Survey of Longtime Artist-Educators Provides Insights For Attracting, Retaining Faculty
BERKELEY, Calif., Oct. 27, 2022 -- The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC) – the only private music conservatory in the country solely devoted to jazz – is saluting its founding faculty members who have worked with the school since its inception in 1997:
Bill Aron, Peter Barshay. David Belove, Stephanie Bruce, Jean Fineberg, Mimi Fox, Frank Martin, Susan Muscarella, Ellen Seeling, Marcos Silva, Wayne Wallace, Michael Zilber, and Dann Zinn.
Cover, "California Jazz Conservatory - A 25-Year Retrospective" (Cover Design by: Poulson/Gluck; Panel Design by: Deborah O'Grady) Susan Muscarella, Founding President, California Jazz Conservatory (Photo: Chris Hardy)
These longtime CJC artist-educators were informally surveyed, asking:
What attracted you to join the faculty in 1997?
Did you think the Jazzschool would last 25 years?
What has kept you associated with the CJC since 1997?
The majority indicated the key factor in joining the new faculty was the artistic and academic freedom promised:
"Susan allowed me to design my own curriculum based on my passion for my instrument and its proponents."
"Teaching at the Jazzschool gave me a chance to expand my own personal work as an artist and educator."
"The school gave me the flexibility to keep an active performing/touring schedule and then return to my classes as my schedule allowed."
The high aspirations envisioned for the school's future – together with the high level of proficiency required from the school's first teachers – proved to be a winning formula:
"I thought it would be fun and intriguing to teach the top-level advanced jazz group. I started teaching them in '97 and now, twenty or so DownBeat Magazine awards later, here we still are!"
Hard work – and enjoying the experience – were mentioned by more than one faculty member:
"It was the combination of hard work, high goals – and having fun while doing it – that was attractive to everyone involved."
Founding faculty were confident in the school's future:
"There was never a doubt in my mind that the school would be a success!"
One respondent expressed doubts – "Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be around for 25 years" – but cushioned her response by adding, "I have been very happy to have been proven wrong!"
The final survey question elicited a common series of responses, with multiple mentions of fellow artist-educators, students, the music, and founder Muscarella, as reasons they have continued to work with CJC over 25 years:
"It's the teachers who love to teach, together with the students who love to learn, that makes this place so special."
"The students all have a desire to learn and improve their playing, composing and performance skills. They are what the Jazzschool is all about."
"Susan created a welcoming environment for everyone…a true community of jazz lovers that has flourished."
Finally, a fitting conclusion to the discussion:
"The community of musicians…who share my love for this beautiful music…that's why we're all here. In the end, it is all about the music and sharing what you know and what you do. What else is there?"