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The Dao of Jazz : Notes on Use, Chapter 1 - 'The Unbaked Cake'

Updated: Jun 16

The Unbaked Cake

One day a student was making a cake.

They followed a recipe with skill and diligence,

measuring precisely, with the right tools.

When the prescribed time had passed,

they took the cake from the oven.

But when they tested the cake,

the knife came up sticky.

'Bad cake!'

cried the Student.

'C minus, cake!'

cried the Student.

'Must try harder next time, cake!'

cried the Student.

A passing Master,

hearing the Student's cry,

approached, put the Cake back in the oven,

and continued on her walk.


The Games in Core Books 1 and 2 are deliberately presented in a minimalist form. The principles of learning contained within the Games are many and varied; too many and varied to think about, in totality, at the same time. Such is the way with these complex processes.

To fully understand, at all times, is impossible.

The Games are tools by which the Student can understand and harness their

cognitive processes in the course of learning. This process will come about

organically and intuitively as Student's interact with the Games in the context of

their instrument and other Musicians - though this process may not be immediately apparent.

While it is certainly possible to use the Games and principles contained in them in a pre-Musical context, and as free-standing diagnostic and supportive tools for Neurodiversity, it must be stressed that in the context of Music, The Dao of Jazz is an outward-looking method.

It is not intended to be 'the only method you'll ever need', rather to support a

Musician in their interaction with the varied educational and experiential avenues into Music performance. It is designed, partially, to bridge the gap between Musicians in traditional classical education systems revolving around written music, and Musicians in non-written or alternatively-written traditions, both traditional and contemporary, who have learned Music aurally, by mimicry, or through alternative formats such as tablature.

The Dao of Jazz is created as an accessible language and a sandbox within which to experiment with the fundamental elements of our musical traditions. Empowerment, Agency and Creativity are the outcomes, rather than specific quantifiable levels.

Assessment is qualitative and through process, rather than result.

As a Musician becomes more familiar with these principles and concepts, as their intuitive grasp develops into mastery, the Games will fade into the background, the barriers between the Musician, the Music, and the Universe will fall, and all that will be left is Truth.

Some call it the Great Spirit. Some call it the Dao. Some call it Flow.

Relax. Breathe. Trust. Listen.

Good luck, and have fun.

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