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Jazz Pedagogy:

A Canadian Perspective


Lina Allemano, Colleen Allen, Darcy Argue, Carlos Aguilera, Russ Baird, Tommy Banks, Shirantha Beddage, Greg Buium, Adam Caringi, Terry Clarke, Michael Coghlan, Alex Dean, Kevin Dean, Paul DeLong, Mike Downes, Brenda Earle, Barry Elmes, Sarah Falls, Esteban Figueroa, Gordon Foote, Hugh Fraser, Steve Haines, Jim Howard, Will Jarvis, Christine Jensen, Andrew Jones, Steve Jones, Pat LaBarbera, Brian Lillos, Carmella Luvisotto, Neil MacIntosh, Steve Mancuso, Alexis Marsh, Alan Matheson, Jim McGrath, Mark Miller, Catherine Mitro, Dave Neill, Brian O’Kane, Christian Overton, Ted Quinlan, Bill Prouten, Jodi Proznick, Paul Read, Bob Rebagliati, Dave Restivo, Andrew Scott, Bryan Stovell, Don Thompson, Paul Tynan, David Virelles, Sundar Viswanathan, Ted Warren, Neil Yorke-Slader

Creative Canadian Jazz Voice Publications


Edited by Brian Lillos

Typography and formatting by Sanja Antic Musical examples by Sylvain Bedard Cover art by Heather Jean


Copyright© 2006 Brian Lillos Inc. 58 Maidstone Crescent, Brampton, Ontario Canada L6S 2Z5


2 nd Edition


I live in a very evolved artistic world which doesn’t see colour, gender, race, religion or age. It is alive with creativity. I teach, I write, I study, and I perform jazz music. I’ve done it long enough to see it come full circle several times. I live a very privileged life and everyone should be so lucky. This book is dedicated to my students, my teachers, my colleagues and my mentors past, present and future and to the next generation of jazz messengers. This book is also dedicated to my wife Pamela our family, Andrew, Colleen, David, Rebecca, Paige, Abbye, Hannah, and Erin. Special thanks goes to Neala Puran (first edition) and Sanja Antic - Yugo Girl Design (second edition) for typing and layout, Sylvain Bedard for the musical examples and Heather Jean for the cover art. Extra special thanks needs to go to the contributing authors of this text for their insight, passion for the art form, and ability to make deadlines. Their work has allowed me to develop a text with greater insight and broader scope then if I had “penned” it myself.


by Brian Lillos

I have written, edited, and compiled this text for my third and fourth year jazz

pedagogy students at Humber College in Toronto, Canada. They are the audience to whom I am speaking. As an educator, musician, and pedagogue there are things at which I am expert and things others do better. I have therefore asked several of my esteemed Canadian colleagues for their assistance in developing this text and I am excited about the scope and insight of our presentation. I hope the text proves to be the building blocks for more dialogue in this area, especially in the areas of improvisation and rhythm section.

I am not sure what is particularly Canadian about this text, however there are, and

have been for several generations, some magical things happening in jazz performance, jazz composition, jazz education, and jazz scholarship in Canada. We have benefited immensely from living next door to the birthplace of jazz. Whether from the migration of great jazz musicians to Canada from the 50’s through the 70’s, or from our own jazz musicians returning from lengthy stays in the U.S.A. and abroad, Canadians have been able to play jazz music and be taught by Americans without having to endure what they did as Jazz Musicians and Jazz Educators.

Canadians are a People that thrive on thinking “outside the box”. They embrace ethnicity, human rights, and their right to think for themselves. They resent someone thinking or speaking for them and improvisation seems to a logical extension of everything we do. We are not fanatical about winning, except in hockey, and are very much about process. It is a creative place for young people in their formative years and a great community in which to teach jazz. Canada is very much about the individual. About realizing one’s potential. We leave only when we need a larger audience to support our artistic endeavours.

As a jazz community, while we have our dysfunctional moments, it is supportive and well networked and mentorship is provided to any who wish at an early age. The Canadian part of the book is more about context and perspective. It is the same music, different people.

Forward (2nd edition)

by Tommy Banks

Pedagogy: A Canadian Perspective is one of the most important Jazz Works ever to come from Canada. In it, Brian Lillos has captured the essence of "The Community for Learning" that is so precious to jazz musicians in Canada. The scope of the text, both in content and authorship, is typical of Brian's exhaustive work, and illustrative of his collaborative and synergistic approach to everything he does. He is an unique musician; a first-rate player, world-class teacher, scholar, administrator, jazz advocate, and respected visionary in his community. I don't think there’s anybody else in Canada who could have pulled this off.

The contributions to this book are from some of the best minds in music education. The collective experience and wisdom of these authors will, if taken and applied, benefit every conscientious music educator, as they have over many years benefited me.

Table of Contents


The Importance of Teaching the Oral Tradition – Brian Lillos


Learner Styles – Brian Lillos


Mentorship/Job-Shadowing/Practica – Brian Lillos


Myths about Jazz Education – Brian Lillos


The Jazz Curriculum - Brian Lillos - Kevin Dean


Course Outlines – Brian Lillos


Lesson Plans – Brian Lillos


Instructional Objectives – Brian Lillos


Supervision of Instruction – Brian Lillos


Assessment and Evaluation – Brian Lillos


Towards Teaching Jazz Improvisation – Brian Lillos

The Teenage Improvizor – Colleen Allen Teaching Beginning Improvisation Using a Rhythmic Approach - Alex Dean Melodic Implications in a Harmonic World – Paul Tynan

Developing an 8

Getting the Most out of Transcriptions – Shirantha Beddage Using Linear Material to Connect Melodic Ideas – Ted Quinlan Getting Hip – Accessing Altered Tensions – Brian Lillos Navigating the Be-Boppers Harmonic Galaxy – Brian Lillos

Cu-Bop and Beyond – David Virelles Gonzalez Advanced Techniques – Sundar Viswanathan Uses of Diminished – Pat LaBarbera


Note Time Based Concept – Paul Tynan
























12 The Contemporary Approach to Jazz Composition - Christine Jensen


13 Towards Teaching Jazz History – Alan Matheson


14 Jazz in Canada – Mark Miller


15 Women in Jazz – Alexis Marsh


16 Profile: Canadian Women in Jazz – Greg Buium


17 Rehearsal Techniques for the Jazz Orchestra -Gordon Foote Fundamentals


Warm-up 196





Swing Harder




Rehearsal Time




Video and Audio Recording 221







Conductor Evaluation


Festival Participation


Final Thoughts


18 Choosing Repertoire for the Jazz Orchestra – Brian Lillos


19 The Jazz Choir – Russ Baird



Rhythm Section Pedagogy:

The Junior High School Jazz Rhythm Section – Bob Rebagliati


Basic Functions


Physical Set Up


Understanding the Arranger


Trouble Shooting


An Introduction to Walking Bass Lines in the Jazz Rhythm Section – Bryan Stovell


An Introduction to Drums in the Jazz Rhythm Section – Bryan Stovell


Bass in the Jazz Rhythm Section – Mike Downes


Big Band Drumming Tips – Ted Warren


Playing Jazz Drums Melodically – Ted Warren


More Jazz Drums – Terry Clarke


Getting Beyond Your Drums Set – Barry Elmes


Musical Leadership and the Jazz Rhythm Section Don Thompson


21 Jazz Program Infrastructure – Brian Lillos


Fund Raising


Budget 334

Student Recruitment and Program Profile


Equipment, Facility, and Time Table Needs




Administrative Support and Career Planning


Proposal Writing – Carmella Luvisotto 343

Networking the Jazz Education Industry Program

Recruiting Faculty 351 Direction, Co-ordination, Administration 352


22 Graduate Degrees in Jazz Studies in Canada McGill University – Kevin Dean


York University – Michael Coghlan


University of Toronto – Paul Read


23 The Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music


24 Creative Scholarship in Jazz Education – Andrew Scott


25 Adjudicating a Jazz Performance – Brian Lillos



Music Fest Canada – Jim Howard


28 I.A.J.E. – Alexis Marsh


29 I.A.S.J. – Alexis Marsh


30 Jamey Aebersold – Brian Lillos


31 Websites


32 Contemporary Jazz Composition:

An Introduction to Contemporary Jazz Composition – Christine Jensen


Personal Strategies – Esteban Figueroa


Finding Your Own Voice – Bill Prouten


Hands on Approach – Brenda Earle


Creative Process in Jazz Composition – Paul Tynan 458

Empowering Originality – Andrew Jones

Creating Fifteen Seconds One Composer’s Approach – Christian Overton 474 Contemporary Jazz Composition – Shirantha Bedagge 481 Composition A Personal Perspective – Neil Yorke-Slader 486


Composing by Ear – Lina Allemano


Storyville Darcy Argue


Jazz Composition – Alan Matheson


Introducing Jazz Composition – Christian Overton


Towards Teaching Composition – Jim McGrath


Towards Teaching Composition – Hugh Fraser


Towards Teaching Composition – Don Thompson


Compositional Concepts –Christine Jensen


33 More Rhythm Section:

The Rhythm Section in Jazz – David Restivo


Latin Jazz Concepts for the Bass – Will Jarvis


Multi Meter Excerpts for Drummers – Paul De Long


Developing Ideas for Drum Solos – Neil MacIntosh


Dan Weiss and the Tabla – Carlos Aguilera


Profound Rhythm Sections – Adam Caringi


Afro-Cuban Bata Rhythms Adapted to Drum-Set – Steve Mancuso


The Adaptation on South Indian Concept – Steve Mancuso



More Improvisation:

Learning the Language – Brian O’Kane


The Importance of Listening – Steve Haines


Repertoire Development in the Classroom – Dave Neill


Repertoire Development for the Individual – Dave Neill


Navigating the Be-Boppers Harmonic Galaxy – Brian Lillos


35 Jazz Advocacy and Some Philosophical Perspectives:

Musical Improvisation and Determinacy – Jodi Proznick


Toward Creative Musical Achievement – Jodi Proznick


The marginalization of Art Education – Jodi Proznick


36 Community Music – Cathy Mitro


37 More Instructional Methodology:

Rehearsal Techniques – Neil Yorke-Slader


Jazz Pedagogy Final Exam – Brian Lillos


Jazz Pedagogy Course Outline – Brian Lillos


Supervision of Instruction – Brian Lillos


38 More Infrastructure:

Running a Student Jazz Festival – Sarah Falls


39 Meet the Authors


I want you to pick your favourite piece of mu sic. The style doesn’t matter.
I want you to pick your favourite piece of mu sic. The style doesn’t matter.
I want you to pick your favourite piece of mu sic. The style doesn’t matter.

I want you to pick your favourite piece of music. The style doesn’t matter. Take some

time to think about it. Pick your favourite tune. You know, the one that puts a smile on

your face any time of the day or night. The tune that gives you goose bumps, or gets your toe tapping, or provokes a tear in your eye. When you go home this evening, I want you to listen to this tune several times. When you have heard it enough times that the glow is starting to dissipate, I want you to describe in words, in your most scholarly manner, the sound that is being made. Review your written work several times for accuracy and thoroughness. Once complete, put the written material away for one

week. Store it in a safe place and one that you won’t forget (with your bills) and not in

a place where you will continue to refer to it (underwear drawer). In one week’s time

take the written material out and read it without listening to the tune. Then listen to

the tune and see if your words adequately describe the sound being made. Then give your written description to a colleague and see if they can determine the song/artist you are describing. I’m hoping that this has become a somewhat frustrating exercise for you and that you’ve come to realize that words are inadequate to describe certain aspects of music.

