Developing and Maintaining an Instrumental Jazz Program

This session addresses the basics of starting, developing, and maintaining a jazz program in the schools including rationale, curriculum, rehearsal techniques, programming, and equipment.

 

The Jazz Commandments:  Guidelines for Successful, Authentic Swing Performance

The interpretation of jazz style is crucial to the element of swing in any jazz ensemble performance.  Many charts today for both large and small jazz ensembles are well marked with articulations and expression markings.  However, in some cases there is nothing to guide the instructor or student.  In this clinic, I address some of the articulation and style situations that are commonly found in jazz music.  In doing so, I present a set of guidelines that can be used to guide decisions regarding the treatment of notes and rhythms in the swing style of the jazz idiom.  Armed with this set of general guidelines, it will be easier to sound more stylistically accurate and authentic.  The ultimate goal of this clinic is to provide useful tips for helping your students understand jazz articulation and style.

It's All About the Rhythm (Section):  The Key to Jazz Ensemble Success

The rhythmic feel is the most important element of jazz. The integrated effort of the rhythm section in establishing the rhythmic feel, i.e. "creating the groove," is one of the most crucial elements of a successful jazz performance. This session demonstrates rhythm section techniques that address crucial elements of "groove" and style in authentic jazz performance.

 

How Do You Make 'Em Swing After They've Seen Paris?

Establishing the swing feel i.e. "finding the groove" is one of if not the most crucial elements of a successful jazz performance.  The rhythmic feel is the most important element of jazz.  As one great American composer (Duke Ellington) so aptly expressed it in his song title, "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing".  To paraphrase a contemporary politician, "It's the rhythm, stupid".  This session will explore techniques that address the crucial elements of jazz performance of "groove" and style. 

 

RX: Developing A Healthy Rhythm Section

I.          The rhythm section in the jazz ensemble:  the history

II.         Developing facility and technique on the individual instruments

III.       Understanding the jazz language and nomenclature.

IV.       Understanding various jazz styles

V.        The integrated role of each rhythm section player as related to each other and to the ensemble

VI.       Opportunities for application - putting it all together

 

The T.O.T.A.L. Approach to Jazz Education

This five-part instructional model is designed to help jazz educators develop a more comprehensive approach to teaching jazz, so that they may assist students in gaining a knowledgeable exposure to jazz and help them learn how to appropriately and accurately "speak the language" of jazz on their instrument or with their voice.  (i.e. to play/sing stylistically correctly and to be able to improvise in a manner which is consistent with the stylistic norms).  It also helps the instructor coordinate instruction with the National Standards.

ABC/123: Jazz Piano Voicings for the Novice

This clinic is designed for novice jazz pianists and directors who want to help their jazz ensemble pianists sound better. Topics addressed include the role of the rhythm section and the role of the pianist within the rhythm section as well as when to play and not to play and what to do with the piano part in a jazz ensemble chart. The session will cover how to interpret the nomenclature and the chord symbols, and how to avoid wrong notes and bad sounding voicings. A systematic approach to voicing chords and developing comping rhythms will be introduced and demonstrated so that by the end of the session the participants will be able to create 3-note, 4-note, and 5-note chord voicings that sound good and play comping patterns will enhance the sound of your rhythm section and your jazz charts.

 

Spice Is Nice: Mastering Latin Grooves

I.          There are literally hundreds of Latin styles that originate from all parts of the Caribbean and South America most of which are based on indigenous dances.

 

II.         To play these styles you need to know where they come from and what elements are needed to make them sound authentic.

 

III.        Much Latin style music was designed to be played by an instrumentation other than the traditional jazz ensemble rhythm section, especially drumset.

 

IV.       Authentic performance of Latin styles involves understanding the roles of the rhythm section instruments and the importance of layering and patterning.

 

V.         The rhythm section, especially the bass and drum pattern, is crucial to the successful performance of Latin styles.

 

VI.       This clinic will focus on how to make your rhythm section sound more accurate so that your Latin styles are more authentic

 

Jazz Combo: A Valuable Alternative and/or Addition to Your Jazz Program/Curriculum

I.          Rationale

A.  Instrumentation inequities/flexibility

B.  Chamber experience for students

C.  More individualized instruction

D.  Time factors

E.  Opportunity for more intensive study of improvisation

F.  Opportunity to study Masters of craft

II.         Instrumentation

III.        Curriculum

A.  Addresses MENC National Standards

B.  T.O.T.A.L. Approach

C.  Improvisation Philosophy

            1. Scale Approach

            2. Harmonic Approach

            3. Melodic Approach

C.  Historical perspective

IV.       Resources

 

 

Rehearsal Techniques for Jazz Directors

 

This session addresses practical techniques for rehearsing your jazz ensemble.

A. Goals

B. Physical Set-up

C. Part Assignments

D. Programming

E. Editing

F. Warm-up

G. Articulation/Rhythm exercises

H. Style

I.  Vocalization

J. Tune Rehearsal

K. Rhythm Section

L. Solo Development

 

Unlock the Secrets to Solo Success: Nine Keys to Better Jazz Improvisation

 

This clinic describes nine steps that aspiring soloists can take to improve the quality of their improvised solos. Whether beginner, intermediate, or advanced soloist, this session will help you. Topics addressed are technique development, tune analysis, learning tunes, practice methods for running changes, the use of repetition and sequence, developing solo vocabulary, the use of non-chord tones, how to handle chord tone and non-chord tone resolutions, and the use of alterations and extensions.

 

Developing Creative Jazz Improvisation: Use the L.I.A.R.S. System

 

Developing improvisation skills in your jazz ensemble is always a challenge that is influenced by limited instructional and rehearsal time. This session will explore a five-step process designed to help your students create logical, idiomatic, yet creative improvised solos that demonstrate an authentic knowledge of the jazz language.

© 2019 by Jerry Tolson.