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Getting Started with Jazz Improvisation

Overview

A friendly, supportive atmosphere in which to practice the basics of jazz improvisation. Start with the blues then progress to jazz standards, learning essential scales and chords, playing at every session, trading licks, learning patterns and building solos. Ideal for classical players or anyone aspiring to jam or perform with a jazz ensemble. Vocalists welcome! Required text: Jazz Improvisation: A Pocket Guide by Dan Haerle (available at the CJC Bookstore). Prerequisites: Facility on an instrument and ability to play all major scales from memory.

Monday 6:30 – 8 pm
7/10 – 8/14 (6 weeks)
Dave Len Scott • $280

Registration

DEPARTMENT:  Theory/Musicianship

COURSE TITLE: Beginning Jazz Improvisation

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

A friendly, supportive atmosphere in which to practice the basics of jazz improvisation. Start with the blues then progress to jazz standards, learning essential scales and chords, playing at every session, trading licks, learning patterns and building solos. Ideal for classical players or anyone aspiring to jam or perform with a jazz ensemble. Vocalists welcome!

COURSE PREREQUISITES: Facility on an instrument and knowledge of major scales. Student must able to perform all twelve major scales on his/her instrument, from memory, fluently, in under 90 seconds. [Custom course materials are provided– lead sheets, play-along mp3’s, ear-training exercises.]

COURSE PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES: By the end of the course, students should be able to perform from memory the heads of ten jazz standards, and be able to successfully execute improvisation on those ten standards, using knowledge of the specific chord progressions and related scales of each tune, and using knowledge of specific improvisational strategies learned throughout the course, as described in the week activities.

REQUIRED READING/MATERIALS: Jazz Improvisation: A Pocket Guide by Dan Haerle (available at Jazzschool Books and Records).

COURSE OUTLINE:

Week 1

Song: “So What.” Learning the Dorian scale. Learning to count measures while improvising in order to hit the new scale at the right time.

Week 2

Song: Cantaloupe Island. Learning the mixolydian scale, the Lydian dominant scale, and what scale to play over sus chords.

Week 3

Song: Freddie Freeloader. Understanding the blues. Learning the minor pentatonic scale, and the blues scale.

Week 4

Song: Blue Bossa. When to consider using the Aeolian scale. Understanding the ii-V-I concept, and then review of previous songs and concepts.

Week 5

Song: Song For My Father. Understanding leading tones. Understanding the relationship between the minor pentatonic scale and the blues scale. Understanding how groups of common notes can hold chord progressions together.

Week 6

Song: All Blues. Practice determining the common scale-tones in a chord progression, and practice determining the changing tones in a progression. How and when to use the the diminished scale and the diminished whole-tone scale.

Week 7

Song: Footprints. The concept of tension-and-release in chord progressions, and the use of the chromatic scale in improvisation.

Week 8

Song: Now’s the Time. An introduction to be-bop style, and the concept of embellishing an improvised line in bebop style by delaying the resolution.

Week 9

Song: Watermelon Man. How to use a “lick” in an improvisation, transposing the lick to implement over new chords in a progression.

Week 10

Song: Misty. More advanced use of ii-V-I knowledge, and the practice of improvising over more complex chord progressions that require greater skill in keeping track of changing tonal centers.

Dave Len Scott (trumpet)
M.A. in Trumpet Performance, U. of Northern Colorado; B.A. in Instrumental Music, U. of Michigan. National performing and recording artist, jazz, classical idioms. Performs with: Glide Memorial Church Change Band; Brass Monkey Brass Band; TRUMPETSUPERGROUP (founder); Dave Scott Jazz Quartet. Currently adjunct faculty at: Sonoma State University (Instructor of Trumpet); Berkeley City College (Humanities Dept Jazz History); and San Francisco State University (Brass Methods, Jazz Arranging). www.davescott.org

 

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