Jazz Ensembles

Jazz Band

Jazz Band is an advanced course designed for experienced jazz students who are interested in furthering their studies of jazz improvisation concepts. This course will begin with the introduction of 32-bar song form and 12-bar blues progressions. In-depth study of scales, modes, and the respective harmonic relationships will be addressed, along with tune analysis. Most importantly, however, all concepts will be realized on their own instruments, with piano being a reference for all participants in the course.

  • .5 credits – year-long minor – by audition

Jazz Modern

Designed as an intermediary ensemble, the Jazz Modern class explores improvisation through both an artistic and analytic approach. From an analytical point of view, students develop improvisatory techniques by developing a deeper understanding of theoretical concepts and how they inform one’s approach as a soloist. From an artistic point of view, heavy emphasis is placed on developing one’s “sound” by focusing on approaches to articulation and phrasing unique to a student’s particular instrument. The Jazz Modern ensemble engages in several performances throughout the year and moves through a great deal of repertoire at a fast pace. Advanced skills in reading music is a prerequisite for the course.

  • .5 credits – year-long minor – by audition

Jazz Orchestra

In this course, students explore a wide variety of “big band” repertoire, ranging from the elegance of Duke Ellington to the bold sounds of Tower of Power. This class focuses on building skills in large ensemble playing with an emphasis on listening and developing the “swing” feel, jazz articulations, dynamics, and musical interpretation. The work of the class culminates in winter and spring performances. Participation in the course assumes instrumental proficiency and basic skills in reading musical notation.

  • .5 credits – year-long minor – by audition