Jazz Improvisation Clinic, 31 May 2015 @ Big Band Blast

This PowerPoint presentation (in PDF format, below) is from my Jazz Improvisation and Practice Techniques clinic at the Big Band Blast music festival, 29-31 May, 2015 in Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia. This presentation was designed for an audience of primarily high school music students (as well as some teachers and adult students), spanning a fairly wide range of experience in and knowledge of jazz improvisation and music performance - some had no previous experience in jazz improvisation, while others had a fairly good foundational understanding of chord/scale theory. I structured my talk so that hopefully most (if not all) students present could take something of value to continue working on over the coming months and years. None of the material that I presented was by any means original; these concepts are widely known and established in the jazz education canon and literature. Where I discuss a concept stemming from a specific example, the appropriate citation is listed. The single main idea that I wanted students to take away from this clinic was the importance of learning and internalizing solo transcriptions (and exploring those transcriptions) by ear, as a means to develop aural skills and jazz vocabulary, from which to base their own improvisations upon.

If anyone has any questions regarding the concepts that I discuss here, please don't hesitate to email me at info@nielsrosendahl.com.

Slides: Jazz Improvisation and Practice Techniques

The transcription software that I used in the clinic is Transcribe! which is available online. The method of transcription I demonstrated was to loop a segment of music (preferably without slowing it down), using the A-B  loop function. The longer the segment you can loop, the more challenging and better for your long-range aural skills/memory. Work the passage out in real time on your instrument, without stopping the loop. Progressively correct your mistakes as you play along with the recording, pass after pass of the same loop. I find that this repeated looping of the solo excerpt that I'm transcribing, further reinforces the the line (and the sound of the line - e.g. phrasing and articulation) into my memory, making it progressively easier to recreate (in both the original and other keys) by ear.