When you are studying jazz, the best thing to do is listen to records or listen to live music. It isn’t as though you go to a teacher. You just listen as much as you can and absorb everything.
I had a ninth grade teacher who told me I was much smarter and much better than I was allowing myself to be.
But the fact is, no matter how good the teacher, how small the class, how focused on quality education the school may be none of this matters if we ignore the individual needs of our students.
I had a teacher in art school who said something about the only works he really enjoyed seeing or found much in were works where he had a sense that a discovery was made in the course of making this object. I like to hold to that as my marching orders.
When I started writing full time I had not long stopped being a teacher and when at last I had a full day to write, I would put music on and wonder to myself – am I allowed to do this? Then I thought: ‘I am control of this and no one is telling me what I can do.’