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The "Finite" Art of Improvisation: Pedagogy and Power in Jazz Education

Ken Prouty

Published: 2008-05-04

This article is not a critique of jazz pedagogy, but rather, an exploration of how such discourses reflect, generate, and regenerate social interactions that are often deeply affected by power relations between various entities, such as the western art music tradition versus jazz, the educational institution versus the jazz performance community, teacher versus student, and/or administrator versus teacher. All such relationships have affected the manner in which institutionalized jazz pedagogy has developed, and how it is practiced and lived by all involved.

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So one of the things that improvisation has come to mean in the context of highly technological performance is that improvisation is the last claim to the legitimate presence of a human in the performance of music.

– Bob Ostertag