Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

"Growing the Jazz Audience"


  • Please log in to reply
25 replies to this topic

#1 MikeN

MikeN

    Consigliere

  • Consigliere
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,561 posts

Posted 25 May 2012 - 11:43 AM

http://kotaku.com/59...aybe-thats-okay

Do read the whole article, but here are some relevant quotes to us over in DCI-land.

Look, I'm under no illusions about jazz music's unpopularity. I grew up playing jazz, went to school to study jazz, made a living as a jazz musician for a while out of school. Jazz is beautiful, jazz is the best. And people, by and large, don't care about it at all.


"How do we make jazz vital once more?" is a question frequently raised by the jazz scene's various curators. The mission statements of many jazz educators' organizations, from the now-defunct International Association for Jazz Education to the still-fledgling Jazz Education Network, contain at good amount of the following mantra: By educating people, mostly high school students, in how to play and understand jazz, we are building an audience and ensuring the art form's future. Jazz education is not just musical education for its own sake, its an investment in the preservation of an art form and of a vital piece of America's culture.


But the vast (vast!) majority of students I've had were never going to become pro saxophonists, or pianists, or guitarists. They liked music, they wanted to play music during the day, but even after four years of Monk and Dameron and Mingus, they never really liked jazz. They didn't listen, they didn't care. My co-director Scott and I would beat our heads together getting these kids legitimately excited about playing jazz music.

Despite our best efforts, results were mixed. (I'll certainly allow that this was because we simply weren't very good teachers, but I don't actually think that was the case.) As difficult as it is to get a friend or significant other interested in jazz, it's much more difficult to get a high schooler to care. It's a demanding type of music to listen to; the sounds and textures are rich and often unpalatable, and the melodic language requires understanding to appreciate.



"When we ask 'How do we develop and maintain a strong jazz audience?'" Ellenberger writes, "what we are really saying is 'How can we convince millions of people to alter and expand their aesthetic sensibilities and their cultural proclivities so that they include jazz to such an extent that they will regularly attend concerts and purchase recordings?"


Jazz music is no longer relevant to popular cultureómusic has simply evolved beyond it, and like any outdated musical style, it's now the province of niche interest groups. (I realize this is an oversimplification, and that there are myriad other contributing factors to jazz's decline.) That's not to say that it is any less vital, lovely, exciting or fresh today than it was thenóby its very nature, Jazz can never become stale or routineóbut it does go a long way towards explaining why modern audiences are no longer particularly interested.


But you know what? Jazz's constant evolution is precisely why "How can we make jazz vital once more?" is in some ways the wrong question. As I see it, jazz has had no problem keeping itself vitalóit's just that it's evolved beyond the musical paradigm we typically associate with 'Jazz.'


That's a tall order that seems insurmountable. Frankly speaking, it can't be done, at least not as part of a prefabricated "strategy" to build an audience. You'd no sooner be able to create a sustainable audience base for jazz as you could for medieval plainchant.


Yeah. The closest we'll come to a resurgence will be cultural aberrations like the swing-craze of the 1990's. But that obsession was surface-level at best.



That's the fact that just as music has evolved, so too has jazz. He's right that acoustic bebop on traditional jazz instruments will never again rope in big audiences or lead to huge album sales. But jazz itself has diversified beyond that until it's essentially unrecognizable.


All of this is to say that yes, I think Ellenberger is correct: The audience for jazz as he describes it isn't really going to get any bigger. There's nothing anyone can do about it.



#2 Jeff Ream

Jeff Ream

    DCP Fanatic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 158,735 posts

Posted 25 May 2012 - 01:24 PM

yup

Jeff Ream
Westshoremen 89,90,95,96, 1996 DCA World Champions, Bucs drum staff 00, Empire drum staff 01 Shore alumni 02-,
RIP Sean Holton. We miss you and we love you
Dealing with idiots takes a special kind of patience and a hint of perversion. Luckily for DCP, I have both to spare

Unlike Congress, I never shut down.
 


#3 Quad Aces

Quad Aces

    DCP Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 419 posts

Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:55 PM

All good points - jazz seems to flourish in Europe and Asia, but not in the US.

