Jazz Pedagogy for the Classical Piano Teacher: Introducing Jazz to Beginning- and Intermediate-Level Students
Trapp, Brooke E
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The main goal of the traditional private piano lesson setting is to build skills that will lead to fluency in important classical repertoire. Jazz music is considered to be native to American culture, but music education today is largely Euro-centric. While the study of Western music is undeniably important for developing pianists, the exclusive focus on this area leaves little time for the exploration of skills that can be presented through jazz. Plenty of resources with jazz-inspired repertoire already exist for beginning and intermediate piano students, but the knowledge and skills students can obtain from learning jazz extend beyond the ability to read notation and interpret style through visual symbols. Furthermore, American piano students should have access to a diverse education in which jazz as a cultural art form is studied alongside music of the standard European tradition. This project will attempt to fill the gap in beginning and intermediate pianists’ curriculums by offering practical solutions for classical piano teachers who have had little to no exposure to jazz music. With a focus on aural training, creativity, harmonic understanding, and confidence in improvising through the jazz idiom, the curriculum presented in this project provides a foundation for beginning piano students to engage with jazz music aurally, using their minds and ears to adopt this important style of playing and develop new ideas within this style in a creative manner.