Saturday, April 9, 2011
It's a trend I've been leaning towards for some time. And having recently listened to interviews with Joe Henderson and Gary Bartz about how they teach/taught I've been emphasizing the aural approach in lessons more and more. Students have been learning Lester Young solos off of the recordings strictly by ear and memorizing them on their instrument with nothing written down. I've also been teaching them how to figure out the chords and harmony to tunes this way as well.
It seems like such a simple thing but "the ear" seems to be an undervalued asset in jazz education generally. Learning with the ears alone integrates every aspect of the music and music making all at once and serves for a more profound and much longer lasting impact. I can see the lightbulbs flashing on in their minds as the beauties of these solos reveal themselves in a way that the student has never experienced before. And in speaking with them afterwards I realize that their eyes are opened to the world in new ways as the ramifications of how this music was created begin to sink in. Hearing a developing musician come in and play these solos to me along with the recordings is such a beautiful experience that it lifts my spirits for days! Just had to say…