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新島学園短期大学(Niijima Gakuen Junior College) >
10 新島学園短期大学紀要 >
第35号 (2015) >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10087/11613

Title: “What I Say”: Lessons From Jazz Improvisation For English Language Teaching
Other Titles: “What I Say”:ジャズと英語学習
Authors: Deadman, Mark
デッドマン, マーク
Keywords: English
improvisation
socio-linguistics
jazz music
Issue Date: 31-Mar-2015
Publisher: 新島学園短期大学
Citation: 新島学園短期大学紀要.35,127-149(2015)
Abstract: This research was sparked off by listening to the Miles Davis recording “What I Say”, a twenty one minute piece from the jazz album ‘Live Evil’, which was recorded in 1970. This track features Miles Davis and his ensemble of Gary Bartz, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett, Michael Henderson, Jack DeJohnette and Airto Moreira. Bob Palmer, of Rolling Stone music magazine, stated that “…in an area of music where individual virtuosity is the rule rather than the exception, give-and-take between players becomes all important” (Palmer, 1972). ‘What I Say’ could be a metaphor for student speech. The song doesn’t have an easily determinable meaning as it is purely an instrumental, as such without lyrics, but as with the jazz genre, it carries emotional resonance for each listener. Pérez- Sobrino (2014) in her research paper “Meaning construction in verbomusical environments: Conceptual disintegration and metonymy” looks at how different levels of multimodal meaning are rendered into verbo-musical environments. Pérez-Sobrino (2014) focuses on a particular strategy of musical meaning (re)construction, the way in which the different patterns of conceptual disintegration that structure the multimodal expression trigger the activation of metonymic reasoning at the conceptual level, in her study through classical music. Meaning (re)construction is here understood as a two-step process: the first involves the configuration of certain cues to structure the multimodal manifestation (product), and the second relates to the cognitive operations triggered at the conceptual level by those multimodal cues (process). In the case of another musician actually playing with Miles Davis, multimodal cues may trigger cognitive operations at both the conceptual level and through the activation of metonymic reasoning. In the case of someone only listening directly to a jazz recording, such as that of Miles Davis, cognitive operations may be triggered at the conceptual level. Atypical English language learners at college level may not find jazz music the slightest bit interesting, and when time is a premium in teaching, it is unrealistic to try to install some form of jazz music appreciation in class. In order to circumnavigate this problem, it is better for the teacher to understand such products and processes and apply these notions to actual lessons. Jazz improvisation, such as that in the recording ‘What I Say’, offers a new insight into teaching English, through improvisation itself. It offers a valuable alternative to rigid lessons and is easy to plan and apply. As with musicians learning how to improvise, teachers need to see through apparent ambiguity, an integral element in the genre of jazz, and clarify processes, meanings and products; and constantly question themselves. Such awareness and focus in lesson planning and adaptability and improvisation in class will allow them to pass on their ideas to the students themselves. This research paper focuses on what students actually say, in particular with a focus on improvisation skits during drama plays in a group environment.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10087/11613
ISSN: 1880-2141
Appears in Collections:第35号 (2015)

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