Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Shery Bennett

Committee Member

John Kellmayer

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


jazz canon, jazz curricula, jazz history, jazz history courses, jazz studies


The primary purpose of this study was to compare quantitative information concerning jazz history courses being taught in schools of music across America. The secondary purpose of the study was to solicit and analyze opinions from experienced jazz history instructors regarding the place and importance of these courses in college curricula. Curricula in use in university music programs that offer bachelor’s degrees in jazz studies must be evaluated regarding the content and relevance of subject matter presented in jazz history classes.

Questions concerning the number of semesters required to teach a continually increasing amount of material were paramount to this survey. Effective teaching strategies, resources used, historical periods discussed, and relevance of material were other topics of interest. The focus of this research was in finding the most effective ways in which to teach jazz history through a comparison of jazz history courses being offered at higher education institutions in America at the time of this study.

The findings of this study were documented of a commonality in jazz history courses being offered in college curricula, plus some significant differences worthy of comparison. Data from this study would be used to identify in-use trends and highlight teaching strategies. Findings of the study included an indication a norm of 1 semester, but a preference for 2 or more semesters of jazz history within college curricula. The inclusion of popular music within the curriculum was important in addressing several issues, including relevance of material, proliferation of music styles, and multicultural classroom environments. While teaching strategies varied, the data indicated most instructors designated a significant amount of class time to listening to musical examples.

The survey results included what textbooks were most widely used and what media and services were most common in providing recorded musical examples of the material. The data also supported the conclusion that the majority of surveyed instructors recognized the importance of the role played by jazz and popular music history courses in college curricula for nonjazz majors. Future research in this area should include jazz history courses taught at the graduate level. A periodic review of materials and their effectiveness would be helpful for the community of jazz history educators.