Most of us love the status quo, because it means we don’t have to think, i.e., strain our brains with problem-solving. We like to shop at the same grocery store, take our car to the same mechanic, and drink our morning coffee from the same cup. It makes the world feel safe, predictable, and even a little boring — in a good way.
There’s also a deeper reason we love the status quo. We’re afraid of change. If we don’t know the outcome, the outcome might be negative. We could lose out. We could fail.
On the other hand, we could discover something wonderful and new. We could make our lives better. We could win!
If we let the status quo persuade us to live every day as a repetition of the last, we’ll end up losing a lot.
So why am I writing about this in a blog about jazz education? Well, it’s because of something I often hear from educators, even though we hate to say it:
“Music education has not kept pace with the modern world trends that motivate today’s youth. Music education is outdated.”
When we think about trying something new in the classroom, the status quo wants us to think of all the possible objections. But just for a minute, think what we might gain!
Suppose there’s a new approach that’s added to the existing curriculum, not as a replacement but as a supplemental, modular unit. Suppose this new approach is more empowering for our students and less stressful for our teachers.
Suppose it leads to more engaging, student-led activities. It’s easy, fun, and practical, and combines excellent lessons in traditional musicianship with goals that specifically address the 21st century learning goals of Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creativity.
That approach might be great, but still bring up a lot of fears. Right? Giving up some control, forgoing normal teaching approaches, and trying new music — that’s all kinds of new territory all at once.
Wow – that’s overwhelming!
Wow – that’s so exciting!
This is where we in education have so much to gain. If we can allow new discoveries to enter our lives, we can be the spice of life for others. And, as teachers, isn’t this what we want for our students? Imagine a classroom environment bursting with lively interaction. Where fresh, original music creates epiphanies. Where rote status-quo practices are updated to include student-led initiatives. It’s all possible!
How do we address our own status-quo tendencies? First, we might ask ourselves a few questions about how the status quo is really treating us.
Here are some ideas to help you envision your new strategies.
And here’s an invitation I really hope you’ll take to heart!
Please click right now on https://calendly.com/playthegroove and schedule a time to chat about your secondary jazz ensemble’s goals and challenges. Let’s talk about some practical strategies to move beyond the status quo and get your players fired up.