MUSC 140: Jazz Improvisation I

Citrus College Course Outline of Record

Citrus College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Spring 2022
Credits: 3
Total Contact Hours: 72
Lecture Hours : 54
Lab Hours: 18
Hours Arranged: 0
Outside of Class Hours: 108
Prerequisite: Skills assessment or audition.
Transferable to CSU: Yes
Transferable to UC: Yes - Approved
Grading Method: Standard Letter

Catalog Course Description

This is a class for music majors and performing artists. Fundamental jazz harmonic theory, techniques, and practices of jazz improvisation in a variety of styles will be introduced and explored. 54 lecture hours, 18 lab hours.

Course Objectives

  • demonstrate on primary instrument beginning-level proficiency in linear materials utilized for jazz improvisation; select modes of major and melodic minor scales and their arpeggios, and fundamental melodic and harmonic patterns.
  • demonstrate in written form an understanding of the basic building blocks of jazz harmony: Concepts of modality and tonal center; the chords, arpeggios and chord scales of II-V-I progressions in all major and minor keys; and concepts of key areas in jazz harmonic progressions.
  • demonstrate on primary instrument correct and effective beginning-level improvisation on the II-V-I chord progressions of all major and minor keys, and the three most basic chord types (dorian minor 7th, dominant 7th and major 7th.)
  • demonstrate on primary instrument correct and effective improvisation on the chord progressions of select beginning-level standards of the jazz repertoire constructed of II-V7-I progressions in major and minor keys and the three most basic chord types (dorian minor 7th, dominant 7th and major 7th.)

Major Course Content

  1. Introduction to jazz melodic materials
    1. Major and Melodic Minor Scales and their most commonly used modes
    2. Arpeggios of Major and Melodic Minor modes
    3. Melodic patterns, standard phrases
  2. Introduction to jazz harmonic materials
    1. Basic chord spellings
    2. Basic jazz chord voicings and inversions
    3. Lead sheet chord symbols
    4. The "Cycle of Dominants" and the II-V7-I progressions in major and minor keys
  3. Introduction to jazz chord progressions 
  4. Introduction to jazz melodic phrasing and articulation
  5. Introduction to linear/harmonic approaches to improvisation
    1. Recognizing and utilizing key areas
    2. Chord scales
    3. Chord tones and arpeggios
    4. Fundamental voice-leading
  6. Solo improvisation
    1. Improvising on elementary jazz chord progressions
    2. Improvising on chord progressions of select beginning-level standards of the jazz repertoire
    3. Modal improvisation techniques

Lab Content

Each designated class sub-group will meet to rehearse assigned course content topics:

  1. Practice chord scales, arpeggios, and melodic patterns on primary instrument
  2. Practice application of improvisation techniques to assigned easy selections of the jazz repertoire and chord progression exercises

Suggested Reading Other Than Required Textbook

Assigned periodical and webpage articles

Examples of Required Writing Assignments

Written evaluation of live and recorded jazz improvisation using standard evaluation (adjudication) forms and short essay.

Examples of Outside Assignments

1. Develop, maintain and improve instrumental tone quality, intonation and loudness control, technique and musical rhythm projection on primary instrument. 2. Practice performance of assigned/approved improvisation skill development exercises. 3. Improvise on assigned chord progressions and selections of the jazz repertoire. 4. Transcribe, analyze and perform assigned recorded improvised jazz solos 5. Compose and perform original jazz melodic lines utilizing techniques discussed in class as assigned 6. Apply skills to performances with other jazz performing groups

Instruction Type(s)

Lab, Lecture, Online Education Lab, Online Education Lecture