A comparative and historical survey of four seminal figures in the history of jazz education
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The history of jazz is well-documented, with a substantial quantity of available literature. The number of jazz biographies, jazz histories, jazz theory books, jazz improvisation books, jazz pedagogical books, jazz articles and journals/periodicals, and critical essays on jazz is extensive. However, the number of publications of histories of jazz education is virtually non-existent. As a result, the archiving of jazz’ significant educators and their achievements is in danger of being lost for any meaningful use as an invaluable academic resource. This is an historical investigation into how Leon Breeden, Clem DeRosa, Dr. William Lee, and Fr. George Wiskirchen, during a formative period of jazz education, improved the quality of their jazz programs as well as the quality of jazz education. Issues discussed include problems each figure encountered and how they managed those problems in their respective jazz programs, insights into their instructional and administrative strategies to further enhance jazz education, and their personal and professional philosophies, ultimately contributing to the development of jazz education. The paper additionally provides an historical discussion of each figure and a brief history of jazz education. Additional topics include fundraising, recruiting, facilities, program growth and recognition, and how they promoted their program. Discussion of fundraising presents their ability to generate funds beyond the normal scope of their annual budget; recruiting students to any program is a major issue, and each figure utilized different strategies for spurring interest and excitement in prospective students; facility usage provides insight into how they managed to develop and maintain enthusiasm in the students despite being provided poor quality facilities; and how they were able to create recognition for their program through their own creativity further illuminates their significance. Methods of research include live, recorded interviews of all four principal figures, as well as recorded interviews with alumni of each figure. Additional research included journal articles, research papers from jazz education organization conferences, books, a recording, and a dissertation.