This article is copyright 1998 by Antonio J. García and originally was published in the Illinois Association of School Boards Journal, Vol. 66, No. 3, May-June 1998. It is used by permission of the author. Some text variations may occur between the print version and that below. All international rights remain reserved; it is not for further reproduction without written consent.


The Necessity of Music Education

by Antonio J. García

As school board members and superintendents, you are charged with the welfare of the child, the teenager, the future adult in the work force, the very community. Music education is essential to the development of each. The evidence is widespread, available in research journals, in your morning paper, and on your evening news. From the budgetary analysts and business executives to the children and their parents, the message is loud and education fulfills a variety of needs, and it may even save your life.

Following are comments about music education from authorities in many fields. Perhaps they will persuade you that music education is an essential — and not an extra — in your school budget.


The budget

"Cuts in music budgets created the illusion of saving money, but the students previously in music groups were shifted to smaller classes. While a band or orchestra director may teach 75 students in a class period, other teachers generally have fewer. If instrumental music classes are cut, even more teachers will be needed to supervise the 75 students in other classes. The ultimate cost of cutting music programs is more than that of maintaining the programs. This principle, known as reverse economics, is unfamiliar to most administrators.

"Many cuts occur in the elementary grades because...they do not understand that if elementary school music programs are eliminated or significantly changed, junior and senior high school music enrollment will drop by a minimum of 65 percent....We pointed out that instead of the $156,000 the schools thought they were going to save the first year, they would spend...a net cost increase of $36,000. By the time those elementary school students...would reach high school, more than twelve teachers would have been added to replace the initial five cut, at a cost of $378,000.

"The administration reversed the cut."

-- Benham, John. "Defending Music Programs with Economic Analysis," The Instrumentalist, August 1991


The public

"'The 1997 American Attitudes Towards Music' poll...found an overwhelming 93 percent of the respondents agreed that music is part of a well-rounded education, and 86 percent felt all schools should offer instrumental music as part of the regular curriculum. 71 percent said states should mandate music education for every child. Community financial support for school music education was endorsed by 85 percent of those asked. Almost all -- 97 percent -- believe music helps channel children's energy in a creative way. Other benefits of school music cited by the respondents include:

Developing teamwork skills (96 percent)

Helping children to get along with others (84 percent)

Better grades and test scores (70 percent).

In all, 88 percent believe that music helps a child's overall intellectual development.

"Of the respondents who play an instrument, 85 percent began between the ages of five and fourteen...and 96 percent said learning to play is something they will always be glad they did."

-- "A Big YES! for Music." Teaching Music, Music Educators National Conference, October 1997



"Music lessons have been shown to improve a child's performance in school. After eight months of keyboard lessons, preschoolers tested showed a 46 percent boost in their spatial IQ, which is crucial for higher brain functions such as complex mathematics."

-- Rauscher, Frances, Ph.D. & Shaw, Gordon, Ph.D. "Music and Spatial Task Performance: A Causal Relationship," University of California, Irvine, 1994. Reported at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association and described in "Music Raises Scores on Spatial IQ Tests," Chicago Tribune, December 11, 1995.

"Music is better than computers for enhancing math and science skills, according to a research team studying preschoolers.... The two-year experiment included three groups of preschoolers: one group received private piano/keyboard lessons and singing lessons; a second group received private computer lessons; and a third group received no training. Those children who received piano/keyboard training performed 34 percent higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances the higher brain functions required for mathematics, chess, science, and engineering."

-- "Music Beats Computers," Music, Inc., April 1997 (study originally published in Neurological Research, February 1997. Also widely reported in other periodicals such as Psychology Today and by broadcast media.)

Georgia Governor Zell Miller wants to subsidize a CD of music for every baby in Georgia: "No one doubts that listening to music, especially at a very early age, affects the spatial, temporal reasoning that [underlies] math, engineering, and chess." ABC News Anchor Peter Jennings reinforced the historical findings: "He is so right, and every study confirms it. Give a child music; and you get a better, brighter child."

