Friday, March 2, 2012

Black Music Curriculum Proposal

Mr. William Bergsma
Director, School of Music
University of Washington

May 20, 1968

Dear Mr. Bergsma:

Enclosed you will find a curriculum proposed by myself and Mr. Joe Brazil. We suggest that the student play a vital part in the study and research of the subject, not only learning by books but by actual participation. In this way the student is then able to identify with music, living it and developing his own.

Yours very truly,
Byron Pope
Joseph Brazil

Proposal for Studies to be Added to the School of Music, University of Washington


A. A general outline; research into all facts of black music, touching on the inter-relation of music, the common language of man.

B. History of Black musicians
(a) Origin stemming from Africa
(b) Influence of the classical Western style
(c) Concept of improvisation - its part in modern music


A. History of African instruments
(a) Types, construction, sounds
(b) The voice as an instrument
(c) Instruments as an ethnic fold art form

B. Western instruments
The first contact with western instruments, how they were quickly adopted, utilized.

This part of the course would give the student a good understanding of the similarities and differences between Western and African instruments. The student would participate in the formation of a group playing African folk music with folk instruments, as well as contemporary music.


Various groups and instrumentalists in concert, representing all styles of jazz, from the earliest known forms. The guest artists would be encouraged to lecture on their own particular style and invite questions from the students after their performance. Through direct contact, the student would then be able to evaluate these styles and summarize the development of jazz.


(a) History of Black composers
(b) A study of spontaneous creation, as in African, Eastern musics, not dependent on documentation
(c) The role of memory in the development of folk music and contemporary improvisation

Instructors needed would be specialists in various histories, instruments, ensemble instructors and instructors in modern composition.

This proposal was created and compiled by Joe Brazil and Byron Pope May 22, 1968.

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