Music educators’ group honors Pacific jazz director

Patrick Langham

Patrick Langham is a professor and program director for Jazz Studies at Pacific's Conservatory of Music

Patrick Langham, University of the Pacific’s director and professor of jazz studies, has been named the Outstanding Jazz Educator of 2021 by the California Association for Music Education, Bay Area.

CMEA, Bay Area is comprised of music educators from K-12 public and private schools, universities, and colleges.

“CMEA is an organization where music educators discuss trends in music education and are active in making sure it is available in all schools,” Langham said. “It’s basically my peers, kindergarten through college. This is an honor for them to have voted me as outstanding jazz educator.”

There were three other awards from the organization for Pacific graduates:

Chavonta Edington ’99 received the organization’s Beyond the Baton Award, which honors teachers who utilize music education to foster compassion, integrity, and dependability. Edington teaches at Diablo Vista Middle School in Danville.

 Jenny Anderson ’95 received the Gilbert T. Freitas Memorial Award, which recognizes a teacher with more than seven years of experience who influences the musical education community. Anderson teaches at Raymond Fisher Middle School in Los Gatos.

Timothy M. Smith ‘78 received the group’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He has conducted honor bands and all-state bands throughout the West Coast and has been affiliated with numerous youth music camps. He also has taught conducting to many levels of musicians.

Langham has been involved in CMEA since 2003 and plans to continue expanding the organization’s impact.

“I hope to keep furthering jazz education and reaching out to students who are in elementary school, as well as focusing on women in jazz, which tends to be very male-populated,” he said.

Langham’s work at Pacific demonstrates this same level of commitment to jazz and musicians. He joined Pacific in the fall of 2003.

“When I got here, there was no jazz program,” he said. “I took a couple of years to see the lay of the land and figure out the best type of curriculum that would fit Pacific.”

In 2019, the Brubeck Institute separated from Pacific, and Langham redesigned Pacific’s jazz studies program. Langham’s original program has evolved into the Bachelor’s of Music in Jazz Studies, and now offers performance, composition, and accelerated honors tracks.

“One hallmark of the Pacific education is the mentoring we provide students. They get the chance to play with faculty at our jam sessions at the Take Five Jazz Club,” he said. “Also, the guest artists they spend time rehearsing with (and) asking questions about the industry, those things have been effective,” Langham said.

Langham will continue innovating and adapting the jazz program. He wants to bring more students into Pacific’s jazz community.

“My goal is, ultimately, if there is any student in the state of California who is interested in performing and studying jazz, I want them to think of Pacific first,” he said. 

Langham advises all music students to “continue following your passion.”

“Keep practicing, keep studying and honing your craft. Particularly if you are interested in teaching, make sure that you are focused on being an effective communicator. Each student brings something different to the table and each student has different needs. Finding ways to meet them where they are is very important,” he said.