Body Mapping for Musicians
Whether using drumsticks, picking a guitar string, or using breath to sing, music is created by movement. Music is movement. The human body moves to create the sound waves that move through the air. We all have a picture of our bodies in our mind called a body map. This map guides every movement we make. If this picture is accurate then our movement will be free, efficient and effective. When our maps are inaccurate or unclear, movement can become labored and lead to injuries. Body mapping is a highly effective process for learning healthy, efficient, and effective physical motion. In this class you will work towards a fully realized understanding of your own physical structure so your movement will be healthy and your motion free. As a result, you will produce a better, more open, more resonant sound.
Tai Chi Chuan for Musicians: Grand Ultimate Fist
Tai Chi Chuan, or Grand Ultimate Fist, is a moving meditation/exercise/martial art that can compliment and energize one's studies, music, and all the activities and demands of a busy Berklee day. Traditionally, it is an internal yin style that develops grounding and relaxation. It is also a constantly evolving art and science that promotes physical, mental, and emotional balance, and is a useful tool for identifying playing-related tension patterns and opening constricted channels of the body, including arms, wrists, neck, back, and fingers. Tai Chi Chuan is a slow, flowing, no-sweat exercise with excellent health benefits that requires no uniforms or equipment and only a moderate amount of floor space to perform. This course will lead you through the first 20 postures of the 60 movement form developed by Grandmaster William C. C. Chen. The instructor will explain how this relates to healthier practice, performance, and endurance. Once the complete choreography is learned, this short from will be incorporated into your daily routine and would require only a few minutes to complete.
Integral Tai Chi
Tai chi can provide you with a way to maintain your sanity and health throughout life, both as a musician and as the person you are. The twelve moves of Integral Tai Chi will help you to stay grounded and will contribute to enhancing your creative and musical self. This course will explore the fundamentals of Integral Tai Chi, a system based on martial arts, yet tailored into a gentle, graceful set of movements. Tai chi is performed more slowly, more as a meditative form of exercise. Students will learn these twelve moves in a progressive method, enabling anyone to perform each movement at their own level of comfort. The course will also focus on breathing and awareness techniques to increase the flow of chi throughout one's system, promoting emotional balance, mental clarity, and an optimum physical state. Recent studies have shown physiological benefits include stress reduction, pain reduction, regulation of the lymphatic system, regulation of blood pressure, increased immunity against invasive disease, and more. By the end of the course, students will be more able to conduct the inner orchestra of their mind, body, heart, and spirit through a state of relaxed awareness.
Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 1
Exploration of the relationship between improvisation and harmonic context. Analysis of harmonically sophisticated music using analytical techniques from HR-212. The use of chord scales in improvisation and analysis of recorded jazz solos. Discussion of specific harmonic idioms and their related improvising styles. Solos of John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock, Woody Shaw, and other influential soloists.
Harmonic Considerations in Improvisation 2
Continued exploration of the relationship between improvisation and harmonic context. Analysis of contemporary compositions and their harmonic implications applied to the craft of improvisation. Symmetrical scales, two- and three-tonic systems, and rhythm devices. Repertoire studied will include solos by John Coltrane, Dave Liebman, Ornette Coleman, Steve Grossman, and Herbie Hancock.
Traditional Microtonal Theory and Application
This course will introduce students to the theory of musical cultures in the eastern Mediterranean basin and North Africa. Course work will include listening and analysis, in-class performance on instruments and voice, and theoretical analysis of the maqam system, modulation, and improvisational schemes. The course will include also learning iqa, the complex rhythmic modes that go hand in hand with forms based on the maqam.
Jazz Improvisational Techniques
A lecture class with discussion, illustration, and demonstration of the various techniques used in jazz improvisation. Each class will introduce specific practice techniques that can be used to develop the craft of jazz improvisation. Included will be discussion of different jazz styles along with recordings and transcriptions of major jazz figures. This course is highly recommended for students considering any of the jazz improvisation classes or who would like to begin to develop the language used in jazz improvisation.
Standard Jazz Repertoire 1
Building and retaining a functional repertoire of approximately 30 selected standards and jazz standards that form a common vocabulary and basis for study among jazz musicians. Development of skills to effectively memorize the melody, harmony, and rhythm of selected repertoire. Recommended for students who plan to take jazz improvisation techniques courses.
Standard Jazz Repertoire 2
A sequel to PSIJ-215, this course continues the process of building and retaining a functional repertoire of jazz standards in bebop, Latin, ballad, and contemporary styles. Continued development of memorization skills applied to learning to play and improvise on approximately 30 tunes. Recommended for students who plan to take jazz improvisation techniques courses.
Jazz Improvisation Techniques 1
An ideal follow-up to PSIJ-211, this performance-centered class introduces basic skills essential to effective improvisation. Techniques covered include memorization procedure for song melody and harmony, listening skills, exercise design, pacing, chord tone soloing, tempo accuracy, swing rhythmic feel, melodic and rhythmic embellishment of song melody, and soloing with full rhythm section accompaniment. Development of effective practice skills. Music from various periods of jazz (swing, bop, postbop, contemporary) will be used for demonstration, practice, and performance activities. Classes are leveled and instrumentally balanced; students perform weekly.
The Music of Wayne Shorter
Historic, stylistic, and performance-based overview of the compositions and improvisations of Wayne Shorter, covering the period from the late 1950s to the present. Basis of study will include solo transcriptions, scores, videos, and extensive listening. Also covered will be Shorter's extramusical interests, including art and sci-fi movies, and their influence on, and integration into, his music. The student will transcribe solos and analyze compositions, and perform or present them in class.
Ready, Aim, Improvise!
Using the lecture/demonstration format, this course explores in detail the critical areas involved in learning how to improvise in the jazz idiom. Topics discussed are: listening skills (learning how to divide your attention between the solo and the accompaniment while playing), jazz ear training (learning how to hear ahead on chord progressions), jazz execution (rhythmic feel, accents, ghost notes, articulation, natural dynamics), building jazz vocabulary (chord tone and chord scale soloing), the role of ego in improvisation, self-recording, self-critiquing, designing topic-specific exercises for improvisation, and developing improvisation practice routines. This course is recommended for serious, career-minded students of jazz improvisation at beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels, especially those who take the Jazz Improvisation 1—6 course series.