Words and Music by Steinhardt’s Programs in Foreign Language Education and Jazz Studies

Carolyn Graham and Lixing (Frank) Tang of Steinhardt’s TESOL program wrote the words. Dave Schroeder, director of the jazz studies program, composed the music. The result is China Chants II: Practicing the Rhythm of American English (Shanghai Foreign Language Education Press, 2008). The book and CD have become a popular learning tool for English as a second language instructors.

The interactive jazz background tracks created by Schroeder for China Chants II were used to give rhythm and cadence to the short English poems and chants that Graham, an adjunct instructor, and Tang, director of the TESOL program, wrote together for recitation by Chinese learners. The tracks were produced and played by Schroeder and Combo Nuvo,  the NYU Jazz Faculty Artist Ensemble in Residence.

This “seemingly odd collaboration” between two TESOL faculty members and a jazz musician has been rewarding for the authors.

“It was this element of surprise throughout the project that was most fulfilling,” Schroeder said. “Each of us was forced to work outside of our comfort zones, where in the end, we discovered our creative connection.”