Where Joseph Campbell intersects with jazz

Which comments in these excerpts, from an article in Downbeat by Todd Kelly about a music workshop for adolescents, are lucid and instructive, and which are muddled? Is any of them a useful parallel to photography?

Keith Pray: “The importance of learning by ear is the simple fact that if you know how to listen and think for yourself, you have a large advantage over many people… especially in an age where the education system has been turning out students who can’t think for themselves and can’t problem solve. Kids are very good at learning and accessing information, but fewer and fewer people can actually use their skill set to solve problems in their lives. The camp is about showing students what is possible, then helping them explore those possibilities.

“We don’t teach theory or use written music, but we do teach them some of the basic notes, idiomatic phrases and stylistic techniques that work traditionally and encourage them to play those notes and techniques with their own voice. It is about increasing their awareness and allowing them to make choices that immediately affect the music they are playing.

“We hope that they then take these skills and apply them to everything they do, in or out of a classroom.”

Arthur Falbush: “We knew above all the program had to be fun and challenging and that our curriculum should reflect how jazz had been taught before academia became involved.

“Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to talk to many of my musical heroes and ask them how they learned. Without exception, the answer was by ear and on the bandstand. So this is the path we tried to take. The other ingredient was passion. I always think of a quote by the mythologist Joseph Campbell, ‘Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery’ …instead of teaching scales and chords, we teach melody and harmony, phrasing and nuance – which is the poetry that is built out of scales and chords. So many times in school, jazz is taught so that the theory comes first before the music. But inspiration comes from the music, not from the theory.”