Winnipeg's Jazz Magazine

July/August 2009: Jimmy Greene

Back to Schule with Doug Goodkin

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This August, the University of Manitoba is welcoming one of North America’s leading music educators to present his unique and innovative ideas about teaching jazz to young people. “The Jazz Course with Doug Goodkin” takes place from August 16 to 20, overlapping with the highly respected U of M Jazz Camp so that participants and instructors from both programs can benefit from the opportunity to interact.

In the introduction to his book, Now’s the Time: Teaching Jazz to All Ages, Goodkin identifies his two loves as Orff Schulwerk and jazz. The Orff approach has been the centre of Goodkin’s life for the past 28 years of teaching music to children. Jazz has been his passion even longer, informing his listening, practicing and performing. Music educators signing up for the course will see how he brings those two worlds together, and how they can do the same for their students.

What is Orff? Most kindergarten to grade six music educators in Manitoba schools are very familiar with the Orff Schulwerk as a dynamic and innovative approach to teaching children music. The method emphasizes joy and creativity through the use of speech, singing, movement, playing instruments and listening. Developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman in pre- and post-war Germany, the Orff Schulwerk has spread to all corners of the globe. It was brought to North America by Canadian educator Doreen Hall in the mid-1950s, and has a particularly strong presence in Winnipeg and Manitoba schools.

Goodkin has established a reputation as an extraordinary teacher. He’s also a perpetual student, avid reader, prolific writer, performing musician, social activist, jazz aficionado and piano player, Zen Buddhist practitioner and world traveler. One of his students describes his work as “a long, earnest and continuing struggle to present music of integrity in a way that affirms our collective humanity.”

The Marcel A Desautels Faculty of Music is a leading centre for training teachers in the Orff approach as well as a leading centre for jazz education in Canada, so Goodkin’s course is a natural fit. No previous experience or knowledge of jazz is required. As Goodkin says, the only prerequisite is unbridled enthusiasm! Enrolment is limited, so don’t delay.  Joan Linklater

Joan Linklater is the Associate Dean of the Marcel A Desautels Faculty of Music, and a leading Orff educator in Canada.

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