The first National Conference in which I first presented a workshop was the National Association of Jazz Educators (NAJE) in Columbus, Ohio.
The year was 1984. Later, that same year I presented at my first AOSA Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. Both workshops featured a jazz arrangement of Green Sally Up, an African-American clapping game. It was the first step I had taken toward combining jazz and Orff Schulwerk. And it turned out to be significant.
By 1994, ten years later, I had taught six week-long jazz courses in both St. Paul, Minnesota and San Francisco. I had a manuscript for a book being reviewed by two notable publishers and had arranged many jazz pieces for Orff Ensemble.
By 2004, I had taught my jazz course in Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal and annually in San Francisco. My 8th grade jazz program at my school was now well-established, with notable jazz musicians—Bobby McFerrin, Milt Jackson, Stefon Harris, Eddie Marshall and others— visiting and expressing their delight with what the young ones could play. My jazz book, rejected by publishers who didn’t know where to place it in “the market,” was gathering dust in my closet. Determined to finally publish it, I created my own Pentatonic Press and took the bold leap into self-publishing.
On the 10th anniversary of its publication, Now’s the Time: Teaching Jazz to All Ages is on the cusp of its third printing and is joined by a first supplement, All Blues. The jazz course has continued to roam the world—Iceland, Finland, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Greece, Taiwan, Australia, Brazil, Argentina, Winnipeg, Calgary and still every summer in San Francisco. Pentatonic Press has birthed three more of my own books, one from each of my colleagues and many more awaiting their turn. I started a jazz quintet, The Pentatonics, who perform both adult and family shows and workshops (AOSA St. Louis Conference, Stanford Jazz Festival, SF Jazz Center).
And yet there are still so many teachers who neglect jazz in their curriculum. The excuse is that there has been no model for elementary jazz education. But now there is—
Now’s the Time
! The principles of teaching jazz via the Orff approach are now tried-and-true, affirmed many times over by a few thousand teachers who took my jazz course or used the book and tried the material with their students—with great success! There are still so many children waiting their turn to swing in the jazz playground— it’s not too late to give it to them. 30 years since that first Green Sally Up arrangement, 10 years since publishing the book, Now is Still the Time to bring jazz into your classroom! And this book will show you how. Enjoy!
Doug Goodkin is beginning his 40th year teaching music to children from 3 years old to 8th grade at The San Francisco School. He has taught jazz and other musical styles via the Orff approach in over 40 countries on every continent, chronicled on his blog: “Confessions of a Traveling Music Teacher.” See www.douggoodkin.com
for further information.