Charting Songs

July 9, 2010

Learning jazz repertoire takes time, and it can be very helpful to have a way to organize what you’ve learned so you can better remember it. This is a method of documenting critical song information for reference in the practice room, or as an aid in rehearsals and performances. There are five components to document. […]

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First Annual JEN Conference

June 3, 2010

JEN president Mary Jo Papich and president-elect Dr. Lou Fischer at Thurday night’s gathering for founding members of the Jazz Education Network. The inaugural JEN (Jazz Education Network) Conference, held Thursday May 20th through Saturday May 22 at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, exceeded all expectations. The almost 1,300 attendees, who traveled to […]

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Jazz Singing Goes to Class

March 2, 2010

Setting the stageIf you are teaching a jazz choir, you know that you will have to convey in-depth musical skills and information to a group of people with limited time constraints. If you are teaching jazz solo voice, you know that the teaching process will be different. Or is it? Historically, jazz singing has been […]

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Common Errors in Jazz Music Notation

October 28, 2009

When, in their music notation, jazz musicians violate fundamental rules of music theory, jazz is made less accessible to the classical music community, not to mention the promotion of inaccurate musicianship standards to jazz students. By contrast, jazz writers’ adherence to correct theory would benefit everyone, jazz and classical musicians alike. In this article I’ll […]

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Interpreting Slash Marks in Fakebook Leadsheets

September 14, 2009

INTRODUCTIONA jazz or popular-music fakebook is a book of songs presented as one-staff musical sketches consisting of each song’ melody, plus alphabetical chord symbols above the melody, and the song’ lyrics below the melody. Each such presentation of a song in a fakebook is known as a leadsheet. A fakebook is so called because the […]

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Mastering the Expressive Elements in Jazz Performance

March 18, 2009

Swing DefinedThe term “swing” entails more than just swing eighth notes or a style of jazz music. There is another factor in the modus operandi of jazz musicians and ensembles that really swing. The glossary found on the Web site of the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz ( defines this aspect of swing in this […]

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Swingin’ Transitions For Drummers

February 6, 2009

It is safe to say that all of us have either listened to, or played in, a young jazz group and that we are well aware of that awkward point in the music when the drum-fill transition approaches and the very excited drummer either rushes, drags, freezes, or plays something completely inappropriate. I cringe when […]

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Clave for Jazz Players

January 22, 2009

It is my experience in jazz education that the aspect of rhythm is surprisingly often marginalized or neglected. –

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The Power of Altered Pentatonics

October 21, 2008

Last time we covered a few different ways to utilize major and minor pentatonics to create a more structurally focused intervallic approach to our lines. This time, we’ll expand upon those concepts by taking a look at altered pentatonics and their uses in various harmonic situations. Altered Pentatonic ScalesWhile many players are familiar with the […]

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The Power of Pentatonics

August 19, 2008

Pentatonic scales are everywhere! They can be found in folk music from all around the world including: China, Japan, Greece, Poland, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Scotland. American spirituals such as “Amazing Grace” and “Old Man River” utilize pentatonic scales exclusively and many rock guitar players have built their entire careers upon the five notes of the […]

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