-- ABC World News Tonight, January 14, 1998.


Elementary School

"Now, schools are implementing arts-based learning, not just to broaden children's education but to teach discipline and raise test scores in reading and math. 'Research studies are finding that if we teach the arts in systematic, well-planned ways, they have interesting ways of motivating students in other areas,' said Karl Androes, co-founder and executive director of Whirlwind, a non-profit educational organization in Chicago dedicated to combining music, drama, and dance. "Arts aren't just fun,' he said. 'They can actually change kids' heads in productive ways.'"

-- Sowa-Wachala, Connie. "Arts Instruction Fills Gap Left by Cutbacks: Educators See Pupils Benefiting," Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1997.

"Martin Gardner of the Music School in Providence, RI introduced groups of first-graders to an advanced course in music arts and compared their performance with that of children in 'typical' classes. After seven months, those who had advanced training far outstripped the control group at mathematics. Plus, kids who had been poor performers in [regular curriculum in] kindergarten who were put in the advanced program [of music] caught up with and passed peers in a normal curriculum."

-- "Study: Music Helps Students Develop Math, Logic Skills," National Weekly Edition, July 21, 1996 (also reported in Nature, May 23, 1996 and the Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1997).

"[Scientists] can boost IQ levels by 10 to 20 points, reduce mental retardation by 50 percent, and cut school failure rates by much more.... Harry Chugani, a pediatric neurologist at the University of California at Los Angeles, agrees. Chugani, whose imaging studies revealed that children's brains learned the easiest and fastest between the ages of 4 and 10, said these years are often wasted because of a lack of input. 'We can head off a lot of the problems we end up having to dealwith down the road by beginning early to teach kids all kinds of things, such as a second language, math, and musical instruments,' he said."

-- Kotulak, Ronald. "Reshaping Brain For Better Future," Chicago Tribune, April 15, 1993.


At-Risk High School

"...Participation in the arts has an impact on many at-risk students' decisions to stay in school. The project, funded by the Florida Department of Education, included interviews with 28 school administrators, 85 arts teachers, and 40 at-risk students. Researchers found that 70 percent of the administrators interviewed and 89.5 percent of the teachers interviewed said that they were aware of specific cases in which participation in arts courses had influenced students to stay in school. Administrators and teachers also cited examples of at-risk students who, after becoming involved in arts courses, improved academically in non-arts classes. Among the at-risk students surveyed, 30 [out of 40] said that their participation in the arts influenced their decision to graduate from high school. Most of the students had taken Band (14), Art (14), or Drama (13)....

-- "Arts Education Improves At-Risk Students' Overall Performance, Study Finds," Music Educators National Conference MENC Journal, November 1992 (reporting on the project, "The Role of the Fine and Performing Arts in High School Dropout Prevention," available from the Florida Department of Education, 325 W. Gaines St., Tallahassee, FL 32399).

"A study of 811 high school students indicated that the proportion of minority students with a music teacher role model was significantly larger than for any other discipline. 36 percent of these students identified music teachers as their role models, as opposed to 28 percent English teachers, 11 percent elementary teachers, 7 percent physical education/sports teachers, and 1 percent principals."

-- Hamann, D. L. and Walker, L. M. "Music Teachers as Role Models for African-American Students," Journal of Research in Music Education, Vol. 41, No. 4, 1993 (as relayed in Music Educators National Conference Teaching Music, April 1997).

"'Coming Up Taller,' a recent report by the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, found that 'Safe havens of music, theater, dance, and visual arts programs have proved particularly potent in stemming violence and drug abuse and in keeping students from dropping out of school.'"

-- Reich, Howard. "The Way He Was: Barnstorming for Arts Education, Composer Marvin Hamlisch Reveals How a Piano Changed His Life," Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1997.


College-Bound High School

"Students with coursework/experience in music performance scored 51 points higher on the verbal portion of the SAT and 36 points higher on the math portion of the SAT than students with no coursework or experience in the arts. Scores for those with coursework in music appreciation were 61 points higher on the verbal and 42 points higher on the math portion. And longer arts study still means higher SAT scores. In 1996 those who had studied the arts more than 4 years scored 59 points higher and 41 points higher on the verbal and math portions respectively than students with no coursework or experience in the arts."

