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Course Syllabus

Course: MUSC 3306

Division: Fine Arts, Comm, and New Media
Department: Music
Title: Jazz Improvisation I

Semester Approved: Spring 2018
Five-Year Review Semester: Spring 2023
End Semester: Spring 2024

Catalog Description: This course is the first in a two semester sequence designed to teach musicians the basics of jazz improvisation, especially with regards to the performance and understanding of historical jazz vocabulary, chord/scale relationships, rhythmic interaction within the ensemble, stylistic concepts of melodic interpretation, and the rhythmic invention of scales. Exercises will include performing required scales in a variety of rhythms, performing major and minor ii-V-I jazz vocabulary licks in all twelve keys, performing required jazz standards by memory, and transcribing and performing several historical jazz solos, written out and memorized. This course is required for instrumental performance majors in the Bachelor of Music in Commercial Music degree program.

Semesters Offered: Fall
Credit/Time Requirement: Credit: 2; Lecture: 2; Lab: 0
Repeatable: Yes.


Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor

Justification: This type of course is being offered at most of the four-year institutions in the State of Utah and is a regular course offering throughout the country. It is usually offered as part of a student's music major elective courses at institutions where there is no specified major in jazz studies and as a major course at institutions where there is a major in jazz studies. This course will transfer as elective and/or major credit.


Student Learning Outcomes:
Students will learn assigned scales, such as the Blues, Pentatonic, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, Bebop Dominant, etc., in all 12 keys. Students will perform assigned scales verbatim in class, and demonstrate their understanding of these scales by using them to improvise over standard jazz song forms.

Students will learn assigned scale degree and chord tone patterns in all 12 keys. Students will perform assigned scale degree and chord tone patterns verbatim in class, and will demonstrate their understanding of these patterns by using them to improvise over standard jazz song forms.

Students will learn jazz standards as assigned throughout the semester, approximately 6-12 per semester. Melody, chord symbols, chord arpeggios and form will be learned and memorized. Students will perform assigned jazz standards in class as a "jazz combo", in various keys, styles, tempos and meters, as assigned by the professor.

Students will have midterm and final transcription assignments, which must be written out, memorized and analyzed by notating scale degrees and chord symbols. Students will hand in a written copy of the transcription, with notated scale degrees of each note, corresponding to the chord symbols in each measure. They will also perform the transcription from memory in class.

Students will complete short transcription assignments throughout the semester. These must be written out, memorized and analyzed by notating scale degrees and chord symbols. Students will hand in a written copy of the transcription, with notated scale degrees of each note, corresponding to the chord symbols in each measure. They will also perform the transcription from memory in class.

Students will learn the history and place of their specific instrument within jazz, and learn about important jazz artists from the beginning of jazz to the present. Students will be given listening assignments and articulate what they learned from those assignments in class.


Content:
Scales: Blues, Pentatonic, Ionian, Dorian, Phrygian, Lydian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, Locrian, Bebop Dominant, etc., in all 12 keys.

Scale Degree and chord tone patterns.

Jazz Standards as assigned. Most of these will be from "The American Songbook".

In class performances with other students.

Listening Assignments.

Short Transcription assignments (20-30 seconds).

Midterm and Final Transcription assignments (1-2 minutes).

Key Performance Indicators:
Students will be assessed by their attendance, participation, preparation (written and oral), performance and in class in the following ways:

Attendance 25 to 30%

Participation 20 to 25%

Preparation (written and oral) 25 to 30%

Performance 15 to 20%


Representative Text and/or Supplies:
Jazzology, by Robert Rawlins and Nor Eddine Bahha.
Current Edition. (Optional)


Pedagogy Statement:
Each student's ability and level of experience will vary. This course is split into two sections: beginning and advanced. The beginning section will deal more with the basics, i.e. scales, stylistic detail, authentic jazz language. The advanced section will delve into more of the intricacies and nuances of jazz improvisation within a jazz performance setting, i.e. playing songs in a variety of keys, styles, tempos, and meters. The course is designed such that it can be tailored specifically to a given student group's needs. Specific song names, transcription assignements, listening assignments, and scales/scale degree patterns will vary from class to class, depending on specific needs. This course cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution, and thus, the instructor must take into account the individual needs of the student group, and even the individual student.

Instructional Mediums:
Lecture

Maximum Class Size: 20
Optimum Class Size: 12