Where DID the jazz drum corps shows go??

Edited by Quad Aces, 25 May 2012 - 06:58 PM.


#4 ranintothedoor

ranintothedoor

    DCP Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 398 posts

Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:22 PM

MikeN, thank you so much for posting this!

I've been at my high school band director job for 4 years, and this is our first year with a jazz band. It was encouraged by the students, and we've had a lot of fun with it. But this article really will help me sell not just the artform, but WHY we study the artform of jazz.

And I think your point about how this article relates to drum corps is right on. Instead of worrying so much about "how is DCI going to market the local show?", cute voting/ticket incentives (although that Operation thing is really cool), etc, we should let the quality of the corps do the talking! If the shows are fun and engaging, the audience will grow. If not, it won't.

Cool stuff!
Scenic City D&BC - 2003
The Cadets D&BC - 2005
Shenandoah Sound D&BC - 2007 - 2013

JMU Duuukes

Band Director, Strasburg High School, Signal Knob Middle School (VA)

#5 SFZFAN

SFZFAN

    DCP Fanatic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,011 posts

Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:52 PM

All good points - jazz seems to flourish in Europe and Asia, but not in the US.

Where DID the jazz drum corps shows go??

They went to Artsy Fartsy Land..... :thumbup:
Posted Image
Posted Image

Go Scouts!

#6 Plan9

Plan9

    DCP Fanatic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,759 posts

Posted 26 May 2012 - 09:22 AM

Jazz, like classical music is lost to our culture. Classical music is being kept on life support by cultural venues associated with wealth, schools and NPR. Jazz has been morphed to elevator music status on Clear Channel radio in every major market. So we may wish that education will make a differnce but Jazz is nolonger culturally rellevant. As far as DC is concerned, if we the fans continue to beat the #### out anyone that explores new avenues of Jazz..we stiffle any possibility of it as a musical platform for visual design.

Edited by Plan9, 26 May 2012 - 09:24 AM.

"Don't argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level and beat you with experience."

#7 Quad Aces

Quad Aces

    DCP Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 419 posts

Posted 26 May 2012 - 11:42 AM

They went to Artsy Fartsy Land..... :thumbup:

Cheers...to...that...!!!

#8 Piper

Piper

    DCP Fanatic

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,448 posts

Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:01 PM

What are corps supposed to play? Pop music that we can hear on the radio anytime we want? That would bore people to tears and it's not musically challenging.

#9 kaseyW

kaseyW

    DCP Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 750 posts

Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:19 PM

What are corps supposed to play? Pop music that we can hear on the radio anytime we want? That would bore people to tears and it's not musically challenging.

And yet, so many corps are doing it/have done it in recent years. Just like how BD played "When a Man Loves a Woman", and how the 70's corps (and years prior) revolved their shows around the current pop-culture of that era. It's just drum corps' way of reaching to what the audience knows as familiar.

Miles Davis was a brilliant marketer. He knew what was "hip", and what would sale. He never died old. He kept his music fresh - that's why you hear him in so many different genres - he moved with the times, yet he stayed "Miles Davis". Drum corps (like it always has) needs new and old. It needs to be progressive, yet retro. It needs to grab the newer audiences attention , yet entertain people who have listened to drum corps for the 40+ years it's been around.

No need for neoclassicism here.
Posted Image

#10 Quad Aces

Quad Aces

    DCP Veteran

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 419 posts

Posted 26 May 2012 - 01:21 PM

What are corps supposed to play? Pop music that we can hear on the radio anytime we want? That would bore people to tears and it's not musically challenging.

Not saying that - just asking where all of the "used to be " traditionally all-jazz shows and corps went (Blue Devils, Bluecoats, Crossmen (although they seem to still retain some jazz moreso than the others), etc.) - and why the disappearance.

Edited by Quad Aces, 26 May 2012 - 01:23 PM.





0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users

Please review Drum Corps Planet's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
The contents of this site are copyright (C) 2005-2010 DCP Partners, LLC and all rights are reserved. Requests for use may be directed to the DCP Office.
Drum Corps Planet™ and the DCP logo are trademarks of DCP Partners, LLC. All rights reserved. All other marks are the property of their respective owners.