Course Descriptions

Jazz Theory


The purpose of the jazz theory course is to examine traditional harmony as it applies to jazz music, as well as harmony, rhythm, and melody developed within the idiom of Jazz.

This course will provide students to recognize and be able to write all jazz scales—diatonic, modal, pentatonic, octatonic, whole tone, and super-imposed scales. The primary goal of this course is to review the basic elements of jazz theory, and thoroughly investigate the principles of application of these elements as they relate to the areas of jazz improvisation.

The objectives of this course are for each student to

1.    a) develop the ability to incorporate these principles of jazz theory toward their ability to analyze jazz-related literature and prepare for performance;

2.    b) apply principles of jazz improvisation to standard jazz literature so that each participant is able to create a more sophisticated improvised solo (based on chord changes found in selected literature) that is logical and effectively incorporates the material covered in class; and

3.    c) demonstrate a thorough working knowledge of the principal players involved in the stylistic development of the various periods related to jazz improvisation.

Topics that will be covered in this course;

·         Scales (major, minor (nat., mel., har.), blues, whole tone, dim etc.

·         Chord structures (major, minor, dominant, diminish, augmented etc.)

·         Key signatures, accidentals arpeggios extended harmony (9th, 11ths, 13th and alterations.)

·         Basic Jazz Chord symbols

·         Diatonic system

·         How to analyze a chart

·         Finding major ii-V7-I progressions

·         Finding minor ii-V7-i progressions modulations secondary dominants passing chords song analysis (chord progression/scale application)

·         Analysis of major and minor harmony. Subdominant minor and modal interchange chords, chord scales, melody and harmony relation, substitute dominants and related II-7 chords, diminished chord scales, modulation.

·         Analysis of modern chord progressions. Secondary dominant resolution, dominant chords without dominant function, hybrid chords, contiguous dominant, analysis of melodic structures, pedal point and ostinato, modal harmony and modal composition, compound and hybrid chords, constant structures, Giant Steps (Coltrane changes)


Jazz History and Styles Analysis (1 hour)


This course will provide students with chronological study of jazz, with insightful commentaries on it’s origins, and full descriptions of the various styles of jazz and the personalities that have contributed to this innovative form of music.  This study is a necessary foundation for studentsto analyse, connect and compare diferrent jazz styles within curicial periods of jazz history. It also gives studentsin-depth analysis of musical elements such as jazz music forms and its technical appendices that discuss advanced music theory concepts.

The students who have succeeded in this course;

1) Have an intense knowledge of the history of the development of the music and the social

and cultural factors that gave birth to it,”

2) Students will begin to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of jazz and through it, music as a whole while constructing the listening, reading and analytical skills necessary to be culturally conversant.

3) Conduct an in-depth analysis of musical elements such as jazz music forms and its technical appendices that discuss advanced music theory concepts.

4) Analyse, connect and compare diferrent jazz styles within curicial periods of jazz history

Topics that will be covered in this course;

·         Introduction, Standard form, Listening techniques in jazz. Introducing brief examples from all jazz periods and styles.

·         Tracing the origins of jazz and learn how to interprete/sing/and play any melody withing jazz genre.

·         Swing:Analysis of Big Band / through the form analysis and transcription of bigband compositions and arrangements of prominent Bigband leaders such as Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Count Basie.

·         Duke Ellington; form analysis and transcription of short and small compositions and arrangements of Duke Ellington

·         Bebop: Transcription of compositions of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and analysis the differences thereof

·         Jazz Singers: Analysis of their singing styles and transcription of their variations and improvisations.

·         Cool Jazz, West Coast and hard-bop examples; form and technical analysis and their transcription

·         Miles Davis and His Bands. Comparing his music in 1940’s 50’s 60’s 70’s and 80’s in terms of style, technique, and improvisation. Analysis and transcription

·         Free Jazz: Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor and Albert Ayler. Analysis of the differences between them. Form analysis and transcription

·         Charles Mingus documentary. Composition and Arrangement techniques. Style analysis and/or transcriptions

·         John Coltrane documentary. Analyis of his composition and arrangement tecniques in 3 different periods. Style analysis and/or transcription

·         Similarities and differences between Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett Style analysis and/or transcription

·         Jazz Rock and European Jazz

·         AACM Second Chicago school, free jazz and John Zorn. Listening and styles analysis.


Ear Training


This course will provide students to translate music notation into sound and movement, learning to sing and conduct music from notation at sight, accurately and without the aid of an instrument (given only a reference pitch);

Develop accurate inner hearing or musical imagination of pitches, rhythms, and sonorities; Express their inner hearing through vocal performance and conducting, and through dictation (notation of heard music);

The topics that will be adrressed in this course is;

·         Conducting patterns

·         Rhytmic studies

·         Sight-recognition studies

·         Moveable do principle

·         Sol fa studies

·         Melodic studies

·         Rhtythmic and melodic dictation

·         Intervals

·         Recognizing modes

·         Recognizing triad


Instrumental Ensemble


This performance course aims to cover up major jazz standards at the beginning level to be used for demonstration, practice and performance activities. The main emphasis will be playing with the band, interplay, cues, form, practice of improvisation, arrangement, interpretation and how to communicate musically with the band members through jazz language. Techniques covered include memorization procedure for song melody and harmony, listening skills, exercise design, pacing, chord tone soloing, tempo accuracy, swing rhythmic feel, melodic and rhythmic embellishment of song melody, and soloing with full rhythm section accompaniment.

Development of effective practice skills. Music from various periods of jazz (swing, bop, postbop, contemporary) will be used for demonstration, practice, and performance activities. Techniques covered include rhythmic feels (swing feel), accents and ghost notes, rhythmic syncopation (Latin and Turkish music), lower structure triads, phrase lengths, and soloing with full and partial rhythm section accompaniment.


Vocal Ensemble I


This course aims to improve vocal performance through singing in ensemble groups mainly addressing repertoire, practice of improvisation, phrasing, jazz jargon, arrangement ideas, stage presence and the use of theory in performance for each vocalist. Further emphasis will be given to interpretation, cues, form, practice of improvisation, arrangement, stage presence and communication with the band members. This performance course for vocalists gives the opportunity to rehearse the songs that are practiced in the private lessons with a rhythm section.  The main emphasis will be leading the band, cues, form, practice of improvisation, arrangement, interpretation, stage presence and communication with the band members. Each vocalist is going to be guided individually and subjects such as communication with the duo partner, leading rubato, stage presence, vocal composition, choir arrangement analysis, arranging for choir and extended vocal techniques will be addressed.


Private Instrument Technique Courses


This course aims to provide students one to one study of diverse techniques and application of those techniques with a private instructor for each jazz instrument (voice, piano, guitar, bass, drums, trompet, trombone, saxophone etc) . Main subjects that will be analyzed are phrasing, melodic and rhythmic variations, horizontal and vertical improvisation methods. Application of harmonic knowledge and improvisation techniques learned from transcriptions for each instrument.