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“I don’t know” why I’m getting an education….

October 3rd, 2003 · No Comments

Sadly, I saw glimpses of myself, who I was as a student, when I read this article about Branford Marsalis in today’s Seattle Times. Here’s an excerpt:

On the day we spoke, Marsalis had just finished teaching a music class at San Francisco State University, where he is an adjunct professor.

“My first task is to help students reject 18 years of poor learning that teaches them that knowledge is a product rather than a process,” Marsalis said.

“I begin by asking a student why they are in the class, and the usual reply is ‘I don’t know.’ I’ll then have the student play a C scale for me on their instrument and then ask them ‘How did that sound to you?’ The answer to that is also often ‘I don’t know.’ So then I say, ‘Well, now we definitely do know two things: You don’t know what you sound like, and you don’t know why you’re here … go home for a few weeks and think about it.’ ”

Marsalis feels that college-age students “should come prepared with musical ideas that can be developed, rather than just pay a teacher to tell them what to play.”

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