In music, there are some things you just cannot quantify. They are Oral and best left that way. (If you need an academic term for Oral, it is called performance practise.) Oral Tradition is an essential part of learning music and one that is neglected by many jazz educators today. For example, when I was in my late teens I had the privilege of working in a Big Band that backed up jazz acts on their way to Las Vegas. It was quite a remarkable experience because we would have two weeks with Ella Fitzgerald, and two weeks with Tony Bennett, and then two weeks with Frank Sinatra, and so on. At my first rehearsal I had trouble with time placement – specifically, the “and” of the beat. On the first entrance I came in early on the “and” of one and got to wear the “non- jazzer dunce hat” for the rest of the rehearsal. I was very nervous about loosing the “gig” and for the rest of the set I listened carefully to the lead trumpet entrances but often it felt like swing subdivision was a lot of guesswork. During a break at the rehearsal, my saxophone teacher (the late Fraser MacPhearson), who was playing lead alto, told me to listen to the ride cymbal. “Listen to the skip and that will tell you were they’re placing the ‘ands’”. It worked! He said, “You’ve got it.” I asked him to be more specific and he said, “I can’t.” I persisted with the need for specifics. He said, “just

take everything from the ‘ride’.” I continued in my quest for more specificity and he said somewhat emphatically, “you could really hurt yourself if you try and write some of this stuff down! It is what it is! Listen and interact.” To this day, I still can’t believe that it is that simple. I still think I should be quantifying something. Will listening to the ride cymbal and copying it in your articulation help you pronounce the jazz language? Is it that easy? “Yup”! To make his point, my saxophone teacher and I would regularly play the saxophone parts from his Big Band Library. We’d play along with the Basie Band, Duke Ellington, Stan Kenton, and Woody Herman, on vinyl recordings. None of the bands swung exactly the same. Nobody’s “ride skip” was exactly the same yet the notation looked remarkably similar. What a concept! “Take everything from the ride cymbal.”

Another example of the importance of learning the oral tradition was in my classical clarinet study. I started as a pre-schooler and had a magical teacher (Heinrich Ohlemann). As I progressed through my Rose, Klose, and Polatschek studies I wanted to play Mr. Ohlemann’s symphony parts. I used to beg him. I’d attend his rehearsals and sometimes in lessons I’d try to peek in his music folder. However, he said quite emphatically that “before I played the notes I had to learn the music.” I had no idea what this meant but Mr. Ohlemann eventually had me listening to Deutsche Grammaphone recordings of the Berlin Philharmonic, reading the scores, memorizing and singing all the parts. I was not permitted to play the clarinet parts until I could sing all the other parts in the orchestra. (This seems, to the uninitiated, a somewhat overwhelming exercise, however Mr. Ohlemann made it a very positive learning experience for me.) When it came time to play the clarinet parts they actually seemed easy. The clarinet entrances arrived and I played. What I thought would be so hard was actually easy because I knew where everything fit. The few technical problems idiomatic to the clarinet were fixed quickly with a red pencil and slow and steady repetition of the encircled area. I had no idea that, through this method, I would learn to interpret the repertoire, or learn to hear the entire fabric of the orchestra, the role of the clarinet, or from listening to so many Deutsche Grammaphone recordings of the Berlin Philharmonic, learn what “good” sounded like in classical music. Much of what Mr. Ohlemann taught me was oral tradition.

If this was my situation as a teen in the 1960’s, please help me understand, why I can hear College Bands and High School Bands today that can’t swing. The one’s that do are often the exception. Why has a College or High School Big Band never heard the brass choir section of “Us” by the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band? How do they know what “good” sounds like? Why does a Big Band director, in today’s world of technology, hand out a chart, not play a recorded example, “pound” the lead notes for an hour in rehearsal, send the band members home, without a recorded example, to practise their

parts individually, and wonder why the results are so slow coming and comprehension is rarely realised. (I dare you to find significant melodicism in the 4 th Tenor part in “Hay Burner” or in any “inside voice” from this style of writing.)

This may seem like a personal rant by an old professor. It could well be but, it is also, an example of bad teaching. For musical comprehension, would it not make more sense to send the student home with a C.D. of the tune so they could practise along with it? Wouldn’t such a methodology facilitate the student determining how their part/voice fits into the whole? Wouldn’t the student hear and imitate the articulation, note weight differences, phrasing, dynamics, balance, etc.? Wouldn’t the Director then have the time to be an “architect of sound” instead of a “note pounder”? Doesn’t it make sense to include the oral tradition in your teaching?

The first assignment my jazz pedagogy students are given is to teach a jazz tune, by ear, to their colleagues, in a combo setting. The student teacher is not allowed to use a blackboard, an overhead projector, lead sheets, or any other type of written materials. They must bring a historically significant recording of the jazz tune they are going to teach to the class and be able to perform, on their instrument, what they plan to teach. The student teacher is only allowed a stereo and their musical instrument. His/her students are only allowed to bring their instruments. The entire teaching process is meant to be “wordless” with the exception of introductions. It goes something like this: play the recorded example several times; demonstrate the first pitch and have everyone find it; demonstrate the first phrase or portion thereof and have everyone imitate it exactly; continue with the same methodology and learn the entire tune, exactly the way it sounds on the recorded example; play along with the recorded example to ensure that exact imitation has taken place. Keep playing along with the recorded example until they all have exact imitation. The objective is to replicate the articulation, note weight, ghosting, dynamics, balance, etc. from the recorded example.

At first, this may seem like a simple “rote” exercise. However, what is really being learned is the performance practise or oral tradition of the music. Musical elements of the jazz genre are being learned that cannot be learned by reading a “lead sheet”. To reiterate, there are aspects of music that are not quantifiable. They are oral. They are language based and they are learned through imitation. I believe this is a huge piece of teaching music. It is not instead of any of the other elements of music literacy, it is as well.

How do you measure the amount of oral tradition being taught in a program? How is the oral tradition valued from a curriculum standpoint? For some personal insight try and answer some of these questions. How large is your school listening library? Does your music library have multiple copies of all historically significant recordings? Does your music library have full scores for the recorded big band/jazz orchestra materials? Does the music library have any original “Tin Pan Alley” songbooks? Do you have listening assignments that are more rigorous than an ear training lift? Are you required to play transcriptions from memory along with the original recording? Are repertoire courses taught with lead sheets or by ear or both? Do you have a colleague/professor/teacher you can contact regarding the validity of the chords on a lead sheet (can you call someone to give you the correct chord changes to Stella by Starlight or are you at the mercy of the non-copyrighted “fake books”)? Does your school curriculum contain elements of jazz history and performance practise or is it more jazz appreciation or jazz sociology? Do your World Music/Ethnomusicology courses contain a performance element or are they survey courses with a sociological/anthropological focus? Does your curriculum contain advanced jazz theory and performance practise (improvisational styles and analysis/performance)? Does your curriculum contain courses in transcription/analysis/performance?

My pedagogy students are constantly asked: “Do you know what good sounds like?” Do you have a recorded example? Can you reproduce it on your instrument? Do you have a passion to share what you know? Have you developed strategies/methodologies to share the oral aspects of the language that you know? Show me five great combo tunes that are accessible for entry level improvisation students and where they can get recorded examples.

Why does Mr./Ms. Jazz Band sound so great and Mr./Ms. Jazz Band sound so bad? Is it just the socio-economics of the school? Is it the water they’re drinking? How can someone, seemingly in the “middle of nowhere”, have one of the best bands in the world? Is it because there is very little else for the students to do other than music or is it because the teacher knows what good sounds like, can demonstrate it on their instrument, and can teach their students to imitate them? Students can and will imitate. They will imitate you! Think for a moment about your mockery, as an adolescent, of the “close talker”, the “anal retentive carpenter”, “GUMBY”, Mr. Rogers, the “Refrigerator Repairman”. SNL or Jazz Nuance! It’s your call. They will imitate you!

Brian Lillos can be reached at

Have you ever found yourself in a teaching situation where you are speaking slower and
Have you ever found yourself in a teaching situation where you are speaking slower and
Have you ever found yourself in a teaching situation where you are speaking slower and
Have you ever found yourself in a teaching situation where you are speaking slower and

Have you ever found yourself in a teaching situation where you are speaking slower and slower to your student? Have you ever, after speaking slower and slower, had to raise your voice to get your point across? Have you ever found yourself in a learning situation that, no matter how often the material was explained by a certain teacher, you just didn’t understand?

Have you ever as a student, in a 30 minute private lesson, wondered how you’re going to get through the next 28 minutes of the lesson, because you can’t understand what is being taught and you couldn’t the week before either? Have you ever, as a teacher, looked out the window in the middle of a lesson, and seeing your vehicle, wondered if you made a run for it, would you actually get away? Have you ever thought to yourself, “you just can’t fix stupid”? Have you ever done a “Sam Kynaston” on your ensemble? Have you ever had your supervisor state that some of the students had expressed concerns because you were moving too fast or too slow for them? While this may sound like a warm-up to a Jeff Foxworthy or Dave Chappell routine, the stress of situations like this can be overwhelming. We all have coping mechanisms and there are a plethora of stress management seminars available. The reality is however, that some people learn differently than you. If you can discover their learner type and adapt to it you are headed for success. If you cannot, or are unwilling, you are in for a lot of pain and frustration.

There are four basic learner types:

The Reflective Observer tends to be tentative and impartial to learning. They rely heavily on careful observation in making judgements, and prefer learning situations such as lectures that allow them to take the role of impartial objective observers. Reflective Observers tend to be introverts. (David A.Kolb, 1976)

The Abstract Conceptualist is analytical and relies heavily on logical thinking and rational evaluation. They tend to be more oriented towards things and symbols and less towards other people. They learn best in authority-directed, impersonal learning situations that emphasize theory and systematic analysis. They are frustrated by and

benefit little from unstructured “discovery” learning approaches like exercises and simulations. (David A. Kolb, 1976)

The Active Experimenter is a learner that relies heavily on “doing” and experimentation. They tend to learn best when they can engage in such things as projects, homework, or small group discussions. They dislike passive learning situations such as lectures. These individuals tend to be extroverts. (David A. Kolb, 1976)

The Concrete Experiential learner relies heavily on feeling-based judgements. They tend to be empathetic and “people oriented”. They generally find theoretical approaches to be unhelpful and prefer to treat each situation as a unique case. They learn best from specific examples in which they can become involved. Individuals who emphasize Concrete Experience tend to be oriented more towards peers and less towards authority in their approach to learning, and benefit most from feedback and discussion with fellow learners. (David A. Kolb, 1976)

While the above is an oversimplification of learner styles, it tries to make the point that students learn differently. Examine the following scenario: you are teaching a class in improvisation; you are an Abstract Conceptualist; your most talented student is Concrete Experiential; you cannot find a common “wavelength” and learner success is minimal. Do you encourage the student to pursue a career in welding? Do you advise the student to learn “your way” or else? Do you mock your student’s inability to learn from you? Do you try and discover the differences in your learning styles and develop a strategy for communication? If you chose door number one, two, or three, you should go welding! While no learner will ever fit perfectly into one learner style, one style does tend to be dominant. The successful teacher understands this concept and recognises the importance of being able to adapt to different learner styles.

The first assignment my jazz pedagogy students are given is teaching a tune, by ear, to their colleagues. While its main purpose is to learn the importance of teaching the oral tradition, its secondary value is to discover learner styles. Because the students and the teacher are only allowed their instruments and a recorded example of the tune they are teaching, eye contact is essential. The eyes become the window to the learner style. The constant repetition of a note or partial phrase, to realise the exact replication of the recorded example, in a wordless delivery, brings out learner strengths, weaknesses, styles and abilities very quickly. (The teaching sessions are peer reviewed immediately and video taped for future reference and growth.)

Why am I so hung up about learner styles? Because when you come to teach improvisation, you are really teaching creativity. You need to be sensitive to the individual and their learner style. If you are not, you can do some serious and often irreparable damage.

