Courses, Workshops, and Ensembles

Erica Lindsay

Erica Lindsay

Jazz Improvisation Workshop I

This class serves as an introduction to jazz improvisation. It is intended for incoming Jazz ensemble players who would like to develop as improvisers, or classical players who would like to explore improvisational techniques in a jazz framework.

Jazz Improvisation Workshop II

This class is structured as a continuation of Jazz Improvisation I. The goal is to gain mastery over all of the basic scales used in traditional jazz improvisation, and to attain the ability to improvise over basic two-five patterns and simple modal progressions. Prerequisite: Jazz Improvisation Workshop I or permission of the instructor.

Contemporary Composers Ensemble
This class involves the interpretation of contemporary composers’ works, ranging from sextet to big band. This will be an advanced class restricted to instrumentalists (and vocalists) who have the necessary reading, technical, and interpretive skills to perform demanding music. There will be a featured composer who will visit as a guest artist and perform in concert with the ensemble each semester. Pieces written by student composers involved in the jazz composition classes will also be performed. Class size varies according to the amount of qualified instrumentalists and the instrumentation requirements of the featured composer. Interested students are encouraged to sign up at registration, although confirmation of participation will only be given after auditions are held. Auditions are conducted during the first scheduled class meeting.
Jazz Composition I–II
This course covers the practical aspects of notation, instrumentation, Sibelius/Finale, and score/parts preparation that are necessary for the remainder of the two-year sequence. The first semester’s focus is on the less-structured realm of modal harmony. Students compose and have their pieces performed in class on a weekly basis, allowing them to find their voice and master the techniques necessary for a successful performance of their work. The second semester covers diatonic jazz harmony, starting with traditional forms of functional harmony and the interplay between the major and minor systems, followed by the progression of its breakdown into a more fluid, chromatic, and open-form system.
Jazz Arranging I

This composition class will focus on the various techniques used in jazz ensemble writing from trio to quintet ensembles with heavy emphasis on rhythm section arranging. Final projects will be recorded or performed live at the end of the semester. This is an advanced seminar class for moderated music majors. Prerequisites: Jazz Composition I and II or permission of the instructor.

Jazz Arranging II
This class will focus on the various techniques used in Jazz ensemble writing from sextet to big band ensembles. Classic drop-two voicings and tertiary approaches will be covered as well as more contemporary cluster, quartal and line part writing.  The various approaches to textural issues that arise in each particular instrumentation will be examined as well as various approaches to section writing.  Final projects ranging from Sextet to Big Band will be recorded or performed live at the end of the semester.  This is an advanced seminar class for moderated music majors. Prerequisites: Jazz Composition I and II or permission of the instructor.
  • Thurman Barker

