Jazz and samba will rock education

Learning is nowadays increasingly seen as a mix of formal and informal experiences. What we call “social learning” refers to the degree of interaction between learners of different levels of competence. Learning from the others, learning with the others are fundamental elements of the learning experience and essential for students to get full ownership of what they learn.

Samba and jazz tell us more about this new learning revolution.

An article by Seymourt Paper identified two innovative features in the learning process that takes place at a samba school: learning together and learning from the other.

“At a Samba School the dominant activity is dancing. But it has another purpose related to the Carnival at which each Samba School will take on a segment of the more than twenty-four hour long procession of street dancing. While people have come to dance, they are simultaneously participating in the choice, and elaboration of the theme of the next carnival; they are engaged in a common activity – dancing – at all levels of competence from beginning children to superstars. The fact of being together would in itself be “educational” for the beginners; but what is more deeply so is the degree of interaction between dancers of different levels of competence. What counts is the weaving of education into the larger, richer cultural-social experience of the Samba School.”

Another article by Joan Talbert and Milbrey Mclaughlin tells us how professional jazz musicians are committed to building communities through which young musicians learn to perform and through which their collective practice develops.”

As in the artisan communities of teachers we studied, communities of jazz musicians work together to develop their improvisational skills to create new compositions and arrangements, and to build and sustain commitment to jazz among musicians and the public.” A jazz ethnomusicologist describes musician communities : “Experts guide younger members in applying their technical knowledge by constantlt rehearsing and performing with them, thereby transmitting their deep sense of responsibility for the music… With time and experience, newcomers gradully accept greater responsibilities within bands, not only serving as soloists, but contributing original ideas for reperptory and musical arrangements”. (Berliner, 1994)

This makes me think of my nephew Guillaume, that just released his first jazz record – Sketches of sound – as a magnificent proof that talented learners can achieve incredible goals when they feel that learning is theirs!

© Guillaume Muller

© Guillaume Muller





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