Brian Lillos can be reached at

Mentorship and job-shadowing are the oral tradition components of teaching. Mentorship is role modelling. It
Mentorship and job-shadowing are the oral tradition components of teaching. Mentorship is role modelling. It
Mentorship and job-shadowing are the oral tradition components of teaching. Mentorship is role modelling. It
Mentorship and job-shadowing are the oral tradition components of teaching. Mentorship is role modelling. It

Mentorship and job-shadowing are the oral tradition components of teaching. Mentorship is role modelling. It is the equivalent of parenting in jazz education and it

is an essential experience for the developing teacher. I cannot emphasize this enough.

We tend to teach the way we’ve been taught. We tend to teach the way we’ve been shown to teach. A great deal of what you do in your teaching career will come from the impact your mentor has on you. (We are privileged at Humber College to have 55 “world class” mentors and multiple sections of a very broad jazz studies curriculum for students to access. Some of the best teaching in the world takes place in our jazz studies program. Hence, the possibility for great mentorship is likely. We are indeed privileged.)

It is very important for you to think seriously about your mentorship. You should seek

a mentor whose subject expertise is of specific interest to you, with whom you

communicate effectively, whose teaching you respect, whose ethics you admire, and potentially, who you see yourself being. You are looking for a role model and this person will have a significant influence on the way you teach throughout your career. You will be entering into a team- teaching partnership with them for the year. Think about this process carefully. It is as important as picking the right roommate or the right rhythm section for your band.

Job shadowing is the equivalent to going on the road with the Basie Band for 2 years, playing 4 th tenor, and learning from those around you. The theme here is that you cannot learn to teach from a book only. You learn to teach by teaching, by modelling a mentor, by watching others teach, and by interacting (“hangin’”) with teachers. You get better at teaching with the right type of personal guidance. Teacher growth is a balance between learner theory, subject competence, and practice

Practica is the practise teaching component of the course. It involves self- assessment, as well as evaluation from your mentor and myself. It requires that you observe, tutor, team-teach, and teach, for two semesters. The teaching must be in one designated course and must be for at least 2 hours per week. You are required to keep a weekly journal of your practise teaching. The journal entries should be reflective and done 2 or more hours after your practise teaching session. You should find areas of

expertise and areas that need improvement. Address the areas in your teaching that need improvement, one at a time. Make your growth in these areas part of your journal entries. You will need to hand in your practise teaching journal to me at the end of each semester. There are forms for self-assessment and the supervision of instruction in the chapters ahead. You will need to fill in the forms on self-assessment. Your mentor and I will fill in the forms entitled supervision of instruction. (It is helpful to video some sessions.)


Prior to your practicum, you and I will meet privately to discuss your subject competency, your strengths, the scope of what you hope to accomplish and with whom. I will then approach the mentor and see if they are prepared to take you. Be sure to really think this one through -- the mentor and the subject material. “Fit” is everything. Make sure you have done your homework on this one. A “refit” is difficult for everyone.

Please realise that sponsoring a student teacher is a tremendous amount of work for a professor. You need to understand that you are a guest in their classroom and need to compliment their function. You need to ensure that there is confidentiality, that you establish guidelines for professionalism, and that you demonstrate respect at all times. (Failure to do so will result in practicum expulsion.) At the same time, however you need to form a working partnership with them. There can be no passivity. Do what they want but make it a team situation. Once you have it working I will visit your class and evaluate you – twice per term, once on video and once live. Treat it like a job you’re auditioning for, don’t treat it like a course you’re taking or a “McJob”!

Brian Lillos can be reached at

One of the most common myths concerning jazz is that “you can’t teach it. Jazz
One of the most common myths concerning jazz is that “you can’t teach it. Jazz
One of the most common myths concerning jazz is that “you can’t teach it. Jazz
One of the most common myths concerning jazz is that “you can’t teach it. Jazz

One of the most common myths concerning jazz is that “you can’t teach it. Jazz is something you have or you don’t.” Where did such nonsense come from? The exact origin of mythology is not known, but it is reported that many jazz myths are the product of jazz musicians, publicists, and agents. By giving the impression that everything in jazz is the result of Divine Intervention, the jazz musician, like composers of another era, cultivate a myth and a manageable demographic (audience). Some academics use the same myth to justify their bad teaching of jazz improvisation. (Baker, 1979)

Another myth concerns analysis and creativity. “All of that analysis destroys the creativity in jazz”. This statement implies that jazz is an either or type of music. It is either a creative type of music or an intellectual type of music. Why can’t it be both, like any other type of music? Analysis is an essential way to gain mastery of a language. And at the highest level of artistic creativity, it is impossible to be emotionally coherent without language mastery. Any time the performance practise of the giants of a particular kind of music can be analysed, rules can be formulated based on those practises, enabling others to profit. (Baker, 1979)

Another myth that perpetuates the theme of Divine Intervention as well as a perceived force behind one’s creativity goes like this: “man, you can’t learn to play jazz by practising scales, arpeggios, voice leading formulae, turnbacks, or tanscribing jazz solos. You gotta play from your heart”. (Baker, 1979) This is the same “level one” critical thinking that tried to make jazz a one or the other kind of art form. Jazz is both. It involves emotion and it also involves language mastery. To suggest otherwise would be to suggest that I can fly to Kenya and, the moment the plane lands, begin communicating in a language new to both parties. Will the Kenyans understand me completely because they understand my emotionality? (Demonstration for class.) “Nope”!! The only thing the Kenyans will do is put me back on the plane and recommend a recalibration of my “meds”.

A similar myth is “that knowledge inhibits creativity”. Trying to create without the necessary requisite skills is like trying to write a novel in a foreign language without understanding the grammatical and syntactical structure of that language. The results would be words strung together in random fashion, without any order, direction or meaning. Occasionally a sentence quite accidentally might make sense, but to what avail if it is completely surrounded by gibberish! Yet, many jazz players are content to operate out of such conditions (Baker, 1979). The Monty Python troupe has had great success in this regard by making incorrect German to English phrase books for German tourists. I’m reminded here of the skit at the “tobacconists.” Your assignment is to watch the “tobacconist” skit and consider: “what if the audience thought this about your improvised jazz solo?”

“Jazz stopped with Charlie Parker”. This one is troublesome for me and I don’t know if you can fix “stupid”. Suffice it to say that there are many people who resist change and are frightened by it. The only place they feel safe is when they play their “bag” and try to force this mind set on their students whose creativity is typically stifled. Shame on them! Jazz, like any art form, moves forward. Its moves forward in a progressive, eclectic, non-judgemental manner seeking innovative ways of expression. It draws from the past and builds the future. It is constantly trying to “expand the envelope” of musical expression. It is, by its nature, a process of change that needs to be embraced, especially by jazz educators.

Another myth generated by jazz players is that if you teach jazz, you’ll create an entire generation of robots all sounding like their teachers, and tending to sameness. Nothing could be further from the truth in Canada. (We aren’t organized enough to make them all sound the same!) We guide them, mentor them, and try to send them off to learn more as soon as they’re ready. We work very hard to present them with options and make them aware of the choices that exist. We try not to impose our own tastes and preferences. Our goal is to expand their perspective and empower them to make the choice. We are far from perfect, however our philosophy is one of nurturing the creative voice and encouraging artistic empowerment.

Two myths, when combined, that have drastically affected some post-secondary jazz studies programs are Divine Intervention and Self-Entitlement. When combined, these two myths assume that great players are great teachers and therefore are entitled to teaching positions at Universities. Following this logic, they must also be great scholars. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jazz musicians need to learn to teach and to frame their scholarship (have it refereed). Some become outstanding teachers. A few become outstanding scholars. Many do not. Students need to be able

to differentiate the “show business” rules of Divine Intervention and Self-Entitlement from good teaching and/or good scholarship.

As a graduate and post-graduate student the myth that bothered me the most was the constant “jazz has no place in the academic community”. It is the same mind-set that referred to first nations visual art as “primitive”, the same mind-set that typically dismisses oral tradition, and the same one that perceives all music as inferior to Western European Art Music. It is a racist and culturally myopic mind-set. Its real name is Eurocentricism.

The very last place I ever expected to find such a closed- minded stance on scholarship, or the “power and control mentality” of the military, was at University. Early in my career and in my studies, I believed that The University was the “think tank” for society and as such, was the last bastion of free speech, creativity and “pure” research. How could I be so naïve? Many of the daily doings of The University undermine the Constitution of Canada. And, if The University is capable of undermining the Constitution of the Country in which we live, it seems logical, it could discriminate against jazz education and jazz scholarship.

Did he just say that? O.K., that’s enough! That’s it!! He’s speaking from that alien planet again. You know that place he often visits. I think it’s the planet “Paranoia” this time. Last week it was the planet “Delusional” or was it “Conspiracy Theory”. Someone call his Doctor. He’s gone way “outside the box” this time. Get him back on his medication, please!

Answer me this then, why do so few University teacher training programs require or offer jazz pedagogy courses? How can you teach jazz in the schools if it isn’t taught in teacher training? How many classical music programs require a jazz performance course? Why do so few jazz studies programs have a full curriculum of jazz history, jazz theory, jazz improvisation and repertoire, jazz composition and arranging, jazz pedagogy, and jazz ensembles (large and small)? Why are most jazz studies programs adjuncts to well-established programs in Western European Art Music? Under these circumstances, why are the jazz studies programs the last to receive budgetary, staffing, timetable, and facility consideration. Why are they the first to receive budget cuts? Why are peripheral areas of music study (music technology, cultural arts management, music production, popular music studies, music business, copyright and intellectual property law) receiving new faculty positions at the expense of jazz studies programs? In high school music programs, why are most jazz courses co-curricular? Why does only one Province in Canada recognize jazz combo for high school matriculation? Why must a University jazz major be thoroughly aware, in most

instances, of the music of the European “masters” before taking even a basic course in jazz improvisation? Why can a University saxophone teacher say, with a straight face, that a jazz major must play some classical music on their jazz recital but can see no necessity for his classical students to understand even the basic rudiments of jazz? Why can, in most universities and conservatories, a music student complete undergraduate matriculation without taking a single course in jazz?

Here are two lengthy statements from David Baker on this subject:

“Because jazz had its origins in a tradition outside the parameters of Western Art Music, its lack of acceptance was virtually assured. At the time of its birth, around the turn of the century, America was still genuflecting at the European Cultural Shrine. Any American Music which deviated from European models was viewed condescendingly. When this attitude was coupled with the hostility that existed toward black culture, the outlook was bleak.” (Baker, 1979)

“In the past, whenever jazz had been thought respectable it had been diluted and eviscerated and attributed to the white imitators of black originators (Paul Whiteman – King of Jazz, Benny Goodman – King of Swing, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Inventors of Jazz.) The history of this hostility to black music and musicians by the musical establishment and educational institutions can be traced back virtually to the beginning of the USA.” (Baker, 1979)

We still live in a Eurocentric world. It’s a world that refuses to accept the cultural contributions of black people. As educators and scholars we often subscribe to the myth that jazz is good in proportion to how closely it resembles Western European Art Music. We are more comfortable discussing ways in which jazz approximates Western European Art Music or discussing it from an anthropological and sociological point of view then we are recognizing the people that invented the music and learning the music from them. This is Eurocentricism.

From an educational standpoint, the myth that Western European Art Music is superior to all other music reminds the jazz student that jazz does not now have, nor has it ever

As future educators, think about this concept for

a moment. The psychic damage done to an aspiring jazz musician, particularly if he/she is black, telling him that his culture (chosen or otherwise) has no validity, is staggering. (Baker, 1979) This is abuse. It devalues the subject before the learning starts.

had, parity with Western Art Music.

Despite the cultural myopea, and the racism, all flourishing under the guise of the

“scientific method,” we live in an exciting time. More creative music has been made in the past 60 years then in the preceeding 200 years. The majority of this creative music has its roots in jazz. Jazz performance, jazz composition, jazz pedagogy and jazz scholarship exist everywhere and are manifest in many different shapes and sizes.

