JAZZ IMPROVISATION I/II, MUSI 1163/ COURSE SYLLABUS, Spring 2012

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1 Houston Community College- Central Campus Department of Fine Arts JAZZ IMPROVISATION I/II, MUSI 1163/ COURSE SYLLABUS, Spring 2012 Horace Alexander Young, Professor/Music Fine Arts Building- FAC 101 Phone: Class Times: M/W, 5:30-7:30PM Office Hours: MON 4:00-5:00PM, WED, 3:30-4:00 Course Description: This is a course in the development of musical improvisational skills as related to the style of music known as Jazz. The purpose of this course is to motivate the student to acquire a method of studying and performing the basic elements of improvisation through the learning of jazz articulation and phrasing, idiomatic melodic patterns and phrases and a core selection of standard compositions from the established repertoire of Jazz. The course is designated to include various hands-on exercises in (1) improvisational development in conjunction with original compositions written by class members, (2) aural skills and analysis involving interval, scale and chord recognition and (3) development and enhancement of self awareness utilizing specific melodic and harmonic devices and cognitive techniques that will assist in improving the presentation of the performer. The goal is to cultivate a more confident and comfortable performer of Jazz. Required Text and Materials: Maiden Voyage: Volume 54 of the Jamey Aebersold Jazz Improvisation Play-A-Long Series (Book w/cd). Kind of Blue, The Miles Davis Sextet, Dual CD/DVD, Columbia Records. Required Transcription Study: Students will be required to learn, transcribe and perform Miles Davis trumpet solo from So What (Kind of Blue, Columbia Records).

2 Required Musical Skill Set and Course Protocols: Basic proficiency on a musical instrument or voice and demonstrated knowledge of all twelve major scales and the three forms of the minor scales (harmonic, melodic and pure) is required. All students will need to have a No.2 pencil and manuscript paper in their case or notebook at all times. To facilitate an efficient line of communication, all students are required to acquire and maintain an active address throughout the semester. Attendance and Participation: You will be expected to attend every class session in a punctual manner or give advance notice via phone, , etc that you are unable to attend. Exceptions will only be made for absences due to official university sanctioned excuses, unexpected illness, family emergency or Acts of God. Grading and Evaluation: Grading is based on performance in the class, the completion of all assignments and performances of required transcriptions and on the two examinations (mid-term and final) given during the semester. There will be a concert featuring the students in this class as a performing ensemble that will be given in joint effort with the students in Music 228/Jazz Improvisation at Texas Southern University. Specific details of that concert will be given in class. There is no final given during Final Exam week. NOTE: IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE STUDENT TO WITHDRAW OFFICIALLY FROM A COURSE. Administrative drops are at the discretion of the instructor. Failure of the student to withdraw officially will result in the student receiving a grade of "F" in the course. ADA STATEMENT Students who require reasonable accommodation for disabilities are encouraged to report to room 102 SJAC, or call to make necessary arrangements. Faculty are only authorized to provide accommodations requested by the Disability Support Services Office. Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: Any student with a documented disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Disability Support Services Office at the respective college at the beginning of each semester. Faculty are authorized to provide only the accommodations requested by the Disability Support Services Office.

3 For questions, contact Donna Price at or the Disability Counselor at each college. Also visit the ADA web site at: CORE CURRICULUM: MUAP 1163/1164, fulfill the following core intellectual competencies: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening, Critical Thinking, and Computer Literacy. SCHOLASTIC DISHONESTY: Houston Community College defines scholastic dishonesty as: cheating on a test, plagiarism, and collusion. Penalties for academic dishonesty at HCCS include, but are not limited to, a 0 on that test or assignment, a W in the course, or an F in the course. Week One Review of all of the twelve major scales, played through the Circle of Keys. Explanation of jazz articulation (jazz legato) and the jazz eighth note concept. Students will learn Duke Ellington s C Jam Blues (12 Bar blues) as an example of jazz articulation and transpose it to all keys. Sonny Rollins Sonnymoon For Two (12 Bar Blues, minor pentatonic melody) will be studied as well. Week Two Discussion and group exercises in the playing of the Fourteen Essential Jazz Scales.Beginning with this week, the first four scales (dorian, lydian, mixolydian and locrian) will be explained in detail and will be studied by (1) forming chord-scales families according to a parent key format and (2) learning jazz tunes that are composed from or based on each scale. Students will be introduced to the technique known as the Locraian-Pentatonic Method of Improvisation during this time. References will be made to this system throughout the course. The first composition studied in these approaches will be Freddie Hubbard s Straight Life (mixolydian).