    Thurman Barker

The Freedom Principle I
A jazz study of the cross-pollination between Post-Bop in the late fifties and Free Jazz. The course, which employs a cultural approach, is also designed to look at the social climate surrounding the music to examine its effects on the music from 1958 to the mid-sixties. Emphasis will be on artists and composers such as Cecil Taylor, Ornette Coleman, Art Blakey, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Max Roach, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, and Horace Silver. Illustrated with recordings, films, and videos. Class size: 15
The Freedom Principle II
This is a survey course in Jazz History, which is part II of a four- part course. This is a study of Jazz from 1927 to 1942, the big band or swing era.  Emphasis will be on  bandleaders such as Jimmie Lunceford, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Teddy Wilson, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. This course employs a cultural approach designed to look at the social climate surrounding the music from 1927 to 1942 and examine its’ effect on the music.  This will be illustrated with recordings, films and videos. This class requires oral presentation and critical listening.
The Freedom Principle III
The third part of a four-part course in Jazz History. This section is a study of modern jazz from 1937 to 1950. Emphasis will focus on modern musicians such as Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach. We will examine the solo and combo style of these musicians. Also we will examine how the music developed from Swing to Bebop. This will be illustrated with recordings and films. This course employs a cultural approach designed to look at the social climate surrounding the music through the 40’s, such as World War II, Jim Crow laws in the south and the recording industry strike. Classroom discussions will focus on the different styles of each musician. Students will be evaluated by written assignments and oral presentations. This course reaches out to anyone with an interest in Jazz and would like to get a better understanding of the music and its effect on our culture in the last 100 years.  Enrollment limited.  This course counts towards the music history requirement for music majors.  Class size: 16
The Freedom Principle IV
This Jazz History course which is part four of a four part course.  Part four is a study of Jazz after 1952 to the early 70’s.  The course will examine the extreme shifts in jazz styles from Cool, to Hard bop to the Arvant Garde.  Emphasis will be on musicians associated with these styles such as Stan Getz, Lee Konitz, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, Anthony Braxton and Muhal Richard Abrams.  The course will discuss the solo and combo styles of these musicians.  The course employs a cultural approach designed to look at the social climate surrounding the music from 1952- 1972 and examine it’s effect on the music.  This will be illustrated with recordings and films.  The class requires oral presentation and critical listening.  This course is for juniors and seniors who have moderated into music.  This fulfills a music history requirement for music majors. Class size: 15
Jazz In Literature I
This course presents some of the short stories and poems by Rudolph Fisher, Langston Hughes, Ann Petry, and Julio Cortazar. The text used in this section is Hot and Cool by Marcela Briton and the Harlem Renaissance Reader, edited by David Lewis. Class size: 18
Jazz In Literature II
We will study the words of Gary Giddins in Visions in Jazz and Robert Gottlieb from his book entitled Reading Jazz in order to bring attention to some important literature on Jazz. Some of the writers look beyond Jazz as an art form, but also bring attention to the historical influence on culture, race, tradition and our social experience.  Writers like Albert Murray, Ralph Ellison, Eudora Welty. There is an attempt in their works to illuminate the significance of the musical potential the musicians inherit and the creative option they exercise.  This course includes the words of many who have been hailed as Jazz Greatest Musicians.  This fulfills a music history requirement for music majors. Class size: 18

 


John Esposito

John Esposito

Jazz Harmony l
Introduces the basic harmonic structures that are components of the Blues and the Tin Pan Alley songs that modern Jazz musicians used as vehicles for improvisation. Basic keyboard skills are learned including transposition. The semester includes a short historical survey of Blues and of Jazz from Ragtime to the Swing era as part of the effort to understand the practice of the technical/aesthetic fundamentals specific to Jazz as a 20th century African-American music including an introduction to the contribution of female musicians to the Jazz legacy. There is an ear-training component to this course. The melodic component includes singing the basic 20th century harmonic materials, Blues melodies and transcriptions of solos by Jazz masters. It includes the practice of the syncopated rhythmic language underlying linear melodic phrasing. The harmonic work includes singing the basic 20th century harmonic materials, Blues melodies and transcriptions of solos by Jazz masters. This course fulfills a music theory/performance requirement for music majors. Required course for moderating into the Jazz program.
Jazz Harmony ll

This course includes acquisition of the basic skills that make up the foundation of all jazz styles.  We will also study the jazz language from the bebop era up to the ’60s. This course fulfills a music theory requirement for music majors.

Bebop Masters l
This performance based course is a survey of the principal composers and performers of the bebop era. Musicians on whom we focus are Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. The course will include readings, recorded music and films. The students and instructor will perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Prerequisite: Jazz Harmony I or permission of the instructor. This course counts towards the music history requirement for music majors and can be taken as a companion course to Jazz Harmony II.
Bebop Masters ll
This performance based course is a survey of the principal composers and performers of the bebop era.  Musicians on whom we focus are  Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. The course will include readings, recorded music and films. The students and instructor will perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Prerequisite: Jazz Harmony I or permission of the instructor. This course counts towards the music history requirement for music majors and can be taken as a companion course to Jazz Harmony II.
American Popular Song

This performance-based course surveys the major American popular song composers of the Tin Pan Alley era, whose work forms the core of the jazz repertoire. Composers studied include Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Ellington, Warren, and Rodgers. Students and the instructor perform the music studied in a workshop setting. Repertory subjects have also included John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, and bebop masters. Prerequisite: Jazz Harmony II or permission of the instructor. This fulfills a music history requirement for music majors. Class size: 15