It is a time when a performer can also be a composer and also be a pedagogue and also

be a scholar. Like the art form itself, this new jazz scholarship will not stay “inside the box.” Look around you, there are a great many of this new breed of “scholar” amongst us. It is a very unique time. It is a very rich and artistically active time. I can teach a jazz pedagogy class in the morning, play a concert with Barry Harris in the afternoon, and present a colloquia to graduate students, on “Navigating the Beboppers Galaxy,” that evening. The next morning I can have Barry Harris co-teach a be-bop materials

course with me. In the afternoon I can have Rob McConnell discuss orchestration techniques with my composition students, and perform a Big Band concert with him and my colleagues in the evening. The following morning will see me giving an interview to a graduate student writing a dissertation on my music as I try and complete an external assessment report for a Ministry of Education on a jazz studies degree proposal. Rob McConnell will be interviewed by Downbeat Magazine and Barry Harris will be organizing

a seminar for the I.A.J.E. while on the run to the airport for a masterclass

presentation in Italy. The scope of today’s jazz artist is something to behold. Educators, Composers, Performers, and Scholars -- all in the same person. The “academic mold” has been broken. The scope of the research and scholarship done by jazz artists today is like the music -- “outside the box”. And, it is pushing the envelope of expression and its definition at every moment. Magically, the best is yet to come. Jerry Coker, David Baker, and Jamey Aebersold planted some great seeds. There are generations coming!

My daily schedule and scholarship pales in comparison to many of my colleagues. I don’t think we have ever known a time like this when scholarship existed in so many shapes and sizes and on so many levels. There are so many great jazz musicians, from so many generations, performing, teaching, studying, collaborating, composing jazz. It is a unique time in our history. In the past 60 years there have been at least 3000 “world class” jazz artists “on the scene.” It would be impossible to pick a “top ten”. It would be almost as fruitless trying to pick a “top 100”. No other art form has contributed so much creativity to the 20 th century.

It is my sincerest wish that academia wake up to what is around them. While there are

exceptions, jazz scholarship in the 20 th Century has been little more than Eurocentric ethnographies of jazz styles. Jazz scholarship has seldom involved performance

practise and, rarely does the academic community reach out to jazz performers,

composers, and pedagogues with suggested ways to “frame” their scholarship. For academia to have credibility in the artistic community it needs to provide leadership in the area of jazz scholarship. It needs to become liberated enough to realize that a jazz performer, a jazz pedagogue, and a jazz composer can also be a jazz scholar. I hold out hope for academia, there are some very bright minds behind its walls.

The final myth for this chapter is the one that is universally endorsed and believed by all jazz musicians, and for good reason. “If you want to make a million dollars in jazz, invest four million”.

Brian Lillos can be reached at

In a perfect world you’d meet and study with Jazz God. He/She would be the
In a perfect world you’d meet and study with Jazz God. He/She would be the
In a perfect world you’d meet and study with Jazz God. He/She would be the
In a perfect world you’d meet and study with Jazz God. He/She would be the

In a perfect world you’d meet and study with Jazz God. He/She would be the embodiment of the teacher that knows everything, can play everything, can teach everything to anyone and is there to nurture you all the time. Further, you would study with Him/Her in small groups, large ensembles, privately, “gig” together, “hang” together, and subsequently, learn the music holistically. It would not be compartmentalized. You would never have to connect any informational/conceptual dots by yourself. All materials would be relevant and follow in logical learner order, customized, at all times, just for you. To further improve the situation, there would be no issues of motivation – you’d be motivated all the time. There would be no tuition, you’d actually be paid a liveable stipend to attend school. After all, you, as an artist, will contribute significantly over your lifetime to the betterment of the society in which you live. Simply put, you are worth society’s investment and for this reason, your education can take as long as it needs – there are no deadlines, no timelines, no stresses of completion. It is a process that is completely about you and your development. Ever had this fantasy? I certainly have. The reality, however is that there simply are not enough jazz gods to go around. Instead we are faced with teaching jazz to more than one person at a time, and somehow we must do it in a cost recovery mode. This mindset, or reality therapy, unfortunately involves breaking apart the “whole” of jazz music and compartmentalizing it. This is where curriculum plays a major role.

Curriculum understands how to break apart the whole into complimentary parts and when to introduce these parts to one another. It understands how much weighting to give each part of the whole, how to ensure they interact, and how to measure their interaction. In less metaphorical terms, curriculum is a suggested learner pathway that scopes and sequences complimentary functions in such a way that subject mastery can be attained.

Curriculum Design:

Let us look at building a curriculum for jazz study. Firstly, we need to know what we want our graduates to accomplish when they have finished our program. (These are called learner outcomes.) And, we need to agree on a minimal program entry level skills. For the sake of argument, let us say that students entering our program have mastery in major, harmonic minor, dominant 7 th , and dominant 7 th flat 9 flat 13 scales and arpeggios and are seeking a B.Mus. in jazz studies. Upon completion, our graduates will be able to: improvise on a wide variety of jazz tunes (A Night in Tunisia, Airegin, All Blues, Ray’s Idea, Blue Monk, Blue Seven, Blusette, Blue Train, Blue’n Green, Cantaloupe Island, Confirmation, Donna Lee, Doxy, Footprints, Four, Tune Up, Whisper Not, Just Friends, All the Things You Are, The Song is You, Another You, Stella by Starlight, Time After Time, Lazybird, Blue Daniel, Very Early, Giant Steps, Groovin’High, Impressions, If You Could See Me Now, In A Mellow Tone, Joy Spring, Killer Joe, Lady Bird, Lullabye of Birdland, Lush Life, Loverman, ‘Round Midnight, Everything Happens to Me, Come Rain or Come Shine, Maiden Voyage, Milestones (old), Milestones (new), Moment’s Notice, Valse Hot, Body and Soul, Everything Happens to Me, Out of Nowhere, Softly as in a Morning Sunrise, You and the Night and the Music, Alone Together, What is this Thing Called Love, Cherokee, Have You Met Miss Jones, I’m Old Fashioned, Naima, Nica’s Dream, Oleo, Now’s the Time, Peace, Recorda-Me, St. Thomas, Scrapple from the Apple, Solar, Song for my Father, Soul Eyes, Stablemates, Invitation, Stompin’ at the Savoy, Star Eyes, I’ll Remember April, Eternal Triangle, Anthropology, Dear Old Stockholm); arrange for rhythm section and three horns as well as big band; teach jazz at the community, public school, or college level; compose in a variety of jazz , classical, and world music styles (Paul Hindemith, Kenny Wheeler, J.S. Bach , Charlie Parker, Igor Stravinsky, Charles Mingus, Arnold Schoenberg, David Liebman, Claude Debussy, Duke Ellington, Ravi Shankar, John Coltrane, etc.); complete research essays that are publishable and pre-requisite for graduate studies in jazz; and, satisfy entry level admission to teacher-training programs in jazz studies. In other words, the graduates from our newly developed B.Mus. jazz studies curriculum need to be able to play, write, and teach jazz at a very high level. These goals/learner outcomes define the dimensions of the whole.

While the above step in curriculum design is somewhat time consuming, the next stage can take weeks and even months for a team of professionals to develop. The task now at hand, is discovering the parts of the whole, what is complimentary to them and in which way. For example: Do we need to teach jazz history? How many years? How many hours per week? Should it include classical music history? Should classical music history be taught instead of jazz music history? Should jazz history be taught historically through repertoire, harmonic development, performance practise of

The Jazz Curriculum by Brian Lillos

compositions and improvisation, or should it be from a sociological perspective, or simply as music appreciation of musical styles and biographies of famous jazz personalities? What percentage of the curriculum should jazz history comprise? How do we ensure a connection between all the other parts of the whole and jazz history? Should it be through repertoire and performance? Should it be through theory and improvisation? Should it be through composition and analysis? Should we teach ethnomusicology/world music at the upper level? Should it be a survey of musical styles? Should it have performance components? Should it focus musically on the eclectic nature of jazz and the influences world music has had on the evolution of jazz harmony and improvisation? Should the focus of World Music be restricted to an anthropological/sociological perspective?

These and many more questions of this nature need to be asked before one proceeds to actually developing the skeletal structure of a curriculum. Many brainstorming sessions need to take place on subject content as well as the student demographic. As this process takes place a skeletal structure of the parts of the whole begins to take shape and the concept of scope and sequence starts to evolve. For this reason, curriculum development is a lengthy task and is not, unfortunately, a five-minute exercise.

Curriculum Development:

Curriculum development is a process and is best developed by its shareholders – the people that actually teach it. As shareholders we need to decide what the parts are -- Jazz Theory, Jazz Ear Training, Jazz Improvisation, Jazz Ensembles, Jazz Composition, Jazz Arranging, Transcription and Analysis, Piano Fundamentals, Private Lessons (how many per term and how many minutes per week), Secondary Instrument Majors, Jazz Pedagogy, Jazz Repertoire Development, Master Classes, Jam Sessions, Jazz Conferences, Jazz Festivals, Guest Artists, Artists in Residence, Career Development Through Jazz Performance and Composition, Cultural Arts Management, and Work Study – and how they fit as parts of the whole. We also need to determine, how we teach these parts of the whole so they interact in a complimentary manner. (This is where course outlines – learner outcomes that are scoped and sequenced over a shorter time – become particularly effective.)

A secondary issue, but one as important as determining the parts of the whole, is the demands institutions place on jazz studies programs for curriculum expansion. Courses such as music technology, music business, music production, recording and sound engineering, popular music, copyright and intellectual property law, seem to be the

“buzz words” in 2006 and are being added to the jazz curriculum at an alarming rate. While these courses are often interesting and worthwhile, they take learner time away from the initial purpose of the curriculum – jazz literacy.

With that in mind I would like to propose a curriculum for jazz study. However, before we try and build a skeletal structure for a curriculum let’s examine several curricula that are already in place. I want you to compare five jazz studies programs, their curricula, and their jazz audition requirements. Here are the schools: Capilano College, Malaspina College, University of Victoria, University of British Columbia, Douglas College, Grant MacKewan College, University of Alberta, University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, Brandon University, University of Manitoba, Laurentian University, University of Windsor, University of Guelph, McGill University, St. Francis Xavier University, Brock University, Trent University, University of Western Ontario, University of Toronto, MacMaster University, University of Waterloo, Laurier University, York University, Humber College, Mohawk College, Queens University, Concordia University, Universitae d’Quebec, Universitae d’Montreal, Laval University, Acadia University, Memorial University, University of Massachusetts, University of Lowell, New England Conservatory of Music, Toronto Conservatory of Music, Berklee College, University of Hartford, William Patterson College, Jersey City State College, Rowan College of New Jersey, Rutgers University, New York University, New School, Mannes School of Music, Manhattan School of Music, City University of New York, SUNY College at Fredonia, SUNY Sollege at Purchase, Long Island University, Five Towns College, Skidmore College, SUNY – Binhamton, State University at Fredonia, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Duquesne University, California University of Pennsylvania, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg University of the Arts, Temple University, West Chester University, Howard University, Montgomery College-Rockville, Towson State University, Catonsville Community College, Morgan State University, University of Louisville, James Madison University, Virginia Union University, Virginia Commonwealth University, Hampton University, Virginia Tech, Radford University, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of North Carolina at Asheville, University of South Carolina, Georgia State University, University of Georgia, University of North Florida, Florida State University, Seminole Community College, University of Miami, University of South Florida, University of Alabama, Auburn University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee, Memphis State University, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Kentucky, Capital University, Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, Oberlin Conservatory of Music, University of Akron, Youngstown State University, University of Cincinnati, Indiana University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Oakland University, C.S. Mott Community College, Central Michigan University, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids Community College, Interlochen Arts Academy,

University of Northern Iowa, Southwestern Community College, Teikyo Westmar University, University of Iowa, University of Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, University of Wisconsin – Indianhead Arts Center, University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, University of Minnesota- Duluth, Northern Illinois University, Illinois Benedictine College, American Conservatory of Music, Webster University, Central Missouri State, University of Missouri – KC, University of Kansas, Emporia State University, Bethany College, Northeast Community College4, Loyola University, University of New Orleans, McNeese State University, Southern University, Stephen F. Austin State University, University of Texas at Arlington, Weatherford Community College, Texas Christian University, University of North Texas, Houston Community College, Lamar University, Bee County College of Music, University of Texas at Austin, University of Denver, Naropa Institute, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Northern Colorado, Northwest College, Casper College, University of Idaho, University of Utah, Arizona State University, University of Arizona, University of Nevada-Reno, Musicians Institute (California), University of Southern California, California Institute of the Arts, San Diego State University, Foothill College, Stanford University, California State University at Hayward, University of California at Berkley, Sonoma State University, De Anza College, San Jose State College, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Mt. Hood Community College, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Cornish College of the Arts, Western Washington University, Whitworth College, Banff Centre for the Arts, Red Deer College, Royal Adacemy of Music, Swedish Jazz Academy, any European, Australasian, Korean, Japanese jazz studies programs not listed.