-- Profiles of SAT and Achievement Test Takers, The College Board, compiled by the American Music Conference, 1997.

"The College Board identifies the arts as one of the six basic academic subject areas students should study in order to succeed in college."

-- Academic Preparation for College: What Students Need to Know and Be Able to Do, The College Board, New York, 1983 (as relayed in Music Educators National Conference Teaching Music, April 1997).

"Do you ever notice how many of the annual Chicago Tribune 'Top 10' and 'Top 100' Illinois high school students are participating in their school's music ensembles? [Seven of the top ten All-State Academic Team cited music in their background in the May 3, 1992 Tribune.]"

-- García, Antonio. "The Illinois Music Advocacy Book: A Coalition Project for Us All," The Illinois Music Educator, Illinois Music Educators Association, Spring 1996.


Adult Music Training

"Dr. Alvaro Pascual-Leone taught healthy adult volunteers to play the piano and charted the resulting brain changes.... 'We taught a five-finger exercise, up and down the scales. One group practiced daily for five days. Another group used the piano without training; they just hit the keys....' His findings were swift and astonishing. 'There were tremendous changes in the size -- very dramatic changes in the brain's representation of hand muscles -- in the subjects who learned' the piano exercise, he says. 'They more than tripled the size of their brain's motor maps. And these changes paralleled their improvement in performance,' he says. Volunteers who just tickled the ivories aimlessly showed little or no change."

-- Chase, Marilyn. "Inner Music: Imagination May Play Role in How the Brain Learns Muscle Control," Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1993 (regarding a study by The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a unit of the National Institutes of Health).


Music & Medicine

"...The ability to use [the stethoscope] may be a dying art, according to a study of 453 recent medical graduates. The new doctors, residents from 31 training programs in internal medicine or family practice, made the correct diagnosis only 20 percent of the time when asked to identify common heart abnormalities by listening to recordings of patients' heartbeats. Residents who knew how to play a musical instrument scored higher than those who did not.... The sounds are faint and fleeting: 'In 0.8 seconds, you have four or five acoustic events at the threshold of audibility,' [Dr. Salvatore Mangione, an author of the paper] said. 'You need to be able to separate them, and pick them up as a pattern.' Doctors who lack that ability may harm patients by failing to recognize important problems...especially worrisome in today's era of managed care, because generalists -- including family practitioners and internists like those in the study -- are taking care of more and more people."

-- "Doctors' Proficiency with Stethoscopes Waning," Chicago Tribune, September 3, 1997 (regarding a study published that day in The Journal of the American Medical Association).

"Physician and biologist Lewis Thomas collected information about the undergraduate majors of medical school applicants. He found that 66 percent of music majors who applied to medical school were admitted, the highest percentage of any group. 44 percent of biochemistry majors were admitted."

-- "The Case for Music in the Schools," Phi Delta Kappan, February 1994 (as relayed in Music Educators National Conference Teaching Music, April 1997).

Music, science, and medicine make excellent educational and research partners-and can attract significant funding. On September 3, 1997 I happened across a local cable access program for students which taught the concepts of mean, median, quartiles, and standard deviation. One segment showed how Professor John Holland, a Biochemist at Michigan State University, and Mark Sullivan, a Computer Music expert, found that "people have a great ability to recognize and correlate sounds," terming this an "ear-cue" vs. an "IQ."

In order to make lab assessments of any metabolite deviation beyond the standard deviation ("how spread out the distribution of each metabolite is around its mean") more noticeable and less likely to be overlooked, they created a computer program which plays recognizable tunes such as "America The Beautiful"-and flags the technician with sour, wrong notes when the standard deviation of the lab test is exceeded. "The programmer has told the computer how much variation it should accept before playing a note incorrectly." Furthermore, different sour notes can indicate the diagnosis of specific, different diseases.

