Duquesne-MCG Collaboration Could Teach More Than Music

Article excerpt

When Edward Kocher and Marty Ashby think about jazz, more than music comes to mind.

Kocher, dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University, looks at it from an education standpoint.

Ashby, executive producer of MCG Jazz at the Manchester Craftsmen Guild, sees jazz as part of a philosophy that could help everything from music to the American automobile industry.

All that is part of teamwork the North Side's Guild and Uptown's Duquesne have stepped up to advance music as well as other thinking.

Ashby is an advocate of Daniel H. Pink, the author of "A Whole New Mind," a book that advocates creative thinking in all forms of endeavor.

He suggests business leaders would be better at their jobs if they approached them with the attitude of jazz musicians on a bandstand. Form+reaction=creativity.

That thinking and Kocher's belief in jazz education has led them to begin work to advance the music with the hope of furthering other schools of thought. Master classes, luncheons and performances bring college and younger students into close contact with professionals.

Kocher talks about a graduate-level program in the future that would create an ensemble that would be a steady performing entity in the area, thus furthering music education on a real level.

Kocher also is trying to reach younger players and their parents to stress the importance of improvisation and jazz thinking.

There are plenty of good band programs out there that establish musical groundwork. But Kocher wants parents to know improvisation is an important type of musical thinking, not just "making it up."

Getting through the chord changes of "Giant Steps" also could create a mindset that can help other problems.

The Duquesne-Craftsmen's Guild link isn't new, of course. …