Curriculum Comparison:

Did you find any differences in the curricula from the five schools you studied?

Curriculum Proposal:

Here is my ideal skeletal structure for a jazz studies curriculum:

University of My Dreams

Year 1 Jazz History

4 hours

Jazz Theory and Ear Training

4 hours

Private Lesson (major Instrument)

1 hour

Private Lesson (piano)

.5 hours

Master Class (major Instrument)

2 hours

Jazz Improvisation and Repertoire

4 hours

Jazz Orchestra

4 hours

Jazz Combo

4 hours

Non credit jam session 2 times per week Academic non-music elective

3 hours

Year 2 Jazz History

4 hours

Jazz Theory and Ear Training

4 hours

Private Lesson (major instrument)

1 hour

Private Lesson (Piano)

.5 hours

Career Development Performance

2 hours

Jazz Improvisation and Repertoire

4 hours

Jazz Orchestra

4 hours

Jazz Combo

4 hours

Non-credit jam session 2 times per week Academic non-music elective

3 hours

Year 3 Jazz Arranging and Composition

4 hours

Jazz Improvisation and Repertoire

4 hours

Jazz Pedagogy

4 hours

World Music and Performance

4 hours

Career Development Performance

4 hours

Private Lesson (major instrument)

1 hour

Private Lesson (piano)

.5 hours

Jazz Orchestra

4 hours

Jazz Combo

4 hours

Non-credit jam session 2 times per week Academic non – music elective

3 hours

Year 4 Jazz Arranging and Composition

4 hours

Jazz Improvisation and Repertoire

4 hours

Directed Study

4 hours

Private Lesson (major instrument)

1 hour

Private Lesson (piano)

.5 hours

Jazz Orchestra

4 hours

Jazz Combo

4 hours

Teaching Assistantship (pedagogy)

4 hours

Work Experience


4 hours

Academic non-music elective

3 hours

Curriculum Assessment:

Now compare my curriculum to the five that you’ve studied. Articulate the differences. What would you do differently and why? What did I miss? What did I overemphasize? What did I underemphasize?


The best developers of curriculum are its shareholders – the people that teach it. They understand the student demographic and the culture within their institution. Curriculum is a recommended learner pathway for your students. It is not, nor was it ever intended to be, a set of rules that legislate creativity or a set of guidelines to evaluate teaching style and delivery. Curriculum experts understand how to break up the whole into interrelated parts. They also understand that what works with the student demographic at the Paris Conservatoire will not work with the student demographic at North Texas State University. They understand that one size does not fit all. They understand that while it “looks great on paper” it has to become human before it can be delivered effectively. Thus variables occur.

Curriculum experts understand they are not in the manufacturing industry and are not making Styrofoam cups. They understand that no one can actually say on September the 3 rd what they will be teaching on October the 23 rd (and that if someone is actually teaching like this they should seek a career alternative, possibly the manufacture of Styrofoam cups). The curriculum expert knows that what they create is a suggested pathway for the learner to develop mastery however, they are completely cognizant of

the fact that the learner is an individual, with his/her own learner style, and may move faster or slower than the curriculum guide suggests. They understand that it is another one of those “back and forth” processes. Its very much like the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Band. How can it be so precise and feel so loose at the same time? Curriculum should be the same.

Because curriculum experts understand this “back and forth” process they endorse the concept of teacher discretion and empowerment. For example, as a teacher of jazz improvisation, I am trying to design a learner pathway for my students that is sequential. The commonality is harmonic movement. If my class is having a hard time negotiating the chord progression to Blue Bossa I am not going to skip the tune and go to Stella by Starlight. And, even though it says that we should be studying Rhythm Changes, on September 3 rd , I’m going to work with comprehension and mastery on Blue Bossa before I move on to Rhythm Changes. And, I will likely do some supplemental bop-scale studies in preparation for Rhythm Changes. As a teacher, I have learning targets, but I also have some discretion. For example, in my opinion, the students may not be ready to improvise on Rhythm Changes, and even though my course outline says we’re supposed to be “blowing” on Rhythm Changes, I’m going to put it off for a couple of weeks until I’m sure the students have the pre-requisite skills for mastery and success. Curriculum development in jazz studies is simply a process that attempts to interrelate the parts of the whole. There is confidence in the knowledge that as language mastery is developed, artistic empowerment will follow.

Curriculum Peripherals:

While I haven’t been specific about when and where transcription and analysis will be taught in my jazz curriculum, I have been specific, by exclusion, on what I consider to be peripheral courses. I have not included courses in cultural arts management, music business, music technology, music production, sound engineering, or copyright and intellectual property law. It has been my experience that when these peripheral courses are offered in a non-modularized fashion and are coupled with academic non- music courses that Universities require, learner time is compromised and mastery of the whole becomes more difficult. Learner time is precious. Learning is a process that takes time. An erosion of time affects comprehension and mastery.

As stated earlier, while interesting and worthwhile, I believe these peripheral courses take valuable time away from the learner’s attempt to master the jazz language. (I would make an effort to offer these peripheral courses in a modularized format as pre-

requisites for specific upper level courses. I see this delivery model as the least intrusive to the mastery learning model. I would not however, include all peripherals. Some would be electives and some would be left for later study.) For example, if computer software applications such as Finale or Sibelius are required for jazz arranging and composition, they should, in my opinion, be learned outside the curriculum as pre-requisite skills for arranging/composition course. The jazz arranging and composition course is supposed to be about jazz composition and arranging. However, I often find students trying to learn to compose while they are trying to learn a complicated computer program. I cannot find the curriculum complimentarity here. Learning jazz composition and arranging is hard enough without trying to learn advanced computer software programs simultaneously. When faced with this dilemna the student’s compositions usually suffer.

Please allow me to digress on this concept further. My discourse may help you later when deciding what can be inclusive and what can be intrusive to a learning environment. Firstly, remember that we developed an undergraduate curriculum that focused on jazz literacy. Our freshmen were all required to have a specific set of skills to gain program admission, and our graduates, in order to matriculate, were required to master specifics in jazz improvisation and repertoire, jazz composition and arranging, jazz research, and jazz pedagogy. We believed that we had broken the whole into complimentary parts and that our curriculum and its delivery would ensure the complimentarity or union of the parts. What happens to this model if we decide to offer courses in music production and music business in place of courses in jazz improvisation and repertoire and jazz composition and arranging? Will jazz literacy be affected? Do these peripheral courses represent the potential erosion of learner time and subject mastery? How will these peripheral courses affect the student’s ability to matriculate? Do we need to spread the program over 5 years instead of 4? Do we need to increase the entry-level requirements for the program? Do we need to accept that jazz mastery will not take place in our program? Can we accept this?

These are questions jazz educators face every day. There is constant pressure to add peripheral courses to the jazz curriculum. Mostly it is from well-intentioned individuals, but individuals who have no idea what the requirements for subject mastery are in the area of jazz studies. When these well-intentioned individuals are combined with the proponents of the Ethnocentric mind-set, the Divine Intervention theorists, the “impatient learners,” and the “Canadian Idols”, a formidable foe to jazz literacy is present. At this juncture, the curriculum serves as my best point of reference and defense. It creates a level playing field that is about student success. It keeps the learning pathway in perspective and makes everything in the learning environment compliment the whole. It keeps the Walt Disney concept of “Edutainment” in “Walt’s

World” and, it serves as an advocate for the commitment required for subject mastery. It keeps bringing back into focus the following questions: what do we want our students to be able to do on completion of our program of study? what are the necessary entry requirements for freshmen? how do we create a learning pathway that is complimentary and ensures subject mastery?

More and Less Important Parts:

Another problematic area in curriculum development is that occasionally one of the parts of the whole can become more important than the whole itself. Its human nature. We’ve broken apart the whole and assigned its parts to different individuals. Some individuals will take more ownership than others and consequently their part of the whole will become stronger. This is more problematic than it may have been twenty years ago because jazz has migrated from the “club scene” to the classroom and that customary barometer of jazz, known as “street sense” is missing. Street sense is that system of checks and balances that stop the music from becoming existential and esoteric all the time. External assessment and curriculum review can be helpful in this instance.

Brian Lillos can be reached at

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject although I have had some
I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject although I have had some
I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject although I have had some
I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject although I have had some

I don’t pretend to be an expert on this subject although I have had some experience at it. The first jazz curriculum I was involved in developing was in 1980 at Saint Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, the year the program began. There were four jazz faculty members at the time and we designed the curriculum by the seat of our pants, essentially adding the new courses we needed for each new-year. I would not recommend that approach but seemed to work for that situation at that time. Indeed one of the difficult things about discussing curriculum design in general terms is that despite the philosophy and desire of those doing the designing, the specific needs and restrictions of the degree and the institution will greatly influence the outcome.

When I set about designing the original Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance at McGill I did some informal research on other universities in North America offering that degree. Although there we far fewer degree programs in 1984, there were huge variations in curricula. Some programs had practically no required jazz courses, only jazz electives in their degree. Some had small ensemble participation as part of an improvisation class and others had no small ensemble requirements at all. Some had a strong emphasis on traditional big band and others practically none at all. Almost every program had a jazz improvisation course and jazz history course of some sort but after that it was an unpredictable combination of courses and requirements. For the most part it seemed as if the jazz courses were squeezed in around a pre-existing traditional western music core curriculum. That was indeed the situation I was confronted with at McGill.

The feeling at the time was that every student graduating with a bachelours degree in music performance should take the same required core courses. This was problematic for the jazz student since the subject matter in all the core courses dealt with exclusively traditional western classical music. The result being that jazz students would take mostly classical music courses in their degree. On the other hand, the classical students would not be required to take jazz courses. Their degree was considered complete and existed long before jazz arrived in the university setting. It was the “We were here first” defense. This is still the general line of thinking in most undergraduate degrees in North America.


found that a large part of developing the curriculum I had in mind was convincing

classical theorists, historians and performers that “our” music had it’s own theory, history and performance practice that was valid and developed enough to replace their own. This is a battle that continues to be fought in university music programs daily. (I spent many sleepless nights fantasizing about the shoe being on the other foot with classical musicians coming to me defending the validity of their music and pleading for classical courses and ensembles to be incorporated into the pre-existing jazz curriculum so their students would have some experience studying the music they were getting their degree in.) Thankfully the situation has changed dramatically at McGill and our curriculum, which continues to evolve, is very strong indeed. As jazz has become more entrenched in academia old biases are dying and better jazz curricula are being written every day.