The video, originally broadcast on PBS, was a project of The Consortium for Mathematics and its Applications, Inc. (COMAP) and produced in association with The American Statistical Association. It was funded by The Annenberg/CPB (Corporation for Public Broadcasting) Project; Symbolics, Inc. (a manufacturer of processing systems); Bell Communications Research; Westinghouse Educational Foundation; The American Society for Quality Control; Hewlett Packard Company; and Union Carbide Corporation.

-- Against All Odds, hosted by Teresa M. Amabile, Ph.D., Associate Professor at Brandeis University, produced by COMAP and ASA, © 1988. For a copy, call The Annenberg/CPB Project at 800/LEARNER.

There is evidence that music boosts the immune system. A child's saliva, tested before and after a 30-minute music session interacting with simple, recognizable tunes, showed heightened immunoglobulin (a key indicator of the immune system) after the session vs. kids with no music session. Dr. Susan Shurin, an Oncologist, stated, "The attitude in the past has really been that it [music] is a form of entertainment. The significant impact is becoming very clear." ABC News Reporter John McKenzie summarized the likely explanation that "music reduces stress and the stress hormones that otherwise weaken the immune system." Deforia Lane, a Music Therapist, pointed out that "Music can decrease pain perception and alter blood pressure."

-- ABC World News Tonight, December 1, 1997


The Work Force

"Project Zero documents music students' increasing abilities to assess their own work, give and receive criticism, articulate goals, approach their work in an ideal, engaging way, work independently and with others, and draw upon available resources. What enviable qualities to have in a community's work force! And the Project shows that the benefits of the music program often spill over into the non-music classes. Answer that, budget-cutters!"

-- García, Antonio. "In Defense of Funding: Non-Musical Benefits of Music Ed," Music Inc., April 1992 (regarding "Harvard Project Zero and Arts PROPEL" by Howard Gardner, Art Education and Human Development, Getty Center for Education in the Arts, 1990; and "Tracing Reflective Thinking in the Performance Ensemble" by Lyle Davidson and Larry Scripp, The Quarterly, University of Northern Colorado Center for Research in Music Learning and Teaching, Vol. 1, Nos. 1 & 2, Spring 1990).

"The very best engineers and technical designers in the Silicon Valley industry are, nearly without exception, practicing musicians."

-- Venerable, Grant. "The Paradox of the Silicon Savior," as reported in The Case for Sequential Music Education in the Core Curriculum of the Public Schools, The Center for the Arts in the Basic Curriculum, New York, 1989 (as relayed in Music Educators National Conference Teaching Music, April 1997).

"As I meet with the management teams of each of the information services groups, I am often surprised at the substantial percentage, usually at least 80 percent of each group, who have had formal music training and, in fact, have majored in music in college. But on reflection, should that be so surprising?

"Musicians learn that music has an order about it...[similar to] information systems: rules..., logic..., languages, much like the musical score.... Business work experience today can be stress-filled, and those who have the ability to bring balance to their lives, I believe, are able to work with more intensity and at a higher level of performance....

"More broadly, all organizations are finding great change in the way organizations can be structured, in this, the Information Age. The information-based structure is flat, with far fewer layers of management. The old hierarchical militarymodel is no longer appropriate as an organizational model. Peter Drucker, the Clarke professor of social sciences at the Claremont Graduate School, and perhaps the most pre-eminent theorist on business organizations, [says]...that employees in the future organization will need the self-discipline to play their solo parts, but at the different times, to blend in, to harmonize with the rest of the organization. Perhaps you didn't realize then, that your student orchestras and bands are, in a way, teaching your students to be valued performers in the organizations of the future."

-- Kinney, James R., Vice-President and Chief Information Officer of Kraft General Foods, the largest food and beverage company in North America. From an address given October 28, 1994 and quoted in the Chicago Music Alliance Newsletter, October/November 1995.

