Education at Its Best

Friends, Family, Professors, Classmates,

(Alex, I know you’ll never read this, but I wanted to include you on it anyways)

Many of you know that I am graduating from Swarthmore College this Sunday. (Many of you are also graduating from Swarthmore College this Sunday. Congrats!)

Truthfully, looking back on my time at Swarthmore, one of the best things that I acquired in my time here was an appreciation for jazz music (I know, it’s not one of the things the college prides itself on). Some amount of this occurred in the class room (jazz classes with Drew, but also in connections explicitly or implicitly made in music classes not specifically geared towards jazz), some occurred in performance enviroments (the school’s jazz band, but also less formal jazz outfits), and much of it occurred in conversations with friends (specifically, with Caleb, Madeleine, Jan, and Drew). Wherever and however it occurred, it is clear that it simply did occur. The first time I turned on a jazz album to listen to it was the fall of my senior year in high school. I enjoyed 5 or so jazz albums between that point and my high school graduation. Now, four years later, my knowledge of the art form has grown tremendously.

I’ve decided that it would be nice to begin a blog dedicated to writing and thinking about jazz. Specifically historic jazz. Its target audience needn’t know anything about jazz, although I hope to also offer insights for those of you more familiar with the genre. I intend to update the blog about once or week or so with some thoughts about whatever listening I’ve been doing that week (I’ll try to focus at least some portion of my listening each week to really get to know a single album). The first entry of the blog serves as an introduction to the project and may shed some more light on why I’m undertaking this.

I’m thinking of this blog in many ways as a present in honor of my graduation to all of you, who have taught me so much, both in terms of knowledge and in terms of interest. As it is customary to also receive gifts at graduation time, I hope that your gift to me will be in terms of readership of my blog, whether it is weekly or annually, seriously or just for fun. If you are moved to do so, I’d truly appreciate your gift of a comment or question on my blog from time to time. Hopefully this can turn into a discussion and conversation.

On a logistical note: maintaining a jazz collection is time consuming and expensive. I hope that this doesn’t get in the way of your ability to accept this blog-gift. Often, some of the tracks I am writing about will be available on YouTube. When this is not the case, I would rather send you the tracks by email than have you miss out on my blog (although, if you have the money to spend, I can always point you in the direction of finding the tracks legally for cheap). When reading my blog, if you don’t have the tracks I’m discussing and would like them, feel free to ask me for them. Finally, most libraries have some jazz collection (and many libraries are eager to buy more, they just don’t know what to look for). In particular, Swarthmore’s music library has a TON of jazz available, and their collection is always expanding.

It is difficult to find gift wrap to span this large internet, so please forgive my presentation:

Thanks again, enjoy, and be in touch!


2 Responses to Education at Its Best

  1. Liz says:

    This is a note written by my son, Dan, to his friends, family and faculty on the occasion of his college graduation. I posted it on the School Choice International blog because it showed me that he had had a wonderful education.

    Why do I say that? His email spoke about the learning that had taken place in the classroom, but also about the ways it had been supplemented outside the classroom. Dan left his college wanting to give back to those who had made such a major impact on his life. And he wanted to remain in touch, not only with friends but with faculty and administrators – and not only in a social context, but by continuing to use and learn about and teach others about the subject that had made the greatest impression on him while at school.

    All of these factors show me how wonderful a school Swarthmore was for Dan during his college years. I hope that by articulating them I can help others to reflect on what is important in the education of their children.

    Liz Perelstein

  2. я так считаю: шикарно.

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