Intermezzo. The name of one of my 'compositions'. Better, the name of a piece between composition and improvisation. Inter-mezzo. Even the composed parts, eight short motifs, are contaminated by improvisation: which musician plays which motif at which time is not established in advance. (On the page entitled Intermezzo I enter at length into this piece of music.) This means that the finished art object barely exists: Intermezzo is an activity, a process in which at no stage it can be considered a completed work of art. The musicians take the listeners (and themselves) on a journey of exploration. The audience negotiates every twist and turn with them, every precipice and danger (one can never exclude the possibility of failure). Intermezzo is a constant exploration of a musical space that stresses the process of creation more than the finished art object. The piece is successful if the musicians playing it are delighted in the features of the new terrains that they discovered for themselves, i.e., when they open themselves to insecurity instead of mastery, adventure instead of worn paths. (In Freedom and Sacrifice, Jan Patocka writes: 'Man is meant to let grow in him what provokes anxiety, what is unreconciled, what is enigmatic, what ordinary life turns away from' (cf. Of Hospitality, p.38).)
 What does it mean to teach Intermezzo? What does it mean to use a piece like Intermezzo as teaching material in a music school for students who want to learn to play jazz music? More specifically, what does this mean for the role of the teacher (cf. Of Jazz Education) ? On one hand, (s)he is probably still the initiator, the inspiration. The teacher might be the one suggesting something that deviates from more traditional jazz material such as most of the standards in The Real Book. (Most students - at least in my classes - are still looking for security and safety, even in improvisations. This is revealed, for example, in trying to repeat conventional 'licks' and phrases and in laying down arrangements as soon as possible.) That means, (s)he still has some control, mastery, and authority. On the other hand, however, by using teaching material such as Intermezzo, the teacher can no longer rely on certainties. When teaching Intermezzo, the teacher does not know what will happen or how it will happen; (s)he cannot know the outcome. Thus, the selfsame teacher and her or his knowledge are at stake. The teacher can only react to what the students present, achieve, accomplish; (s)he can hardly anticipate. (S)he should not anticipate; that could destroy the process of exploration, of discovery, of play.
 The above decentralizes (deconstructs) the traditional relationship between teacher and student and asks for a reorientation of the role of the teacher. In conventional approaches, the teacher is considered an expert, a professional with a trained ear, the one who (even in music) has access to scientific, objective knowledge, knowledge consisting of fixed notions. 'This involves an attempt to arrest play and bring thought (and one's 'self') under control. Looking for a center, if not an origin, a trunk from which branches can spread, it promotes structure and planning in education, with all their reinforcements of performativity. It totalizes its conception of the learner in sets of needs or outcomes, or composite pictures of the educated man' (Blake et al., p.43).
 I return to Intermezzo. Using material such as this forces the teaching of jazz in a way other than how it is commonly taught in many music schools, conservatories or universities - that is, the playing of jazz standards and the building of one's solo on pre-established, pre-existent licks. (I am in no way suggesting here that with Intermezzo, I have invented something very new. First, there is already a great deal of music based on more or less the same principles: some freely usable composed outlines combined with improvisational parts. Second, some people, such as George Lewis who teaches at the University of California, San Diego, seem to work with similar material and probably at a much higher and more professional level (cf. Lewis' contribution in John Zorn's book Arcana, p.78-109). I keep coming back to Intermezzo because I have experience with teaching this 'composition' and because it is teaching material that can be played with ease by amateurs.) Teaching Intermezzo is still about teaching jazz music; it does not, nor is it about rejecting (traditional) jazz. It creates a new context for (traditional) jazz and thus creates a new music. Intermezzo juxtaposes the canon of conventional works used in jazz education with contrasting or supplementary alternatives. In that way, it broaches tradition even as it puts it into crisis, activating the critical potential of discipline. The canon is not rejected, but given pedagogical and cultural vibrancy. But the growth of the musician will be different from the one achieved by predictable controlled teleologies (cf. Blake et al., p.43). My goal is what philosopher Jasper Neel calls 'strong discourse': whereas strong discourse requires heterogeneity that admits other voices and tolerates several discourses, weak discourse tries to silence other voices. And he further states that 'strong discourse will also require a kind of pluralism that makes the teacher-centered classroom difficult, if not impossible' (Neel, p.210). Perhaps a teacher should present her or his speech together with the silences in/of that speech, allowing students a space in which they can speak, in which they can make their music.
 Intermezzo calls for, impels a teacher to assume a different role. Her or his role as queen/king-of-knowledge decreases as her or his role of musical discourse facilitator increases. Instead of operating from an expert posture, (s)he comes from a curious, collaborative posture, which tolerates ambiguity and confusion; (s)he assists people in operating more effectively within the confusion. In this sense, guidance and counselling can be seen as helping students to establish the 'controlled de-control' that pieces like Intermezzo require. 'Someone who philosophizes [teaches] out loud in this way does not unwind a smooth, univocal thread; he shows the tears in it. He leaves room for astonishment, for what breaks reflection in the seizure of fear' (Of Hospitality, p.23-4). Anne Dufourmantelle refers to the university classes of Derrida here; I would like to offer this view as a proposal to every (music) teacher. Astonishment. To teach astonishment. To teach astonishment about music. The lesson does not 'teach' music: it teaches the condition that makes it possible to learn (about/from) music.