The jazz ensemble has become one of the dominant areas of secondary school music instruction and performance in Canada. The nature of the school jazz ensemble makes it an entertaining and motivating force within the school curriculum; this demands that the program be directed toward the highest quality repertoire to ensure that the students move beyond the superficial into a genuinely creative musical experience.

The John Adaskin Project (Canadian Music for Schools) continues to promote the development of an expanded and more varied repertoire for student bands, orchestras and chamber ensembles. This Guidelist of Unpublished Canadian Jazz Ensemble Music is an outgrowth of a doctoral dissertation in which detailed standards were developed and applied to Canadian jazz repertoire in the areas of technical difficulty, improvisational challenge and pedagogical value. Panels of expert jazz educators assisted in the location of repertoire, development of standards, and classroom testing of selected repertoire. The high quality of the included compositions results from the connoisseurship of the expert jazz educator panels. This Guidelist contains listings of medium and difficult compositions for secondary school use. No easy compositions were located indicating a serious lack of material for less experienced students, and it is hoped that composers and publishers will work to fill this gap.

The search for well-crafted, idiomatic and appropriate works for student performers is a time-consuming task which is made more difficult by the fact that very little Canadian jazz repertoire is published or available through music retailers. This Guidelist provides teachers with detailed information on recommended compositions to enable them to make informed repertoire selections. Although the location and evaluation of compositions has been as objective as possible, the uniqueness of each teaching situation must be acknowledged. Since musical tastes and technical abilities differ, the choice of repertoire ultimately must depend on the music educator.

This Guidelist reveals that Canadian composers have provided excellent jazz compositions for school use and that these pieces may be included in the curriculum to enhance the students awareness of their own unique cultural heritage.

Cameron Walter,

Director, Adaskin Online Project


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