"Both U.S. News & World Report and Time have reported on business programs that use musical examples to illustrate the parallels between creativity and management, suggesting that 'maybe you should just start listening to a little more Charlie Parker.' Crain's Chicago Business drew comparisons between string quartets and employee teams. The Boston Consulting Group praised Duke Ellington as a model manager, stating that 'the winning organization of the future will look more like a collection of jazz ensembles.' The corporate world is aware of the challenges it faces in inspiring its work force to excel. For this reason, Motorola called upon the NIU Jazz Ensemble, director Ron Modell, and myself to demonstrate parallels in creativity, risk, teamwork, leadership, and performance before 260 of its top U.S. managers. The presentation was so effective and irrefutable that Motorola had the ensemble repeat its program before more than 100 of its top international executives. Their standing ovations signify that the lessons that jazz teaches can be crucial to workers' success and innately part of music's creative experience."

-- García, Antonio. "Music Self-Defense," Down Beat, October 1991 (referring to "Plugging Into Creativity," U.S. News & World Report of October 29, 1990; "Let's Get Crazy," Time of June 11, 1990; "Street Talk: This Sound Management Tip Strikes a Nice Chord with Us," Crain's Chicago Business of March 18, 1991; and remarks of John S. Clarkeson, President and CEO of The Boston Consulting Group (© 1990).


Illinois Business Leaders and Taxpayers

"Education is a paramount part of our society. The arts, and music in particular, help build character and confidence. Music is one avenue that we can offer for a full and rounded education for our children, the future leaders of our country. We need to be focused on what is best for our children."

-- Howard B. Witt; Chairman, President, and CEO; Littelfuse, Inc.

"Music education creates in young people an appreciation for ideas far beyond those taught in more 'academic' subjects - namely, ideas about beauty and the human spirit. No life is complete without these ideas."

-- H. Laurance Fuller; Chairman and CEO, Amoco Corporation.

"Music education provides a balance in children's lives. As they become adult members of our community this foundation becomes invaluable. It not only allows them to better contribute to their vocation but may provide them with an avocation."

-- William J. White; Chairman and CEO, Bell & Howell Company.

"I attribute my ability to survive and even thrive during difficult times as being, in part, a direct result of lessons learned during musical education studied while growing up. It can be said that the quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor. The factors that spell out the essence of leadership and excellence, whether in the arts, in athletic competition, or in a highly competitive business battlefield, are similar and deeply imbued in one through early musical education."

-- Michael Winston; Vice President and Director of Global Leadership and Organization Development, Motorola, Inc.

Above comments from: García, Antonio. "CEOs Advocate for Music Education in Illinois-Won't You?," The Illinois Music Educator, Fall 1997.

Perhaps artist Ben Vereen sums it up best.

"Through experimentation with and an understanding of the arts, children develop self-esteem and creativity and learn new and positive ways to express themselves. I know. When I was a child, the opportunity to experiment with dance helped me find my way out of gangs and violence....

"Today, as much as ever, children seek approval and want attention. Our society wants to protect kids from the violence of the streets, but by cutting arts programs we are sacrificing a valuable weapon in the war against this violence. The weapon is art.

"The arts have been credited with reaching students who lack the inspiration and motivation to learn. They allow children to learn through self-expression by creating, drawing, dancing, and singing. Despite its proven effectiveness, arts education continues to be cut out of school curricula-not just in Chicago but nationwide....

"Every child should have access to the arts. In order to make this vision a reality, everyone-educators, arts organizations, legislators, and businesses-must take an active role in making sure that arts education once again becomes part of the overall education agenda for Illinois children."

-- Vereen, Ben. "Voice of the People: It's Smart to Support Arts for Kids," Chicago Tribune, March 18, 1996.


For Further Information:

• The American Music Conference: 760/431-9124 or visit its web site at <> (regarding the Gallup Poll survey and other resources).

• The National Coalition for Music Education and the Music Educators National Conference Information Services: 800/336-3768 or 703/860-4000 (including a book of quotations from renowned figures in the public and private sector regarding the importance of music: The Gift of Music).

• The Illinois Coalition for Music Education (via the Illinois Music Educators Association): 708/479-4000.


_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Antonio J. García is a Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he directs the Jazz Orchestra I; instructs Applied Jazz Trombone, Small Jazz Ensemble, Music Industry, and various jazz courses; founded a B.A. Music Business Emphasis (for which he initially served as Coordinator); and directs the Greater Richmond High School Jazz Band. An alumnus of the Eastman School of Music and of Loyola University of the South, he has received commissions for jazz, symphonic, chamber, film, and solo works—instrumental and vocal—including grants from Meet The Composer, The Commission Project, The Thelonious Monk Institute, and regional arts councils. His music has aired internationally and has been performed by such artists as Sheila Jordan, Arturo Sandoval, Jim Pugh, Denis DiBlasio, James Moody, and Nick Brignola. Composition/arrangement honors include IAJE (jazz band), ASCAP (orchestral), and Billboard Magazine (pop songwriting). His works have been published by Kjos Music, Hal Leonard, Kendor Music, Doug Beach Music, ejazzlines, Walrus, UNC Jazz Press, Three-Two Music Publications, and his own, with five recorded on CDs by Rob Parton’s JazzTech Big Band (Sea Breeze and ROPA JAZZ). His scores for independent films have screened across the U.S. and in Italy, Macedonia, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, India, Germany, Brazil, Hong Kong, Mexico, Israel, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

A Bach/Selmer trombone clinician, Mr. García serves as the jazz clinician for The Conn-Selmer Institute. He has freelanced as trombonist, bass trombonist, or pianist with over 70 nationally renowned artists, including Ella Fitzgerald, George Shearing, Mel Tormé, Doc Severinsen, Louie Bellson, Dave Brubeck, and Phil Collins—and has performed at the Montreux, Nice, North Sea, Pori (Finland), New Orleans, and Chicago Jazz Festivals. He has produced recordings or broadcasts of such artists as Wynton Marsalis, Jim Pugh, Dave Taylor, Susannah McCorkle, Sir Roland Hanna, and the JazzTech Big Band and is the bass trombonist on Phil Collins’ CD “A Hot Night in Paris” (Atlantic) and DVD “Phil Collins: Finally...The First Farewell Tour” (Warner Music). An avid scat-singer, he has performed vocally with jazz bands, jazz choirs, and computer-generated sounds. He is also a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS). A New Orleans native, he also performed there with such local artists as Pete Fountain, Ronnie Kole, Irma Thomas, and Al Hirt.

Mr. García is a Research Faculty member at The University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban, South Africa) and the Associate Jazz Editor of the International Trombone Association Journal. He serves as a Network Expert (for Improvisation Materials) for the Jazz Education Network and has served as President’s Advisory Council member and Editorial Advisory Board member. His newest book, Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading (Meredith Music), explores avenues for creating structures that correspond to course objectives. His book Cutting the Changes: Jazz Improvisation via Key Centers (Kjos Music) offers musicians of all ages the opportunity to improvise over standard tunes using just their major scales. He is Co-Editor and Contributing Author of Teaching Jazz: A Course of Study (published by NAfME) and authored a chapter within The Jazzer’s Cookbook (published by Meredith Music). Within the International Association for Jazz Education he served as Editor of the Jazz Education Journal, President of IAJE-IL, International Co-Chair for Curriculum and for Vocal/Instrumental Integration, and Chicago Host Coordinator for the 1997 Conference. He served on the Illinois Coalition for Music Education coordinating committee, worked with the Illinois and Chicago Public Schools to develop standards for multi-cultural music education, and received a curricular grant from the Council for Basic Education. He has also served as Director of IMEA’s All-State Jazz Choir and Combo and of similar ensembles outside of Illinois. He is the recipient of the Illinois Music Educators Association’s 2001 Distinguished Service Award.

