Ron McCurdy brings jazz into an unlikely classroom

Several years ago, USC Thornton Jazz Studies faculty member Ron McCurdy collaborated with Dave Logan, a professor at the USC Marshall School of Business, to create an unusual course for the school’s Masters in Medical Management degree program.

Combining basic leadership curriculum with live jazz performance, the Jazz of Leadership program challenges medical professionals to view the interplay between a jazz quartet as a model for their own personal interactions with colleagues in the medical field.

“I think what the program really teaches you as a leader is how to listen,” said Thomas Wuest, a graduate of the Masters in Medical Management program.

“I love seeing the lightbulb come on with students,” said McCrudy. “I see them thinking about things in a way that they haven’t before.”

Jazz of Leadership’s ability to inspire and challenge medical professionals soon caught the attention of the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, who invited McCurdy to give a similar presentation to a group of the country’s top cancer researchers during the Cancer Researcher’s Retreat in July 2014.

“What makes this school special is that, as a faculty member, if you dream big, you can actually do it,” explained McCurdy. “The resources, the brainpower, the whole synergy of this place allows you to really dream big and actually implement your dream.”

Watch the video above to see the Jazz of Leadership in action.