Teaching Music in the 21st Century, with Wynton Marsalis of Jazz at Lincoln Center, Part 2

Jazz at Lincoln Center is excited to offer a series of Jazz Fundamentals videos.

Join Wynton Marsalis as he lays out his vision for Jazz Education in the 21st century at the 2012 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic in Chicago. Learn more about celebrating Jazz Appreciation Month.

Also view Parts 1-5 in this series.

“Teach as if the cultural life of our nation depends on what we choose to teach. … It’s so much deeper than the notes.”

Part 6: Wynton Marsalis on his father, a band director, and the other teachers in his life.


“My father used to say, ‘Playing is the best way to learn—not talking, playing.’”

Part 7: Wynton Marsalis on attending, at age 15, a master class by Yo-Yo Ma, and how that influenced his love of music. He also discusses other great teachers’ influences on his upper-level education.


On Yo-Yo Ma: “We were inspired and lifted, and it’s a memory all of us share, and we can remember … how impressed we were with his humanity and the gracious way that he treated all of us in the time that he spent.”

Part 8: Wynton Marsalis on his last high school teacher, George Janson.


“To say I loved [George Janson] would be an understatement. He was one of the only white teachers who would teach black students in the pre-Civil Rights era.”

Part 9: Wynton Marsalis shares his own teaching experience, and what music teachers can do to become catalysts for real advancement and change.


“This education in music is all a cycle. It’s a continuum. … It’s about passing along timeless fundamentals. The technological tools only allow us to teach more of what is important about being human. They are means. The human content is the end. … Music is a conduit to understanding much more than music itself.”

Learn more: