Jazz vs. Classical

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5 thoughts on “Jazz vs. Classical”

  1. Ben, I enjoyed reading your comments on having Eugene and Bonnie as classroom observers. As a 31 year veteran in the field of education, what you pulled from Eugene as Classical vs. Jazz is all too true and relates to many areas other than language and TPRS. Sharon Hamilton, Albuquerque Public Schools

  2. I would like to order up one extra life just to discuss that topic! And it’s not to bash classical – Bach is one of the greatest jazz musicians ever, perhaps, but in a time when mind and order ruled, so that it had to be written down and scripted, down to the the littlest detail. And that is certainly not to say that Bach and those boys couldn’t reach to the heavens via such scriptedness. Bach saw it as his job to do that!

    Eugene and Bonnie were just so wonderful because they seemed to see so much and brought so much. Fresh eyes. It is not always true with visitors, as many of us know, some of whom bring in what they want to see and thus create it when they observe.

    They saw the wonderful ordered disorder of the stories and pointed it out to me in a way that I had not seen myself. There was no doubt that each story was the same story, from the same script, but each one that they saw was also totally different. Jazz. The returning to the leitmotifs of the three target phrases via the three locations and the recyclings and the retells and the readings. The simplicity within the complexity, which all fits together in a vast seeming confusion of words, but which is not confused at all. Art imitates life! Thanks, Sharon, for those years of public service as well as this insight which makes me greedily want to have more lives – o.k. just one please thank you – to think about what all this jazz, all this change, all this growing, all this coltraneness, all this susiegrossness, really is.

  3. Ben, I like the Jazz/Classical analogy. Each is beautiful in its own way and in its proper place. (I think the Dictee – which I have been using with positive results – is the Classical music of TPRS, because it must be extremely structured and exact to work.)

    A bit off topic, but I just have to share. Today in class we were doing a reading. In the story, one character hit another with a shoe. I realized that my students needed a “state change”, so I went to the board and drew a picture of a head and shoulders. Then I told my students to throw a shoe at “Lorenz”. Once they got over the shock, we had a great time, and the rest of the period came alive. I think they will remember this one!

  4. …or bluegrass: everybody feels the underlying structure (more obviously than they do for jazz), everything works together, but there’s improv which hasnto be tuned into what the bottom end is doing.

  5. Oh the jazz… I’ve pondered this analogy before. Often while listening to Miles Davis an John Coltraine on “Round About Midnight”. There’s more to jazz than frantic solos and whaling horn choruses. There are the countless hours of playing scales. Just scales. Major scales, minor scales, Dorian scales, scales, scales, scales. The thing is that you need to acquire the scales to play jazz. If you memorize them, that’s cool, but you still don’t know what to do when a chord change happens, and they happen 3-8 times in a 4 count measure. You need to be able to listen to those changes subconsciously and reply with meaning and emotion.

    To quote The Simpsons “The blues isn’t about expressing how sad you are. It’s to make other people sadder than you.” I paraphrase that by saying TPRS isn’t to make the kids proficient, it’s to make them more proficient than we were at their age. I think that this is one of the scariest and most threatening things about TPRS for “traditional” teachers to fathom. The kids will be more proficient than you were, but that’s okay… it’s jazz.

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