A Word on Teaching from David Bloom
Much of my teaching philosophy I received from my icon-of-education father, Benjamin Bloom. He believed that there is only a very small group of people that can’t learn at a high level. His work proved most can learn under the right conditions. I always look at each student who walks into the school as someone who can learn to make music at a professional level. That is, if they have the passion. What’s given me great pride is having developed a teaching pedagogy that allows virtually anyone who puts the work in, to ascend to a deeply fulfilling level.
Helping students to find their own individual voice is always the ultimate goal. In jazz, individuality is critical. True educators put the responsibility of teaching on themselves, not the students. It easy to blame the student for the laziness or incompetence of the teacher.
Although it is true that students who don’t do the work won’t learn, it is equally true that a successful outcome will happen if you start a serious student at the correct level and then move the student linearly and incrementally, not skipping the steps that many teachers miss.
Teaching at the right speed is crucial. If you’re to fast you alienate, and if you’re too slow you bore them. When learning is fun and the student doesn’t have to wait for weeks or months to feel improvement there is a strong impetus to continue. Students from all levels of accomplishment have come to the school; beginners who want to get in on the magic of music through professionals who want to present their music at a world-class level.