The Music of John Coltrane l
An immersion in the music of a Jazz master; includes readings, recorded music and films.  Coltrane’s music will be performed in a workshop setting by students and instructor.  Visiting artists will play and discuss the music. Prerequisites: Jazz Harmony II, or permission of Instructor. This fulfills a music history requirement for music majors.  Class size: 18
The Music of John Coltrane ll
An immersion in the music of a Jazz master; includes readings, recorded music and films.  Coltrane’s music will be performed in a workshop setting by students and instructor.  Visiting artists will play and discuss the music. Prerequisites: Jazz Harmony II, or permission of Instructor. This fulfills a music history requirement for music majors.  Class size: 10
Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques l
This course introduces methods for the jazz improviser to deconstruct and reorganize the basic harmonic and rhythmic elements for a composition. Issues addressed will include reharmonization, remetering, metric modulation, variations in phrasing, tempo, and dynamics; that is, the arrangement and reorganization of compositional elements. This is performance oriented class and repertoire will include jazz standards and compositions of the instructor. This class is open to moderated upper college students who have successfully completed Jazz Harmony I and II, and previous jazz repertory classes. This course fulfills an upper level music theory requirement for music majors. Class size: 10
Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques ll
This course continues methods for the jazz improviser to deconstruct and reorganize the basic harmonic and rhythmic elements for a composition.  Issues addressed will include reharmonization, remetering, metric modulation, variations in phrasing, tempo, and dynamics; that is, the arrangement and reorganization of compositional elements.  This is a performance oriented class and repertoire will include jazz standards and compositions of the instructor.  This class is open to moderated upper college students who have successfully completed Jazz Harmony I and II, and previous jazz repertory classes.  This course fulfills an upper level music theory requirement for music majors. Class size: 10
Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques lll
This course will focus on strategies for improvisation without predetermined chord structures or rhythmic frameworks and on methods for shaping performances spontaneously.  We will also explore collaboration with artists from other disciplines such as dance, spoken word and visual arts. This class is open to moderated upper college students who have successfully completed advanced contemporary Jazz techniques A & B. Class size: 10
Advanced Contemporary Jazz Techniques lV
This course will focus on strategies for improvisation without predetermined chord structures or rhythmic frameworks and on methods for shaping performances spontaneously.  We will also explore collaboration with artists from other disciplines such as dance, spoken word and visual arts. This class is open to moderated upper college students who have successfully completed advanced contemporary Jazz techniques A & B. This fulfills music theory requirements. Class size: 10

Pamela Pentony

Pamela Pentony

photo by China Jorrin

Jazz Vocal Workshop
2 credits  A performance workshop designed to familiarize the beginning singer with the components of a successful Jazz performance. How to begin a song (intros) and how to end a song (outros and turnarounds), how to pick a key, a song and a tempo. Rhythmic and melodic alterations are explored.  How to utilize simple (and not so simple) arrangements. Particular attention is paid to phrasing. The language of scat singing is explored, with emphasis on practice in every class. The forms of the blues, rhythm changes and 32 bar song form, and practical applications are taken from The Great American Songbook. There is one (or more) concert(s) scheduled during the semester and students are encouraged to seek out and perform in many local venues. Jazz chorus meets separately. There is a final exam in this class. Class size: 25

Carlos Valdez

Carlos Valdez

photo by Kazio Sosnowski

Samba School
2 credits  Samba School provides the opportunity to learn exotic Brazilian rhythms (samba, maracatu, batucada, samba reggae).  All skill levels welcome, taught in two sections: Advanced & Beginners. Class size: 40

Mike DeMicco

Mike Demicco

Sight Reading Workshop
2 credits  This workshop is designed to improve basic music reading skills.  Drawing from a varied selection of material such as lead sheets, Jazz fake book charts and simple to intermediate classical etudes, students learn to read melody and rhythm more confidently. This course works well for C (concert) instruments and may be adapted for other instruments as well.  Class size: 12