I've been having a dialogue recently with other colleagues who are full time professional musicians, primarily in jazz, and this thing keeps coming up. Jazz pedagogy has been saying for years that the "apprentice system" is dead. For context, we're talking about how guys like Miles and Blakey would teach guys the ropes, then send them on their merry way to foster their own careers, and train additional generations. The notion is that the only way to learn jazz now is in college, because the old guys aren't teaching the young guys the way they used to on the stand. The problem is, this just ISN'T TRUE. Christian McBride dropped out of college his first year. Michael Brecker did the same. Vijay Iyer (not my favorite player, but apparently tons of people love him) has a degree in physics. The list goes on and on. In NYC, you've got guys like Johnny O'Neal, who is constantly bringing young blood into his trio. Here in Chicago, we had (RIP) the great Von Freeman doing the same. The big names love to hire energetic young players who prove themselves worthy. In almost any city in America, you can find jazz musicians who know the living, breathing tradition, who would love to teach any hungry, dedicated young player how to play this music... the same way they learned. Jazz pedagogy can be a great thing. College is some of the best networking out there. The chance to just play 24 hours a day is very unique. I immensely enjoyed my time in that environment, on both sides of the podium. On the flip side, lying to generations of kids is a terrible disservice to them, the music, and our credibility as educators. The apprentice system ain't what it used to be, but it sure isn't dead. You can learn how to play LIKE a jazz musician in school, but you can only learn how to BE a jazz musician on the stand and in the shed. PERIOD. It's the way this art always has been, and if it's going to survive, it's the way this art always will be. End rant.