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Jamming the Classroom: Musical Improvisation and Pedagogical Practice (Music and Social Justice) (Paperback)

Jamming the Classroom: Musical Improvisation and Pedagogical Practice (Music and Social Justice) By Ajay Heble, Jesse Stewart Cover Image
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Drawing on a mix of collaborative autoethnography, secondary literature, interviews with leading improvisers, and personal anecdotal material, Jamming the Classroom discusses the pedagogy of musical improvisation as a vehicle for teaching, learning, and enacting social justice. Heble and Stewart write that to “jam the classroom” is to argue for a renewed understanding of improvisation as both a musical and a social practice; to activate the knowledge and resources associated with improvisational practices in an expression of noncompliance with dominant orders of knowledge production; and to recognize in the musical practices of aggrieved communities something far from the reaches of conventional forms of institutionalized power, yet something equally powerful, urgent, and expansive. With this definition of jamming the classroom in mind, Heble and Stewart argue that even as improvisation gains recognition within mainstream institutions (including classrooms in universities), it needs to be understood as a critique of dominant institutionalized assumptions and epistemic orders. Suggesting a closer consideration of why musical improvisation has been largely expunged from dominant models of pedagogical inquiry in both classrooms and communities, this book asks what it means to theorize the pedagogy of improvised music in relation to public programs of action, debate, and critical practice.

About the Author

Ajay Heble is Professor of English and Director of the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation at the University of Guelph. In 2023 he was awarded the Killam Prize in the Humanities. 
Jesse Stewart is Associate Professor of Music at the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University. He is also the founder of We Are All Musicians, an organization dedicated to fostering inclusive music making.

Praise For…

“Coming from two authors who are improvisers themselves, and who have sought out the views and visions of improvising musicians and thoughtful scholars, Jamming the Classroom paves a pathway for honing one’s skills, for evaluating the process by which improvisation develops, and for offering a critical analysis of improvisation and how it is taught/learned. This is scholarship at its best, where in this case the very best minds on the topic are featured in support of themes surrounding improvisation and pedagogical practice.”

—Patricia Shehan Campbell, University of Washington; Carleton University

— Patricia Shehan Campbell

“By highlighting the many ways that people learn and engage with musical improvisation, as well as the potential benefits of musical improvisation for both individuals and communities, Jamming the Classroom serves as a valuable contribution to—and indeed, may rise to the top of—the recent wave of studies that seek to trouble and expand received notions of musical values.”

—David Ake, Frost School of Music, University of Miami

— David Ake

Product Details
ISBN: 9780472056361
ISBN-10: 0472056360
Publisher: University of Michigan Press
Publication Date: October 12th, 2023
Pages: 190
Language: English
Series: Music and Social Justice