Jazz Improvisation 1
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Butler Community College
Roger Lewis
Humanities/Fine Arts Division
Fall 1997 
Course Outline

MU 149. Jazz Improvisation I. 2 hours credit. Prerequisite: Ability to read music proficiently. This course involves the process of internalizing the sound and technique of scales as the basis for improvisation (the art of spontaneously conceiving and executing musical ideas).

MU 249. Jazz Improvisation II. 2 hours credit. Prerequisite: MU 149. A continuation of MU 149.

Grove, Dick. The Encyclopedia of Basic Harmony and Theory Applied to Improvisation On All Instruments, Vol. I. Sherman Oaks: Alfred Publishing Company Inc, 1985.

The primary objective of Jazz Improvisation is to establish an understanding of the basic techniques of scales, chords, rhythms, and styles used in jazz. At the completion of this course the student should demonstrate the following skills:

  1. To play and sing major, minor, modal, whole tone, diminished, dominant, blues, and chromatic scales in all keys, incorporating various rhythm patterns.
  2. To demonstrate a comprehension of the basic jazz terminology, and an ability to verbalize stylistic interpretations of jazz rhythms and phrases.
  3. To sing and play three, and four part chords in unaltered forms, incorporating various rhythm patterns.
  4. To demonstrate an understanding of chord and scale relationships.
  5. To identify and discuss the playing styles of various periods and individuals in the evolution of the jazz idiom.
  6. To sing and play given jazz tunes by memory and improvise over the chord changes.
  7. To transcribe, play, and sing given recorded jazz tunes and improvised solos.
  8. To play written and improvised jazz in a stylistically appropriate way.
  9. To demonstrate ability to play and improvise on tunes in basic styles(modal, blues, ballad, medium and up tempo swing, Latin, and Jazz-rock).
  1. Scales
  2. Three and Four Part Chords
  3. Five, Six, and Seven Part Chords
  4. Chord and Scale Relation-Ships
  5. Introduction to Jazz and Rock Rhythm Patterns.
  6. Introduction to Various Jazz Styles (to be integrated throughout course)
  7. Transcriptions and performance
Methods of class instruction may include: lecture; class discussion; written assignments; singing/playing assignments; library projects and reports; audio-visual aids; handouts; attending live concert performances.

Telecourses: Independent study of audio/video materials augmented by text and study guide; collaboration and participation with class members and faculty via available means. Faculty role is facilitator of learning experiences.

Methods of evaluation may include: written, aural, and playing tests; class assignments; class participation; reports; attendance; and other methods of evaluation at the discretion of the instructor.

The forgoing is a working outline and will be revised as deemed necessary by the instructor.

Miscellaneous: Students with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills are encouraged and have the responsibility to contact their instructor, in a timely fashion, regarding reasonable accommodation needs.