I will never forget hearing Roland Kirk at the Village Vanguard in New York in the late

1970s. At various times during the performance he would hit a large gong with all his

might while shouting repeatedly at the top of his lungs “FREEDOM! FREEDOM! BLACKNESS! JAZZ! FREEDOM!” Every time he would reach for the gong mallet people would wince and cover their ears. Many people walked out but he was tenacious. They were going to hear the message whether they liked it or not. I thought of that performance many times as I tried to keep in mind the overriding goals of a Jazz program.

Jazz has different aesthetics than traditional western classical music. Improvisation, the search for individuality, pushing boundaries, understanding the intricacies of swing and the blues are part of the tradition of the Black American music we call Jazz. Balancing the search for individuality and freedom with developing a respect for history, basic instrumental technique and jazz language skills is one of the most challenging aspects of learning and teaching jazz. Reflecting that balance in curriculum and in practice is tricky. I often wonder how some of jazz’s greatest musicians would fare in the average university jazz program. Thelonious Monk, Jackie McLean, Kenny Dorham, Eric Dolphy, Sonny Rollins: would their unique approaches be encouraged? More likely they would be pressured to change to fit into some sort of norm. It seems to me that the tendency to beat the individuality out of people is one of the biggest problems facing university jazz education in North America. (The conservatory programs of Europe seem to be more open-minded in that regard.) I believe that done properly, teaching the fundamentals of the jazz language and instrumental technique should really be the stepping-stones to musical freedom and individuality.

My feeling is that generally speaking, lessons, ear training, history and improvisation classes are the natural places to attend to and concentrate on fundamentals. It seems to me that composition classes and small ensembles are places where students should be given more freedom to experiment. At McGill students form their own small ensembles (combos) and choose their own personnel as well as their faculty supervisor. They choose their own repertoire and many groups play entirely original music. Students also choose their own private teachers. This all helps in their search for individual expression and students welcome the responsibility inherent in those choices.

I think we sometimes forget why people come to university to study jazz; that is to play music! One of the most important things we can do in developing a jazz program is to create a supportive and safe (physically and psychologically) environment where people can play as much as they want. This probably means fighting for adequate practice and rehearsal space, properly maintained equipment like drums, amps, stereos, PAs, decent pianos, longer opening hours etc. It also means making sure that all ensemble participation is for credit and part of the degree requirement and that there are plenty of public performance opportunities. At McGill I incorporated a performance requirement called Combo Seminar into combo participation. Combos perform every Monday and Tuesday night at a local jazz club. For the last number of years it has been the Upstairs Jazz Bar. Two groups perform per night and prepare an hour set each. We usually have about twenty combos at McGill which means each group plays once every five weeks. These are treated as professional gigs although the students are not paid. Each performance is supervised and critiqued by different faculty members who meet with the combos and give them feedback directly after their performance. Combo Seminar gives students an opportunity to prepare new material every five weeks, to perform for their peers and the public in a ‘real life’ night club setting and get constructive criticism from a faculty member as well. It is a very important part of the combo experience at McGill and is unique to our program.

Jazz ensemble (big band) is also an extremely important part of the jazz tradition and in my opinion, should be a part of every jazz curriculum. This is a big subject and there are as many ways to approach developing a big band and incorporating it into a curriculum, as there are big band directors. As with all ensembles, adequate rehearsal time and space, ensemble credit as a degree requirement and plenty of public performance opportunities are key to its success. I also think the competency and philosophy of the ensemble director is a more important factor than with combos and I know of no successful university big bands that are student organized.

The goals of various degrees, new course possibilities and content, interconnectivity of courses, evaluation procedures, credit loads, performance exam requirements, auditions and audition requirements, hiring faculty, the roles of various ensembles, and any number of additional topics are important in developing any jazz curriculum but beyond the scope of this short overview. If one takes on the task of developing a jazz curriculum, the only advice I feel qualified to give is to try to prioritize creating a pleasant environment where people can play a lot of music and try to hire the best professional jazz musicians available as teachers. Jazz is a language best learned from those who speak it well.

Kevin Dean can be reached at Kevin.Dean@McGill.Ca

Course outlines are smaller pieces of the overall curriculum – a curriculum within a curriculum,
Course outlines are smaller pieces of the overall curriculum – a curriculum within a curriculum,
Course outlines are smaller pieces of the overall curriculum – a curriculum within a curriculum,
Course outlines are smaller pieces of the overall curriculum – a curriculum within a curriculum,

Course outlines are smaller pieces of the overall curriculum – a curriculum within a curriculum, if you will. They attempt to set some goals (learner outcomes) for the teacher and the learner. The course outline should always come with pre-requisites and co-requisites. This ensures that the parts of the whole are interrelated. Course outlines provide a useful overview of what will be studied. This is useful for the student and the uninitiated teacher. The following is an example of a course outline I use for my jazz pedagogy course:

Course Outline

University of My Dreams School of Jazz Studies Academic Year 2004/2005

Faculty: Brian Lillos Phone #:



Office Hours:

It is the student’s responsibility to retain course outlines for possible future use in support of applications for transfer credit to other educational institutions.


Course Number & Name:


B. Mus. Jazz Studies


Jazz Composition/Arranging 3/4, Advanced Jazz Repertoire 7/8, Jazz Repertoire Development 3/4/5/6, Advanced Jazz History and Performance Practise 7/8,

Solo Performance 5/6, Advanced Jazz Improvisation and Performance Practise 7/8, Portfolio Submission & Professor’s Permission


Advanced Jazz Repertoire 7/8, Advanced Jazz History and Performance Practise 7/8, Advanced Jazz Improvisation and Performance Practise 7/8

Pre-Requisite For:


Credit Value:


Course Description:

This is an extensive and thorough upper level academic music course which presents the materials and methods for jazz instruction, requires research essays in career related fields and the successful completion of a two semester teaching practicum. More specifically, this course explores the philosophies and methods in jazz education and the way in which they pertain to all levels of ability and age in the instrumental combo, vocal combo, and jazz orchestra. Repertoire, resources, rehearsal techniques, curriculum design, supervision and evaluation of instruction, lesson plans, instructional objectives, assessment and evaluation, learner types and styles, the jazz education industry, graduate studies in jazz education, teaching through the oral tradition, adjudicating a jazz performance, infrastructure, administration and promotion of a jazz program, creative scholarship in jazz, career planning, as well as National and International student Jazz Festivals and educational associations are all topics that will be covered in the course. Additionally, students will be required to format all references in research essays with the APA format.

Learning Objectives:

Core Outcomes

Students are required to demonstrate the following knowledge and skills to successfully complete this course:

1. Identify learner types and styles.

2. Develop strategies to teach different learner types and styles.

3. Demonstrate oral tradition as it pertains to jazz instruction.

4. Teach a jazz ensemble demonstrating a working knowledge of the oral tradition.

5. Develop criteria for the supervision and evaluation of instruction.

6. Develop criteria for student assessment and evaluation.


Write and implement lesson plans.

8. Develop instructional objectives.

9. Develop, in consultation with the professor, a two-term practicum involving job shadowing, teaching, and mentorship.

10. Successfully complete a two-term practicum.

11. Exhibit skills pertaining to research methodology as it applies to the field of jazz.

12. Evaluate common misgivings in the area of jazz scholarship.

13. Demonstrate an understanding of primary, secondary, and related sources in jazz performance, composition, arranging, history and pedagogy through transcription, score analysis, bibliography, discography and interviews.

14. Demonstrate, in research papers, the APA method of citing references.

15. Write curriculum for jazz improvisation from beginner to advanced levels with a repertoire base.

16. Demonstrate knowledge of the industry of jazz education, career pathways, and potential sources for networking.

17. Adjudicate a jazz performance.

18. Present a jazz clinic.

19. Evaluate and grade jazz orchestra repertoire.

20. Evaluate and grade instrumental jazz combo repertoire.

21. Evaluate and grade vocal combo repertoire.

22. Describe the infrastructure needed for a successful jazz studies program.

23. Describe the administrative requirements of a successful jazz studies program.

24. Demonstrate recruiting and profile methods as they apply to program promotion.

25. Compile lists of recommended and graded repertoire for the instrumental jazz combo.

26. Compile lists of recommended and graded repertoire for the jazz orchestra.

27. Compile lists of recommended and graded repertoire for the vocal jazz combo.

28. Demonstrate, through research essays, a thorough understanding of creative scholarship in jazz education.

29. Demonstrate an understanding of the need for fund raising in a jazz studies program.

30. Demonstrate arranging/composition skills for the jazz combo (three to four voices and rhythm section).

31. Demonstrate editing skills for jazz orchestra arrangements/compositions (specifically inside voices and rhythm section).

32. Demonstrate an understanding of general teaching philosophies and methods.

33. Promote a strong sense of the developmental process in jazz studies.

34. Increase the student’s awareness as it pertains to the sequential development of skill sets related specifically to the jazz idiom.

35. Demonstrate an understanding of the stylistic characteristics, various trends, and historical developments through jazz “eras” and be able to explain and teach performance, improvisation, and composition/arranging in these “eras” effectively.

36. Identify the major figures n the development and/or continuation of the aforementioned styles.

37. Increase the awareness for jazz orchestra, instrumental and vocal combo repertoire available to educators including: instrumental ranges, harmonic complexity, density, technique, rhythmic complexity, improvisational difficulty, general ensemble strengths and weaknesses, recorded examples and commissions.

38. Increase knowledge of available internet sites as resources for the jazz educator.

39. Increase awareness of the I.A.J.E.

40. Increase awareness of the I.A.S.J.

41. Demonstrate an understanding of the function of the horns within the large and small jazz ensemble.

42. Demonstrate an ability to teach the rhythm section in the jazz ensemble.

43. Demonstrate the ability to read and analyze a jazz orchestra score.

44. Analyze and synthesize jazz orchestra rehearsal techniques and artistic guidance.

45. Analyze and synthesize instrumental combo rehearsal techniques and artistic guidance.

46. Analyze and synthesize vocal combo rehearsal techniques and artistic guidance.

47. Demonstrate an awareness of common musical problems encountered by students in the improvisational setting.

48. Describe the need to develop a learning environment that encourages risk taking, creativity, and the development of an artistic voice in jazz improvisation.

49. Demonstrate an understanding of the need to transcribe the works of the jazz masters, to internalize their pronunciation of the language, and become coherent with their grammar.

50. Explain how learning outcomes 44 and 45 are not in conflict with each other, rather are complimentary.

51. Demonstrate respect towards themselves as educators, for the music and the people who want to learn it.

Course Content:

Fall Semester

Week I Introduction Overview of Course. Career Goals. Practicum Needs. Assigned material on Library Reserve. Assessment of Class & Determination of Materials, Delivery, Jazz Resources. The Jazz Education Industry. Assigned Texts. Assigned Readings.

Week II

History of Jazz Education – Eurocentricity, Anal Retention, Oral Tradition, Street Methodologies, Holistic Approaches. One hour out-of-class advisement with professor on practicum placement.

Week III

Practicum Begins. Supervision of Instruction. Lesson Plans. Instructional Objectives. Student Assessment. Student Evaluation. Self Evaluation. Teacher Journal. Professional Development. Mentorship. Job Shadowing.

Week IV

Assessment and Evaluation. Learner Types and Styles. Creative Scholarship in Jazz Education. One hour advisement with professor on Term Paper Prospectus, Bibliography and Discography.

Week V

Oral Tradition and Teaching Jazz Styles. Scope and Sequence – Curriculum Design. The Jazz Curriculum. Developing a curriculum for jazz improvisation.

Week VI, VII, VIII, & IX One hour oral tradition teaching presentation, (small ensemble) – each student will find the repertoire, recruit the ensemble, and rehearse the ensemble for one full hour. The sessions will be recorded and video taped. One hour out of class research essay advisement with the professor.