Regarding Jazz Improvisation: Practical Approaches to Grading, Darius Brubeck says, "How one grades turns out to be a contentious philosophical problem with a surprisingly wide spectrum of responses. García has produced a lucidly written, probing, analytical, and ultimately practical resource for professional jazz educators, replete with valuable ideas, advice, and copious references." Jamey Aebersold offers, "This book should be mandatory reading for all graduating music ed students." Janis Stockhouse states, "Groundbreaking. The comprehensive amount of material García has gathered from leaders in jazz education is impressive in itself. Plus, the veteran educator then presents his own synthesis of the material into a method of teaching and evaluating jazz improvisation that is fresh, practical, and inspiring!" And Dr. Ron McCurdy suggests, "This method will aid in the quality of teaching and learning of jazz improvisation worldwide."

About Cutting the Changes, saxophonist David Liebman states, “This book is perfect for the beginning to intermediate improviser who may be daunted by the multitude of chord changes found in most standard material. Here is a path through the technical chord-change jungle.” Says vocalist Sunny Wilkinson, “The concept is simple, the explanation detailed, the rewards immediate. It’s very singer-friendly.” Adds jazz-education legend Jamey Aebersold, “Tony’s wealth of jazz knowledge allows you to understand and apply his concepts without having to know a lot of theory and harmony. Cutting the Changes allows music educators to present jazz improvisation to many students who would normally be scared of trying.”

Of his jazz curricular work, Standard of Excellence states: “Antonio García has developed a series of Scope and Sequence of Instruction charts to provide a structure that will ensure academic integrity in jazz education.” Wynton Marsalis emphasizes: “Eight key categories meet the challenge of teaching what is historically an oral and aural tradition. All are important ingredients in the recipe.” The Chicago Tribune has highlighted García’s “splendid solos...virtuosity and musicianship...ingenious scoring...shrewd arrangements...exotic orchestral colors, witty riffs, and gloriously uninhibited splashes of dissonance...translucent textures and elegant voicing” and cited him as “a nationally noted jazz artist/ of the most prominent young music educators in the country.” Down Beat has recognized his “knowing solo work on trombone” and “first-class writing of special interest.” The Jazz Report has written about the “talented trombonist,” and Cadence noted his “hauntingly lovely” composing as well as CD production “recommended without any qualifications whatsoever.” Phil Collins has said simply, “He can be in my band whenever he wants.” García is also the subject of an extensive interview within Bonanza: Insights and Wisdom from Professional Jazz Trombonists (Advance Music), profiled along with such artists as Bill Watrous, Mike Davis, Bill Reichenbach, Wayne Andre, John Fedchock, Conrad Herwig, Steve Turre, Jim Pugh, and Ed Neumeister.

The Secretary of the Board of The Midwest Clinic, Mr. García has adjudicated festivals and presented clinics in Canada, Europe, Australia, The Middle East, and South Africa, including creativity workshops for Motorola, Inc.’s international management executives. The partnership he created between VCU Jazz and the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music at the University of KwaZulu-Natal merited the 2013 VCU Community Engagement Award for Research. He has served as adjudicator for the International Trombone Association’s Frank Rosolino, Carl Fontana, and Rath Jazz Trombone Scholarship competitions and the Kai Winding Jazz Trombone Ensemble competition and has been asked to serve on Arts Midwest’s “Midwest Jazz Masters” panel and the Virginia Commission for the Arts “Artist Fellowship in Music Composition” panel. He has been repeatedly published in Down Beat; JAZZed; Jazz Improv; Music, Inc.; The International Musician; The Instrumentalist; and the journals of NAfME, IAJE, ITA, American Orff-Schulwerk Association, Percussive Arts Society, Arts Midwest, Illinois Music Educators Association, and Illinois Association of School Boards. Previous to VCU, he served as Associate Professor and Coordinator of Combos at Northwestern University, where he taught jazz and integrated arts, was Jazz Coordinator for the National High School Music Institute, and for four years directed the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. Formerly the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at Northern Illinois University, he was selected by students and faculty there as the recipient of a 1992 “Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching” award and nominated as its candidate for 1992 CASE “U.S. Professor of the Year” (one of 434 nationwide). He was recipient of the VCU School of the Arts’ 2015 Faculty Award of Excellence for his teaching, research, and service. Visit his web site at <>.

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