Campus Access Only
All rights reserved. This publication is intended for use solely by faculty, students, and staff of University of the Pacific. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, now known or later developed, including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the author or the publisher.
Date of Award
Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Curriculum and Instruction
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
In seeking to further exploration on the relationship between jazz improvisation and creativity, this study describes the pedagogical beliefs and practices utilized by jazz educators for the teaching of improvisation as a creative process. Improvisation has been an integral feature of the jazz performance tradition for well over a century. However, the field of creativity studies has only recently come to recognize improvisation as a site for the creative process. While the jazz performance tradition has traditionally operated with a more collaborative and community-based pedagogical model based on various playing opportunities such as apprenticeships and participation at local jam sessions, the growth of jazz courses and degree programs has raised questions on the efficacy of current teaching practices within academia. The following central research question guided this study: What is the relationship between jazz improvisation and creativity? A qualitative methodology served as a theoretical underpinning for framing two supportive research questions: (1) What pedagogical beliefs do jazz educators hold in how they conceptualize improvisation as a creative process? (2) What are the pedagogical practices utilized by jazz educators in teaching improvisation as a creative process? This study utilized Moustakas’ transcendental, phenomenological research design and defined the phenomenon as the process of teaching jazz improvisation. Seven expert jazz educators situated in a variety of teaching contexts throughout Northern California were selected as participants using purposeful, snowball sampling strategies. Twenty themes emerged and were organized through four features of improvised music found across a variety of genres: creative, spontaneous, social, and accessible. These findings challenge de-socialized ways of teaching and learning creativity and add to the knowledge base on the teaching beliefs and practices of jazz educators within the fields of creativity, jazz, and music education. In providing valid data through semi-structured interviews, observations of the participants in a teaching context, and documents such as syllabi, student handouts, and music recordings, this study is intended to inform jazz educators and academics of the importance of collaborative, fully-immersed learning opportunities for the development of the skills needed for jazz improvisation.
Coss, Roger G.. (2016). A Phenomenological Inquiry into the Process of Teaching Jazz Improvisation. University of the Pacific, Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/5
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.
To access this thesis/dissertation you must have a valid pacific.edu email address and log-in to Scholarly Commons.Find in PacificSearch Find in ProQuest
If you are the author and would like to grant permission to make your work openly accessible, please email
In Copyright. URI: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).