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.
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.