4 Week Three Continuation of Week Two, studying John Coltrane s Impressions (dorian). Exercises will be studied concerning the concept of merging the chord scales with jazz eighth note patterns. The concept of connecting phrases will be discussed. Week Four Continuation of Week Three, studying Herbie Hancock s Maiden Voyage (dorian). Week Five Further discussion of the remaining jazz scales and their application to various chord progressions (sample chord progressions from jazz standards). Herbie Hancock s Cantaloupe Island (dorian, mixolydian, lydian-dominant and minor pentatonic) and Kenny Dorham s Blue Bossa (dorian, lydian, mixolydian, locrian and minor pentatonic) will be studied. Week Six Continuation of Week Five, studying Herbie Hancock s Watermelon Man (dorian, mixolydian, lydian-dominant and minor pentatonic) and Horace Silver s Song For My Father (dorian, mixolydian, locrian, lydian-dominant, dominant-diminished and minor pentatonic). Week Seven Introduction of the Chord Study Pattern. Exercises will be studied using this pattern as it relates to the four basic chord types (major, minor, augmented and diminished). Students will study Miles Davis Solar and Billy Strayhorn s Take The A Train and apply this pattern to the chord progression. An introduction to the two-five progression (iim7-v7-i), simple chord substitutions and turnarounds will be applied to these compositions. Week Eight Mid-Term Examinations will be held during this week. Students will be graded on their ability to play all chord/jazz scales grouped in families, as studied, in all keys and perform any of the tunes

5 (melodies and improvisations) from Week One-Seven. An examination consisting of two parts (a) written and (b) listening will also be given. Week Nine Continuation of the Chord Study Pattern using Duke Ellington s Satin Doll. Detailed discussion of the two-five progression (iim7-v7-i). Group and individual playing of patterns based on the progression. More examples of chord substitutions and turnaround patterns will be studied. Week Ten Continuation of the concepts studied in Week Nine. Sonny Rollins Doxy and the jazz standard Autumn Leaves will be studied. Week Eleven The Twelve Bar Blues. Students will perform improvisations using concepts learned since Week One. Using more advanced harmonic variations of the Blues progressions; students will learn additional Blues Heads and perform them in several keys. Sonny Rollins Tenor Madness, Thelonious Monk s Straight No Chaser and examples of the Eight and Sixteen Bar Blues format, such as Horace Silver s The Preacher will also be discussed. Performance exam on Charlie Parker s Now s The Time. Week Twelve Continuation of Week Eleven, with additional study of Blues changes in the minor mode. George Gershwin s Summertime and Wayne Shorter s Footprints will be studied. Students will compose an original Twelve Bar Blues (in major or minor) and perform their compositions in class. Week Thirteen Study of the I Got Rhythm chord changes (a.k.a. Rhythm Changes). Students will learn the original melody and chord progression to the George Gershwin composition of the same name. As this is one of the most important standard progressions in Jazz (after the Blues), various melodies can be interchanged using this progression. Lester Young s Lester Leaps In and Charlie Parker s Moose The Mooche are two such tunes which will be examined.

6 Week Fourteen Continuation of the study of Rhythm Changes. Week Fifteen In-class performances of selections from Week One-Fourteen and solo performances of Miles Davis solo transcription from So What. FYI: The following magazines are excellent for supplemental reading and they contain record reviews, interviews, solo transcriptions and biographical information that apply to current and past performances and performers of Jazz. DOWNBEAT JAZZIZ JAZZTIMES JAZZED JAZZ IMPROV It is recommended that you record the names and contact information of at least two other class members.

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