Jazz Education has been missing something since it first entered the public schools in the 1950s. Jazz educators have preached that improvisation is the lifeblood or the core of jazz music ever since that time. Meanwhile, jazz musicians and college professors have written hundreds of method books for teaching improvisation. However, actual classroom band teachers have been too busy trying to twist and manipulate and supplement with various methods in their jazz ensembles to take sufficient time to create a method book that is actually effective in the classroom. With rare exceptions, generations have now gone through our jazz programs with only the slightest and mostly ineffective attention to improvisation, and the only students who learn to do it are those who can take private lessons from a qualified musician.
Curtis Winters is a public school jazz educator at Orem Junior High, in Orem, UT. He has created the Improv Pathways method to make it easy to teach jazz improvisation during regular jazz band rehearsals.