Music and Free Thinking

Jazz festivals used to be characterized by freedom of expression -- people came who tended to be liberal-minded free thinkers. Liberal in the old sense of the word -- free like a song. It's a beautiful word used this way.

The greatest jazz festivals always welcomed the new thought, because it is symptomatic of our unfolding liberty. I am liberal in this sense alone.

Today the word is used to mean that we all must think communally in the same way. Communal societies are all ruled by elders, and it makes no difference if these elders are men or women --  they decide for the whole group what and how the group will think (even !) This is the opposite of liberal thinking.

Definitions are all important.

Rimsky-Korsakow said "To orchestrate is to create, and this cannot be taught." (from "The Study of Orchestration" by Adler) So the teaching of orchestration is simply the explanation of the functions and possibilities (the strengths and weaknesses) of all the various instruments, with examples of how each is used, separately and in various combinations. At the end, the artist is left with the daunting (or relieving) idea that you can do anything with this -- so what DO you want to do ?

It's an unnerving thought, to be left unlimited in expression, especially in today's narrow-minded world. Computer programmers then offer to take away your freedom even more by offering you voicings based on contemporary thinking, which has pretty much stagnated in the past forty years.

As bizarre as "Ethics" classes (ethics are usually societally ingrained ways of behavior based on the Golden Rule) are classes in "Improv" !? Will we have Professors of Faking in the future, or will we have again the free thinking (not cleverly cute "correctness") which our troubled world so sorely needs?

                                -- Al Copley