Week X

Repertoire and Curriculum for the Jazz Combo. Review, Reflection, of materials and process to date.

Week XI, XII, & XIII One hour teaching presentation on rehearsal techniques and repertoire for the jazz combo. One hour out of class evaluation of student teaching by professor. Presenting a Jazz Clinic.

Week XIV

Term end exam. Research paper due. All written projects due. All recorded projects due. All video projects due.

Week XV

Pot luck dinner for sponsor teachers.

Winter Semester

Week I

Scholarship in Jazz Education. Repertoire and Curriculum for Jazz Improvisation. Career Planning, The Jazz Education Industry.



I.A.J.E. Conference (New York)

Week III

Repertoire, Curriculum, and Rehearsal Techniques for the Jazz Orchestra.

Week IV

Field Trips to Regional Instrumental Jazz Festivals. Adjudicating an Instrumental Jazz Performance.

Week V, VI, VII, & VIII Presenting an Instrumental Jazz Clinic. One hour teaching presentation on rehearsal techniques and repertoire for the Jazz Orchestra.

Week IX

Field Trip to Regional Vocal Jazz Festivals. Adjudicating a Vocal Jazz Performance. Presenting a Vocal Jazz Clinic.

Week X, XI, XII, & XIII One hour teaching presentation on rehearsal techniques and repertoire for the vocal jazz choir.

Week XIV

Infrastructure of a Jazz Program. Administration of a Jazz Program. Recruiting and Profile.

Week XV


Term I - Evaluation

Final Exam. Research paper due. All written projects due. All recorded projects due. All video projects due. Email exchange. Networking.

Practicum Video, Example of Teaching and Practicum Journal Term Paper Term Exam Teaching Oral Tradition Teaching Improvisation Curriculum for Jazz Improvisation Curricula Comparison (Schools of Study)









Term II - Evaluation

Practicum Curriculum for Jazz Instruction Curriculum for Jazz Improvisation Teaching Big Band Teaching Rehearsal Techniques and Materials for Big Band Teaching Rehearsal Techniques and Materials for Vocal Choir Term Paper Term Exam Graded Repertoire for Large Instrumental Jazz Ensemble Graded Repertoire for Vocal Jazz Ensemble Graded List of Big Band Repertoire with Discography Graded List of Vocal Choir Repertoire with Discography Adjudications of Big Band Adjudications of Vocal Choir


with Discography Adjudications of Big Band Adjudications of Vocal Choir 30% TBA 100% Course Outlines by



Bass Range

Section Level











Density/Line Independence of Arrangement


Brian Lillos can be reached at

It is necessary to think about what you are going to teach in the same
It is necessary to think about what you are going to teach in the same
It is necessary to think about what you are going to teach in the same
It is necessary to think about what you are going to teach in the same

It is necessary to think about what you are going to teach in the same manner and for the same reasons you need to think about what you are going to play in your improvised solo. You should also have more material prepared then you need, but don’t be disappointed if you only get through 30% of what you prepared.

Sample Lesson Plan Framework

Learning Objectives & Statement of Aims:


Warm –up (review of last class):

Materials and Notes:

Lesson Body:



Brian Lillos can be reached at

Think about the possibility of being sued for “Educational Malpractise”. While it is rare, it
Think about the possibility of being sued for “Educational Malpractise”. While it is rare, it
Think about the possibility of being sued for “Educational Malpractise”. While it is rare, it
Think about the possibility of being sued for “Educational Malpractise”. While it is rare, it

Think about the possibility of being sued for “Educational Malpractise”. While it is rare, it does happen. Try and recall the scandals in the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s when some superb high school athletes graduated from high school, received College Scholarships, and were found to be functionally illiterate. Some parents in Southern California sued for Educational Malpractise and won the class action lawsuit. As a result, many Public School Boards and more recently, many Universities and Colleges are insisting on the use of Instructional Objectives as measuring sticks for teacher accountability. In the wrong hands, instructional objectives can become draconian legislation – fear mongering, if you will. In the arts, they can take away the “process” from teaching. They can take away the intangibles. They attempt to quantify everything. They can take away your discretion as a teacher. They can beat the creativity out of you!

Therefore, it is very important to know how instructional objectives are constructed and to be able to write them in such a way that they will enable the learner to accomplish the required learner outcomes, allow for individual learner styles, artistic growth and expression, as well as teacher style and discretion. For example, you may need to be able to articulate, to an external evaluator, certain measurable aspects of the jazz improvisation “process”. A starting point might be to explain that in many ways jazz improvisational study is similar to the study of linguistics. The language has a vocabulary, a grammar (syntax), and a meaning (semantics). Scale/chord relationships for improvisation can be tested as a component of jazz vocabulary. These are easy to test and measure. Melodic transcription and performance can be compared to language pronounciation. Jazz grammar (a voice leading study) is analogous to the study of nouns and verbs. At the grammar or syntax level, the learner also discovers that there is often more than one right answer and the external evaluator begins to realise that as the syntactical possibilities develop, the skill set of the teacher has to be higher. At the semantic level, jazz improvisation translates into “saying something” in your improvised solo. Musical meaning is evaluated. It becomes clear to the external evaluator that language comprehension has been attained. At this point they usually realize that additional semantic coherency comes from practise, that is to say “process”, and requires the guidance of a Master Teacher. If you are diligent in the preparation and delivery of these objectives the external evaluator is usually

supportive of your work. your program fully.

They will often use you as an instructional model and support

I’ve enclosed two examples of instructional objectives for your perusal. I find the first example somewhat “Draconian” and I find the second example too “Legislative”. Your assignment for this unit is to write a set of instructional objectives on a subject that requires musical creativity.

Instructional Objectives

Guaranteed Instructional Services


Course Title


Course Length (semester/year)

Grade Level

Texts Used

Course Description:

Major Concepts

The course will:

1. Enable a student to perform on his/her instrument and actively engage in the study and performance of band literature – Technical Development.

2. Enable the student to unite and interact musically with other students to perform band music – Ensemble Training.

3. Provide for a diversified program of music that will include representative examples of music from a historical, ethnic, and functional organization – Diversified Program.

4. Provide a variety of performance activities before an audience to exercise and experience the many practical uses and service of music and to express his/her musical abilities and accomplishments – Variety of Performance Activities.

Major Concept #1:

The course will enable a student to perform on his/her instrument, and actively engage in the study and performance of band literature – Technical Development.

Student Outcomes:

The student will:

1. Employ a musical quality tone on his/her instrument in the band.

2. Demonstrate the performance techniques necessary to perform the band music on his/her instrument in the band.

3. Demonstrate ability to read music notation and translate it to musical expression on his/her instrument in the band.

Suggested Teacher Activities/Strategies:

The teacher will:

1. Provide instruction, model and exercises that will result in the development of a musical quality tone. Posture, breathing, embouchure, instrument holding and instrument care will be considered.

2. Provide instructional materials, music examples and exercises, and opportunities for practice and performance that will aid the student in acquiring the necessary manipulative skills.

3. Provide instruction and opportunities to practice reading musical notation as it is employed to express rhythm, pitch, melody, harmony, dynamics, style, and musical interpretation.

Major Concept #2:

The course will enable the student to unite and interact musically with other students to perform band music – Ensemble Training.

Student Outcomes:

The student will:

1. Demonstrate ability to play his/her instrument in tune with itself, his/her section, and the entire band.

2. Demonstrate his/her awareness of, and ability, to unite with the other band members in the synchronization of the elements of rhythm.

3. Listen critically and respond to the other students’ musical output in order to effect an appropriate ensemble tonal blend and balance.

4. Perform band music with regard to the elements of interpretation and style.

5. Respond to the direction of the conductor.

Suggested Teacher Activities/Strategies:

The teacher will:

1. Provide instruction of in-tune playing, opportunities for practice through exercises, and a constant reminder of intonation throughout the rehearsal and performance of all band music. Critical listening will be a major focus.

2. Provide instruction and opportunities to practice exercises, studies, and music with the focus on the components of rhythm, tempo, meter, and duration. Understanding, hearing, feeling, and measuring the pulse of the music and the length of notes will be an important achievement of the ensemble.

3. Provide instruction and opportunities to experience a proper blending of tone and balance of dynamics necessary to meet the qualifications of the band music.

4. Instruct and provide opportunities for drill and practice regarding the musical practices of phrasing, articulation, and style. A variety of musical styles will be programmed for the band that will insure attention to this necessary musical quality.

5. a.) Provide instruction and opportunities to practice the act of following the signals, gestures, and directions of the conductor.

b.) Provide directions regarding tempo, meter, dynamics, and the elements of interpretation as he conducts the band through studies and music.

Major Concept #3:

The course will provide for a diversified program of music that will include representative examples of music from a historical, ethnic, and functional organization – Diversified Program.

Student Outcomes:

The student will:

1. Perform and appreciate music as a representation of historical significance.

2. Perform and attempt to understand the musical expressions of many ethnic backgrounds.

3. Perform and make distinctions between the various types, styles, and media of musical expressions of today.

Suggested Teacher Activities/Strategies:

The teacher will:

1. a.) Provide information regarding composers of music of music that is studied and their contribution to their time period.

b.) Provide music for listening and performance to represent and illustrate the significant musical contributions of each historical time period.

2. Provide musical instruction, models for listening, and opportunities to play the music of different ethnic groups. Uniqueness and similarities of style will be noted.

3. Provide knowledge, rehearsal, and performance of a variety of music forms of today that will prepare students for vocational and/or avocational opportunities.

Major Concept #4:

The course will provide a variety of performance activities before an audience to exercise and experience the many practical uses and service of music and to express his/her musical abilities and accomplishments – Variety of Performance Activities.

Student Outcomes:

The student will perform as a member of the band in a variety of performance activities.

Suggested Teacher Activities/Strategies:

1. The teacher will maintain a variety of performance activities for the band. These will serve as opportunities for the students to display accomplishments, and to serve his/her own musical needs.

Additional Instructional Goals Beyond Guaranteed Instructional Services

These course goals add dimension and enrichment toward higher levels of educational value. These goals are not always measurable or observable and, therefore, cannot be guaranteed. No student outcomes or G.I.S. are expected for these goals. You are not responsible for, or limited by, a specific number of goals.

The students will:

1. Value self-discipline as a necessary requirement for accomplishment.

2. Enhance self-esteem.

3. Develop the disciplines necessary to work successfully with others.

4. Value the concept and procedures of “team work” and “esprit de corps” as a means of group accomplishment.

5. Aspire to a higher degree of musical proficiency and achievement.

6. Value music as a life-long enrichment activity, whether as a performer or listener.

7. Broaden the scope of his/her musical awareness and activity.

Course Evaluation Guide

Jazz Band Evaluation

These evaluations are based primarily on the standard of achievement and progress made possible by a regular practice routine. It is strongly recommended that each band member set aside, for practice purposes, a minimum of half an hour at least five out of seven days. These minimums should be exceeded whenever possible. Rate of progress and sense of accomplishment is directly related to the quality of individual practice.


A. Warm-up/Tune-up


B. Listening Assignments


C. Repertoire


D. Sight Reading


E. Jazz History


F. Improvisation/Solos/Progress/Section Work


G. Attitude/Punctuality/Preparation


General Comments

Junior Stage Band


– 100 = A

Senior Stage Band 90 – 100 = A


– 84 = B

80 – 89 = B


– 74 = C+

70 – 79 = C+


– 68 = C

60 – 69 = C


– 59 = C-

50 – 59 = C-

Jazz Evaluation Criteria

1. Warm-up - refers to the quality and quantity of warm-up routine observed before rehearsal and expected before individual practice sessions.

2. Listening Assignments - students are expected to listen to various recorded examples of jazz styles. Aural analysis is expected and transcriptions are assigned to senior players. Tapes and records are available from the instructor as well as recommended lists of records and tapes for individual purchase.

