What is the course about?
Develop your ability to hear, play and understand melodies and chord progressions (functional harmony) in the jazz idiom: detailed study of jazz standards will be supported with listening, singing activities and playing as a group.
Develop your ability to improvise well.
What will we cover?
Each of the following topics will be addressed through ear training and playing as well as discussion of theory
(n.b. your progress will depend on regular, systematic practice):
- Review of music fundamentals: modes of major scale, triads, 7th chords and chord symbols
- Diatonic chord functions and Roman numeral analysis
- Relationship of chord and scale; available tensions and avoid notes
- Modal harmony (static and functional)
- Cycle of 5ths root movement ( e.g.VI, II, V, I)
- 'Voice-leading' (guide tones) - simple and extended
- Secondary dominants (back-cycling, tri-tone substitution)
- Diminished chords and scales
- Minor key harmony (Aeolian and harmonic minor)
- Modes of melodic minor
- Playing and learning tunes in swing, funk and latin feel.
Repertoire will include blues (in several keys), Scrapple from the Apple, Tune up, Footprints, Maiden voyage,
Sometime ago, Blue bossa, Fly me to the moon, Softly as in a morning sunrise, Lady Bird, Cantaloupe island, Black Narcissus, Oleo, How high the moon, Make me a memory.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
- recognise and reproduce intervals
- transcribe melody, bass lines, identify chord types & extensions by ear
- play, and improvise on, the study tunes, by ear, memory, and from reading chord symbols
- make functional analysis of any common jazz standard with appropriate chord/scale choices
- play, sing and improvise with confidence
- build a repertoire of tunes to include Oleo, Straight no chaser, Maiden Voyage, Afternoon in Paris, Effendi
- understand how to function in a jazz ensemble
- perform with confidence.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
Entry by audition and aural test.
You need a good working knowledge of harmony, good music reading skills, proficiency on your instrument. Any experience of playing jazz will be an advantage. Pianists and guitarists are recommended to complete jazz instrumental courses before coming to this level of study.
You will need to follow written and verbal instructions in English, engage in class discussions and take notes in English and staff notation.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
There will be lecture style teaching, practical group work i.e. ensemble playing, singing (including vocal improvisation), ear training, written music assignments, performance and small ensemble practice.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
Various books or internet research will be mentioned for supplementing studies but no books are actually required for the course.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
At the end of the course you may progress to Jazz harmony, ear training and ensembles: advanced, subject to tutor approval. You will also be ready/ better prepared to join jam sessions and take part in gigs, including City Lit's Jazz woodshedding and Jazz repertoire short courses.
General information and advice on courses at City Lit is available from the Student Centre and Library on Monday to Friday from 12:00 – 19:00.
See the course guide for term dates and further details