportunities should be created:
for music teachers to hear more jazz and become more familiar with the music; similarly, for music teachers to play the music themselves; for examiners to meet and advise jazz educators regularly; for educators to visit others’ projects and institutions, to observe and exchange ideas; to explore the use of the local authorities’ ‘Glow’ education intranet; to publicise and signpost CPD opportunities and resources more widely; for mentoring to take place to train up new educators and YJO leaders ; and for advocacy to key bodies such as VOCAL(local authority arts)and other cultural forums.
Information and Research Discussions on these subjects identified two different but equally important areas of information and research that needed to be pursued - and then some of the means of going about those pursuits. Qualitative research It was important to have more evidence on the value and nature of jazz and jazz in education. The areas identified included:
what makes jazz different to other areas of music education?; the uses and value of jazz and improvisation in early years education; the value of improvisation as a social tool; clarity on the definitions of various areas of music-making; ideas towards definitions of jazz and improvisation; the differences between (and respective effects of) the Instrument-Notation-Interpretation (INI) approach and education for ‘generative real-time musical decision making’ ; the potential for jazz education to achieve the outcomes of the Curriculum for Excellence; the place of jazz in other cultural mapping, research and policy-making; and how to remove fear and engender confidence in working with jazz for music educators?
Research and evidence on such themes would be more valuable if the work was long-term and longitudinal - and was undertaken in collaboration or engagement with appropriate agencies and institutions (such as higher education, government and local authority education departments). Contact and database information The conference had heard about the database and referral information being gathered by SJF as part of this Phase 2 programme. It had already provided the contact details to enable this conference to be publicised to targeted jazz and music education activists. It was clearly an arduous and long-term project and more work would be needed to broaden it and make it easily accessible to the music community. Discussions confirmed that SJF should:
continue to research and accumulate the current database information; update the contact information regularly; develop a flexible online referral database (on an improved SJF website); include information on all known jazz courses, education providers, bands, projects , individual tutors; broaden the database and extend to other links and contacts in music education; look to develop an online forum for jazz education in Scotland.
The SJF was seen as the natural ‘hub’ for this information database but also for the qualitative research information that could be accumulated. With the eventual addition of an online forum SJF could be a hub not only for information but for research and development. Dissemination The prime purpose of the information and research findings was their dissemination - and suggestions around this included:
SJF should ensure to make strong links between providers and all varieties of ‘customers’ for jazz education; information should be targeted at local authorities and their music provision; information should also be disseminated directly to schools - to inform them about providers and about the qualities and value of jazz and improvisation; community groups should also be targeted in order to expand opportunities for lifelong learning.
Infrastructure and Networks Discussion on these subjects ranged over a number of areas - the key issues that arose might apply to various areas but are noted here in the most appropriate categories. Networks There was a clearly expressed desire to develop a network specifically for jazz education. It could be brought together by SJF and include online resources (including those outlined in the section above). Access to the network would be for all educators and also for those learning or wishing to learn about or develop tuition in jazz. Resources to be gathered would include teaching and learning materials, advice on funding and planning, and referral information (also as in the section above).
It was hoped that SJF could codify and identify links to all other relevant networks - and increase the jazz presence on them (such as on the ‘Glow’ intranet as mentioned above). SJF could also recruit for the jazz network via sympathetic groups such as Heads of Instrumental Tuition Scotland (HITS) and the Scottish Association for Music Education (SAME). Networks were composed of people and their function was to share and extend experience and ideas, so contacts through a jazz network with other music contacts and educators would be very valuable. Internationalism It was noted that Scotland was making progress in jazz education networking - an area in which many other countries did not have their own networks and in which there was little international liaison. There was an indication that Scotland could, if it made progress in its own networking and information activities, take a leading role in a European or international version of the same work. Endorsement Questions of verification and endorsement were raised which would require further discussion as networking and database construction continued. Was there a way to establish an endorsement of the people and organisations on the network and of their practice? Did inclusion on a referral database imply endorsement? Was a code of practise needed for jazz educators and their projects? Conferences and forums There was enthusiastic consensus that conferences such as this were valuable and necessary, providing effective networking. Suggestions were made about what elements might comprise subsequent events. The post-conference evaluation also drew suggestions on this theme and they are included here:
hold an annual conference/forum event; make it a two day conference; an annual conference could be a residential event; allow more time for practical work and examples; continue with thought-provoking guest speakers; introduce different educational approaches and methodologies; include presentations and examinations of different philosophies and styles of pedagogy; allow more time for debate; allow more time to interact with the trade stands; stage a live performance at the end; or introduce live performances as examples of various projects or approaches; hold a conference in the north of Scotland too – possibly Aberdeen? and ensure greater exposure, publicity and marketing for the next conference.
There was some support, too, for the prospect of holding intermittent smaller events. Meeting in smaller groups would help people to refresh ideas, exchange experiences with colleagues and reenergise their work.
Infrastructure The 2011 Review of Jazz Education in Scotland proposed strategic developments to solidify a jazz education infrastructure. The conference discussion sessions had little time to examine infrastructural issues but did draw out some suggestions on areas of immediate concern. In summary they were that:
we should prioritise rural and underserved areas when developing infrastructure; we must include the private sector (schools, tuition) in overall infrastructure and networks; regional hubs must be developed; the SJF or a partner is essential as a central hub; we might consider residencies for NYJOS’ outreach work in various parts of Scotland; lifelong learning is an essential part of jazz education ; and lifelong learning must be built into any infrastructure.
