Teaching Jazz

How and what to teach and learn.
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Trombone
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Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:34 pm
Location: Trombone Center of the Earth (Bristol)

Teaching Jazz

Post by Trombone » Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 am

Asking for a friend/

I'm primarily an ear player/ I have really strong ears and hear chord changes really reallly well and stuff/ but because i never went through the acdemic chanelles i'm not sure where to start or how to organize the info to make it more digestible. I'd really like ideas on hot to teach what i seem to just know.

again, sking for a friend/
I play and teach the trombone, as well as other novelties.
AndrewMeronek
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Location: Detroit area
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Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by AndrewMeronek » Wed May 16, 2018 10:32 am

The most important thing in jazz improvisation is to develop a vocabulary of musical ideas. Chord changes and scales do not constitute musical ideas, although they are useful. The language parallel would be that notes are like letters, chords and scales are like syllables, and the actual musical ideas (motifs or licks) are words, which are then connected to form sentences and paragraphs. To that end, learn musical ideas by learning others' solos, memorized, not just transcribing to paper. Play along with the recordings.
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
imsevimse
Posts: 199
Joined: Sun Apr 29, 2018 10:43 am
Location: Sweden

Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by imsevimse » Thu May 17, 2018 10:57 am

AndrewMeronek wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 10:32 am
The most important thing in jazz improvisation is to develop a vocabulary of musical ideas. Chord changes and scales do not constitute musical ideas, although they are useful. The language parallel would be that notes are like letters, chords and scales are like syllables, and the actual musical ideas (motifs or licks) are words, which are then connected to form sentences and paragraphs. To that end, learn musical ideas by learning others' solos, memorized, not just transcribing to paper. Play along with the recordings.
Great allegory! :good:

/Tom
"Do your best and then do better" ttf_watermailonman
baileyman
Posts: 102
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by baileyman » Sat May 19, 2018 9:37 am

Play cool rhythms with a couple notes and focus on time. Fill in the blanks later as you discover what they are.
bellend
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:08 am

Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by bellend » Sat May 19, 2018 9:41 am

You could check out this out.

Bert Boeren is a fantastic player and teacher and now runs an on line jazz trombone course.

VJOFan
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:39 am

Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by VJOFan » Fri May 25, 2018 10:59 am

The only part missing from this thread is having something to say when you play. If you have a feeling or a purpose you want to accomplish with your solo it makes a difference to the audience.

The technique should be there to facilitate your imagination.
Wilktone
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Location: Asheville, NC
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Re: Teaching Jazz

Post by Wilktone » Mon May 28, 2018 7:08 am

Trombone wrote:
Wed May 16, 2018 8:50 am
Asking for a friend/

I'm primarily an ear player/ I have really strong ears and hear chord changes really reallly well and stuff/ but because i never went through the acdemic chanelles i'm not sure where to start or how to organize the info to make it more digestible. I'd really like ideas on hot to teach what i seem to just know.

again, sking for a friend/
Are you asking for a friend that is wanting to do some teaching or are you asking because you want to help teach your friend?

For someone who learned to improvise primarily by ear, it may be difficult to translate that into a process to help advise someone just getting started with improvisation. If you (or your friend) is serious about learning to teach, it's worth taking some lessons yourself. If not for what you might learn about improvisation, but what you will learn about pedagogy. So-called "natural" players are often not the best communicators of how to play because they often haven't given serious thought on how to lead someone else along a similar path. When faced with a student that has challenges with a particular concept or technique that you haven't had you need to come up with some different ways to break it up into smaller goals.

My personal preference for teaching improvisation is borrowed from Hall Crook's writings on jazz improvisation. In one of his books, "Ready, Aim, Improvise," Crook breaks things up into three broad topics: What to play, When to play, How to play.

What - Includes things like chords, scales, playing outside the changes, guide tones, passing tones, etc.
When - Includes things like phrasing and using silence, also rhythmic topics
How - Includes things like range, dynamics, pacing, intensity

You then find a single, smaller scale topic and focus exclusively on that topic for a while. For example, you can take a week and practice soloing with chord tones. You can come up with exercises that force yourself into a box to gain facility with that topic. For example, you can practice doing chord arpeggios on a tune until you have the changes comfortable. You can practice soloing only using chord tones (no passing tones allowed). You can start every phrase on the 9th of the chord and end every phrase on the 3rd. Make it as easy or as hard as your student needs to be challenged, yet still attain a short term goal. Then move on to another topic. The basic idea is to try to be as musical as possible while under the constraints of the particular exercise. When you remove the exercise and just play you will have better command over that particular topic when and if you feel the urge to play it.

I've used this particular approach in both private lessons and group classes because it's easily customizable to the particular student, with a little thought and creativity.

Good luck!

Dave
David Wilken
www.wilktone.com
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