3. Repertoire - students are tested on pieces of music from the performance folder. Of particular consequence is the student’s jazz interpretation.

4. Sight Reading - indicates ability to play pieces of music from beginning to end,

Of particular consequence is the student’s jazz

without stopping, at first sight. interpretation.

5. Jazz Theory - fundamentals of jazz theory are tested periodically throughout each term.

6. Improvisation/Solos/Section Work - These three concepts are dealt with on a regular basis. Students are periodically assessed as to their progress with any or all of these essential jazz elements.

7. Attitude - since the jazz ensembles are taken in addition to concert bands at Robron, an additional effort is expected from jazz ensemble members. Assessment is made on each band member’s co-operation and attempt to do one’s best during rehearsals and performances.

8. Punctuality












9. Preparation - indicates the consistency with which a band member comes to rehearsal properly equipped with pencil, all required music, reeds, mutes, patch cords, etc.

Brian Lillos can be reached at

Teaching should be evaluated. In an ideal world the evaluation would be by people with
Teaching should be evaluated. In an ideal world the evaluation would be by people with
Teaching should be evaluated. In an ideal world the evaluation would be by people with
Teaching should be evaluated. In an ideal world the evaluation would be by people with

Teaching should be evaluated. In an ideal world the evaluation would be by people with subject competency – your peers. In an ideal world you would have the opportunity and motivation for self-assessment and growth. In the real world, you are likely to be evaluated by a “generic manager” with no competency in your subject area. These evaluators will have a long list of forms/criteria they will work from.

The following is an example:

Teacher’s name:

Brief description of classroom activity observed



Class Size







Teaching towards perceivable objection – focus upon particular learning target(s)


Objective(s) appropriate for the learner – not already attained or too difficult


Organization in handling both materials and time – good planning and preparation


Interesting and challenging learning tasks - including variety and well chosen support materials


Progress in developing acceptable student work habits and study skills – including self-discipline and responsibility


Provision for differences in ability among the students


Has the respect and confidence of the students







Effective evaluation of activities


Communication with parents


Classroom environment which is conducive to learning


Brian Lillos can be reached at

There are rooms full of books written on these subjects so I will be try
There are rooms full of books written on these subjects so I will be try
There are rooms full of books written on these subjects so I will be try
There are rooms full of books written on these subjects so I will be try

There are rooms full of books written on these subjects so I will be try and be brief and examine only the points that have, in my opinion, particularly affected my teaching of jazz. Firstly, when we test our students, are we testing the learner or are we testing the teacher and the learner? Are we testing the student’s ability to master a subject and the teacher’s ability to teach mastery or just the student’s ability to master? In my opinion, if I am only testing the student’s ability to master, it puts me in that “Jazz God” role and I think we dispelled those rumours in a previous chapter.

I believe that student success and teacher ability are strongly linked. If your students

are all failing an exam then, in my opinion, you failed to teach the materials properly. If the test is not measuring effectively what was taught and learned, who constructed the test? It wasn’t the student?

Teaching and learning is a shared responsibility. It is a co-operative venture.

I can only teach what I know. I only know from where I’ve been. And the student, in

the initial stages, can only go where I guide them. It is very similar in the arts, to real parenting. Success is a shared responsibility. So is failure. We, in jazz schools all over

the world, list our most successful alumnus. We try to take credit for developing a pathway for them so it will help us with recruiting freshman and securing endowments. Do we ever take credit for our failures? I had this dream several years ago when I was the Director of Jazz Studies and in a recruiting competition with a very famous American University. I dreamt that this famous University advertised its failures.

Hopefully, you can see that I am from the “mastery school of learning” and its context is completely different from the “blame frame” school. And I know by now that, you may be questioning my perfect world. You know the one. The one where our students do their homework and when we test them we are testing their ability to learn and our ability to teach?

Here is my rant. Did we develop an abusive instructional mindset over time or are we just not smart enough to be teaching? We all, I hope understand the pattern of abuse. It’s a learned activity and, to draw a parallel, we teach the way we were taught. For example, how can we still advocate a grading system based on the Stanford – Binet I.Q. test? How can we compound this by subscribing to a Bell Curve model of grade distribution? I’ll give you a couple of examples. Since its invention over 60 years ago, the Stanford-Binet test was considered culturally biased and racist. Test results were

Assessment and Evaluation by Brian Lillos

considered highly inaccurate of learner abilities and the education system was advised not to use it as a means of measurement. Why then does every student P.R. card have the I.Q. score in the top corner?

This bizarre battery of tests provided the ignition for another inaccurate educational tool, the bell curve for grading? It recommends that 5% of the students in your class should get an A and 5% an E, 10% a “B” and 10% a D, and the rest of the students (70%) should receive letter grades between C- and C+. There are many institutions and teachers in jazz studies that endorse this grading scheme. I believe that is an excuse for bad teaching and anyone that endorses it is making a case for “educational malpractise”. How is it possible, in a summer master class with Kenny Wheeler, that all of the successful auditionees would fall into such a pattern? Nonsense! Where did this bullshit come from? We introduced the concept of mastery learning decades ago but some still embrace the bell curve methodology. Imagine nurturing an artist under these circumstances. In my opinion its planning failure. You are the next generation. You decide whether or not to follow on this abusive path.

If you give someone the grade of “A” in your course what does that mean to another teacher or another institution? Is it not possible for the student to take their transcript of marks, course outline and a portfolio of materials studied (essays, tests, compositions, recordings, and assignments), as well as their program curriculum to another institution and have it evaluated? An email or a phone call may be necessary for clarification, however the institution doing the evaluation will quickly understand what I mean when I give a student an “A” in my course.

Brian Lillos can be reached at

There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology

There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology that fits this subject. The art form, like most art forms, is multi- dimensional and will not exist “inside the box”. Teaching jazz improvisation is as much about teaching creativity as it is about teaching jazz vocabulary and jazz grammar. Teaching creativity is an “outside the box” concept. It is a lifelong artistic journey.

Several challenges face the student and the teacher of jazz improvisation. Mastery of scales, chords, harmony, voice leading, and repertoire are pre-requisite and few teachers, if any, would disagree that they are essential. A concept often overlooked, however, is creativity. Teaching creativity and learning to be creative with a language is more about process than exact scientific measurement. The process requires the uniqueness of the individual to be explored. It requires a nurturing and honest learning environment to be in place. It needs to encourage risk taking and exploration, and at a higher level, the development of the creative spirit and the artistic voice.

In other words, language acquisition and development are completely about process. The teacher and the student need to understand learner styles and the “back and forth”, multi-tasking nature of learning language. (This can very frustrating for the “anal retentive” mind. It sees a great deal of ambiguity when learner “scope and sequence” do not fit an exact schedule. ) Unfortunately, for the anal retentive jazz educator, one can’t communicate in a language unless one learns to speak the language. But, one never learns to speak the language if one waits until one is completely ready. Language development is a “back and forth” type of thing, and from a scope and sequence point of view, it is a process where ambiguities can co-exist. It is the equivalent to learning English as a second language, only it is jazz. One has to babble, one has to fumble, one has to mispronounce the language. It is part of learning. One has to get on the wrong bus, say you’ll “knock someone up” (will call on them), try to purchase eggs at the dry cleaners, or take your car to the anthropologist for repairs. One has to sometimes get it wrong to eventually get it right. This process needs to be embraced by the teacher and the student and they both need to be “shameless” about it.

I am very proud to be a part of the faculty at Humber College in Toronto, Canada because we “get” this process. One of the genuine strengths at Humber College is its improvisation program. We attempt to provide the learner with the essentials, direction on how to acquire and use the language, opportunities to practise this in practical situations (jam sessions), honest feedback, risk-taking, and a platform for creative self-discovery and artistic development. The program has 5 levels of improvisation (2 semesters each) from preparatory to very advanced with complimentary repertoire courses as well as a 4 th year directed studies course for performance majors in the development of the artistic voice. Some courses meet 2 hours per week and some 4 hours. There are 14 different instructors, all with very specific skills. The curriculum, at the upper levels, requires students to “connect some of the dots” themselves. This however, allows teachers to work in their highest areas of strength and creativity (bop, post-bop, trane, post-trane, etc.). As a result, students are able to see different artists at work daily in their classroom and to look into their teacher’s creative process. All courses are performance based. Jam sessions are run by students 2 or more times per week and visiting artists usually present a performance/seminar once per week The improvisation curriculum is tune-based and we work from a tune list for each level. I invite you to visit our website where course outlines can be seen on Jazz improvisation and Repertoire Development in the Foundations, B.Mus. (jazz studies), B.A. Mus. (contemporary music) Programs.

There is an Anti-Christ to our approach. There are philosophies, teachers, and programs that will tell you that there is only “one way” to improvise and that it is “their way”. They prey on the misinformed. In jazz education, they provide a veritable potpourri of how not to’s, judgements, and broken egos. They represent the “carnage” of bad jazz education. They are allowed to exist for several reasons. Firstly, as teachers and learners we’re influenced by misinformation. We equate speed of learning with “depth of field” without realizing that no improvisor can say, in terms of artistic expression, at 19 years of age what they will say when they are 40 years of age. Listen to the development in John Coltrane, Michael Brecker, and Chris Potter over a 20 year period. Secondly, as teachers and learners we often compare ourselves and our students to others that have achieved more skill at an earlier age. In North America we have an infatuation with the “Sports Model”. Artistic expression is not a competition. It is not about composing a symphony as a pre-schooler. It is about self- expression. The winning in artistic expression is the fact you are able to express your thoughts. It’s a singular sport and no one is keeping score. In our culture, it is often a hard model to follow. Thirdly, in our affluent and technological world, we have become impatient for success. We want instant success because we are used to it in other

areas of study. Superficiality and artistic expression are at opposite ends of the “depth” spectrum. Expect it to take a long time to express yourself artistically and enjoy the journey. Fourthly, we live in a participatory culture – a culture of “edutainment” – and we let that fantasy affect our artistic reality. We think that “attending” is the same as “being there”. (We think that meeting Cecil Taylor in the elevator is the same as having performed with him.) Lastly, we have an insatiable appetite for inclusion and approval. Doing it becomes the same as doing it right. For these reasons, and many others, we as students and teachers, play into the hands of the “jazz pretenders”. We’re vulnerable and we should be provided with a “bullshit detector” at the outset of our careers.

To recapitulate, there is no “one way” to teach jazz improvisation. Teaching/studying jazz improvisation is very demanding. As a teacher you are mentoring and nurturing an artistic voice. Your scope as a teacher, musician, and person has to be huge. There are days when you would like to legislate creativity but you cannot. As a learner you have to have the maturity and wherewithal to connect the dots. If the teacher speaks in “tongues” you have to try and decipher it. You require patience in yourself and the process of language development. There are days when you’d like to force the growth but it fights back. It takes a lot of strength to learn that it is a “back and forth” thing and that it will take a lifetime.

For this reason this chapter is specifically designed to let you see that one size doesn’t fit all. There are different approaches. People have different strengths and different points of view. Opposites can co-exist. People speak through their artistic voice when

they are sharing what they really know.


Brian Lillos can be reached at

There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology
There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology

There is no perfect way to teach jazz improvisation. There is not one magical methodology that fits this subject. The art form, like most art forms, is multi- dimensional and will not exist “inside the box”. Teaching jazz improvisation is as much about teaching creativity as it is about teaching jazz vocabulary and jazz grammar. Teaching creativity is an “outside the box” concept. It is a lifelong artistic journey.

Several challenges face the student and the teacher of jazz improvisation. Mastery of scales, chords, harmony, voice leading, and repertoire are pre-requisite and few teachers, if any, would disagree that they are essential. A concept often overlooked, however, is creativity. Teaching creativity and learning to be creative with a language is more about process than exact scientific measurement. The process requires the uniqueness of t