For young musicians Aside from educational and infrastructure provision, what other activities could be encouraged to support young jazz musicians? Suggestions briefly put forward in discussion included:
the development of the East Coast youth jazz festival already started by three YJOs; might there be a national federation of jazz bands?; could young jazz players become involved in self-organising projects (such as the ceilidh trails initiated by the Feisean movement with young traditional musicians)?
Advocacy and representation The idea was put forward of identifying ‘ambassadors’ or representatives for SJF and jazz education in various localities. These individuals would act as advocates for jazz education and liaise with, for instance, schools and the local authority in their area. Conference attendee, musician and educator Stu Brown volunteered to act in this role in Glasgow, especially liaising with Glasgow schools. The wider jazz infrastructure In keeping with the gist of Gerry Godley’s presentation, it was recognised that jazz education could and should not exist in isolation from the wider jazz scene and particularly live jazz promotion. Echoing some of the findings of the 2011 Review, various issues were noted concerning the overall infrastructure and environment in which jazz could be heard, including:
the need to make jazz more accessible and popular in order to attract new players; the need for more live gigs and associated audience development work; the potential for rural touring projects to introduce new audiences ; a network of promoters committed to endorsing jazz education; information about educational opportunities at venues; a positive, active relationship between educators, promoters and venues; and conducive environments and styles of presentation for live jazz.
Summing up At the end of the day’s busy schedule there was a brief opportunity to sum up what had been achieved in this conference and the overall thrust of ideas that had been indicated and shared in discussion. It was clear that there was a need for a long-term change in attitudes towards jazz in education - and the jazz community had to take the lead in helping that change to happen. Exposure to the music and greater access to the music for those who want to listen - was a crucial requirement if jazz and education in jazz was to thrive. Promoters and educators had an equal responsibility to work together to build interest in the music across a wide audience. As one flipchart note from a discussion group put it: ‘We need to get/put/have our own house in order and get our own act together’. It was our responsibility to promote a greater awareness of the way in which jazz skills and values are applicable across all music and support many other aspects of educational development. An increase in effective advocacy was necessary – for jazz education in the education world in general, in music education and in a variety of cultural forums. Further research work would be important and so would the dissemination of the evidence from research that placed jazz and improvisation in a valued position in relation to social and personal development. In parallel it was essential to increase the awareness of the resources and networks being built for jazz education and of the growing fund of contact and referral information on providers, practitioners and opportunities for learning and training. The conference covered all age groups in education. The responsibilities of local authorities for music and instrumental teaching within school age groups was emphasised. The jazz community should not only advocate for more jazz education within local authorities - and lend all the support it can to them - but it should also join with all other interest groups to campaign for instrumental tuition as a core provision for all young people across the country. A stronger music presence in primary education was also a key issue to be addressed and deserved a degree of priority.
Age groups before and after compulsory schooling might be neglected given the scope and scale of activity needed for school-age provision. The jazz community therefore had a specific responsibility to make sure that early years and then adult (lifelong learning) groups were targeted and opportunities created for them. It was understood that building a network and developing and infrastructure would take time. There were substantial issues of geographical coverage and the levels of success and impact of project work would inevitably vary. Advocacy for the music was an essential part of what we needed to do - across cultural groups and with key institutions such as the BBC, as well as with invaluable and supportive funders such as Creative Scotland/YMI . And although our focus must be on building opportunities in Scotland, we should never neglect our place in a wider international jazz and education scene from which we can draw support and to which we can undoubtedly make positive contributions. There was no doubt that SJF should work towards more events of this kind - with room for further debate and for an examination of the ways in which we can define and support the music. Future conferences should be canvassed as widely as possible - across all age groups, all levels of education work and across the formal, informal and private education sectors.
Achievements Attendees happily endorsed the sentiment that this had been an excellent first event. In order to be inclusive, transparent and to encourage as many people as possible to engage with the jazz network, it was essential that all present should actively spread the word (including through social networks) about the benefits of this conference and the prospects it had raised. Facilitator Paul Pinson complimented all the participants on making the conference a success. It had achieved the aims that had been listed at the outset. During the day he had clearly observed a good deal of learning - peer-to-peer and from those with a lot of varied experience - and he had been impressed at the way in which listening and absorbing information led swiftly to mutual understanding. SJF Director Cathie Rae thanked Paul, the guest speakers, the Royal Conservatoire, trade stand contributors, all of the participants and her SJF team for making the day a valuable and enjoyable event. She thanked Creative Scotland/YMI for the support that had made this event and the 2011 Review possible. Participants would be given the opportunity to submit their evaluation of the day and their comments were to be added into the conference report. (A summary the evaluations is attached to this report as Appendix 7). Cathie closed the day by confirming that SJF would be making further plans, collecting more information and using the results of the day to inform the next phase of its jazz education strategy. She had been struck by two phrases that she had heard during discussion sessions and offered them as mottos to underline the value of the day: “Jazz is coming round from behind the dark side of the moon”….and… “Jazz education is not going away”.
Footnote: SJF future plans This report of the conference is to be circulated to all participants and to a wider jazz and education constituency. Combining the findings of the 2011 Review and many of the ideas raised in the conference, SJF will plan Phase 3 of its education work and seek support to put it into operation during 2013.
Appendices 1. Conference attendees 2. Conference programme 3. Erling Asksdal presentation: What are the challenges in jazz education? (and an outline of the Trondheim NTNU) 4. Richard Ingham presentation: What do we need in CPD? 5. Gerry Godley presentation: Promoters, audiences and the impact of jazz education 6. Raymond Macdonald presentation: Making the case for jazz education 7. Summary of participants’ evaluations
Published on Oct 29, 2012