[Dixielandjazz] Advice to private instructors?

Patrick Cooke patcooke at cox.net
Tue Feb 3 12:15:11 PST 2004

Bob Williams asks:
    >  What kinds of study areas would you suggest to a >private music
instructor to
>help train a young student to become competent trad >jazz musicians?

          Every conventional music teacher I have ever encountered teaches
music with a sheet of written music in front of the student at all times.
One will never learn to improvise as long as he feels he needs a sheet of
written music to look at.  You won't learn to swim till you get rid of the
water wings.  Don't be the one guy in the group that has to continue reading
the same tunes he has been playing week in and week out for months.
          If one is to develop an ear at all, he/she has to start thinking
of music in terms of the sounds of intervals and scales.......not how they
look on paper, but how they sound.
          Learning scales is fundamental to learning to improvise, and
important to any one serious about learning to play any kind of music.
       Everyone knows how a major scale sounds..i.e they can sing it.
Learning to play it in any key without seeing it written in other keys
should not be too difficult to do.  Keep practicing them in all keys
(without reading) till you're sick of them, then practice them some more.
       Learn and practice all the scales (dorian, phrygian, etc) in a
similar fashion, using the written page only until you learn how they sound,
and can sing them.  Then put the written music aside, and play them using
your ears.
       Learn chord arpeggios the same way.  Then start listening to your
favorite jazz players.  With all the scales and chords burned into your
brain, you should be able to play almost anything you can hear that is
within your sphere of execution.
        Pat Cooke

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Williams, Bob" <robert.c.williams at eds.com>
To: "DJML" <dixielandjazz at ml.islandnet.com>
Sent: Monday, February 02, 2004 1:04 PM
Subject: [Dixielandjazz] Advice to private instructors?

> Y'all:
> I'm currently serving on the Education Committee of the Sacramento
> Traditional Jazz Society, mostly in a desperate effort to meet chicks.
> pretty sad, lemme tell ya.
> One of the things our group does is control scholarships to young jazz
> students who apply and write compelling essays or otherwise curry our
> favo(u)r.  We do not control from whom the student receives instruction.
> However, I asked if we had a list of subjects we would like to see
> if the instructor were amenable to such advice, to prepare a student to be
> better "trad" jazz player.  It turns out there is no such list, and as I
> the idiot who axed the question, I was tasked with compiling one.
> I therefore turn to my learned and occasionally bombastic friends on the
> What kinds of study areas would you suggest to a private music instructor
> help train a young student to become competent trad jazz musicians?
> - Bob Willia
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