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Eddie J Cooper Jr / Blog

The School of Miles

Case Study of Miles Davis

As an infant, Miles Davis had a pretty stable life. He came from a pretty wealthy family for the times. His father was a dental surgeon. This was a rare case as his family was subject to discrimination and fear because of the opportunities that were available. America was at war with race issues and poverty for most minorities. He was born in 1926 in Illinois. Miles realized at a young age that he was fortunate. He capitalized on this and had support when it came to learning. Miles began studying the trumpet and was educated as a young child by a few music teachers. He began to play around the St. Louis area in his teens and soon moved to New York when he was 18. As a student at the Institute for Musical Art, he began to take his studies less serious and began learning from the players on the scene. These players were people like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, true jazz legends in their own right.

Based on Erikson’s eight stages of development, I feel that Miles gained trust through his parents. He led a life feeling like he was no different from successful families that had a different race. His parents surely took care of him. He was sheltered and nurtured. This made him sure of himself and lived very comfortably. His hope for the future looked very bright and he seized the opportunity to make a life for himself. I feel that this was great for him in his career as a jazz musician. I have found no evidence to suggest that his family abused him. Miles Davis’ will to explore and learn about his environment as a toddler was nurtured. This was to build his confidence and to nurture his newfound abilities in this stage of his life. He began to rely on himself and had support to do so. He began to find his way could work in the world. He asserted himself and ultimately was introduced to the trumpet when he was 12 years old by his father.