The Jazz Language
Performance-centered class emphasizing the essential elements of jazz language and vocabulary—chord scales, chord tones, approach notes and target notes, scale motifs and sequences, and lines. Focuses improvisational techniques into three areas: melodic, harmonic, and sonic. This course is designed as a menu of soloing devices from which students can select their personal course of study.
Chord Scale Theory in Improvisation
Designed for performers, this course will examine the application of chord scales to harmonic progression. Chord scale/chord symbol relationships will be covered within the context of improvisation. Melodic content in improvisation that involves sequences in fourths, upper-structure triads, and other techniques will be discussed and analyzed using recordings and transcribed solos.
Improvisation on Standard Songs
Performance and analysis of standard songs used in jazz repertoire and the traditional forms and techniques used in creating them. Emphasis on repertoire, intros and endings, and tunes in different keys. Use of melodically based improvisation and paraphrased melodic interpretation. Improvisational principles using chord scales, guide tones, and other techniques. Some of the composers covered are Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, and Joe Henderson. The class will perform a recital at the end of the semester. This class is recommended for students considering taking PSIJ-322.
Jazz Improvisation Techniques 2
An expansion of the fundamental improvisational skills developed in PSIJ-221, with the introduction of techniques that will further enhance the student's personal improvisational style. Techniques covered include rhythmic feels, accents and ghost notes, rhythmic syncopation, lower structure triads, phrase lengths, and soloing with full and partial rhythm section accompaniment. Development of effective practice skills. Music from various periods of jazz (swing, bop, postbop, and contemporary) will be used for demonstration, practice, and performance activities. Classes are leveled and instrumentally balanced; students perform weekly.
Jazz Improvisation Techniques 3
An intermediate-level course introducing approaches to improvisation that require a solid background in harmonic and tonal concepts. Techniques covered include rhythmic activity, chord tone soloing, articulation, upper structure triads, dynamics, and soloing with full and partial rhythmic section accompaniment and also with hi-hat only. Development of effective practice skills. Music from various periods of jazz (swing, bop, postbop, and contemporary) will be used for demonstration, practice, and performance activities. Classes are leveled and instrumentally balanced; students perform weekly.
Development of a personal and individual jazz style through emphasis on reading, improvisation, and interpretative techniques. Hearing, analyzing, and playing selected transcribed pieces of well-known jazz artists; individual and group improvisation.
The Jazz Line
A performance-centered class covering jazz vocabulary and the construction of jazz melodies based on the traditions of players including Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Kenny Dorham, and others. Students will be given vocabulary models focusing on the ability to start a line on any scale degree and mastery of voice leading in all keys. Topics covered will include bebop scales, approach systems, rhythms, and articulation.
Melodic Structures in Improvisation
A performance-centered class covering melodic cells and their permutations applied to improvising in a variety of settings. Study of multitonic systems (Coltrane changes) and their application as either primary harmony or substitutions.
Pentatonics in Improvisation
A performance-centered class covering minor seventh, minor sixth, minor seventh flat five, major flat six, and all diminished related pentatonics and their application to improvisation and the creation of melodies and usage charts. Voice leading and approach systems as used by master improvisers including Wayne Shorter, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and others.
Thematic Development in Improvisation and Composition
Students learn to derive improvisatory vocabulary exclusively from a composition's original melody or theme and different methods of thematic development through the analysis of a wide range of jazz improvisations and classical compositions. Through various exercises and assignments, students apply the learned techniques to their instruments.
Performance and Analysis of Bebop Music
Analysis and performance of music in the style of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Clifford Brown, Kenny Dorham, and others. Standard progressions and transcribed solos from music of the '40s and '50s are analyzed and performed.
Performing Harmony Workshop 1
The performance of music (melody, bass line, harmony, and rhythm) by ear. Classes will be instrumentally balanced so students can gain a practical knowledge of playing by ear in a traditional group setting. The study of chord qualities, chord progressions, and tensions through improvisation. Exploration of rhythm through the study of combinations of 2 and 3. Primary focus on creating grooves by tapping even combinations. Over-the-barline phrasing through 3/8 and 7/8 over 4/4. Evolves into linear, harmonic, and compositional concepts. This course is recommended for performers interested in developing their musical ear.