Intro to Improvisation: Course Outline

Course #: MUSI 1601, section 1.  One credit
Semester: Spring 2019
Instructor: Earl MacDonald, Professor of Music & Director of Jazz Studies
Class meeting time: Mondays & Wednesdays, 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m.
Room #: MUSB 109
Earl MacDonald’s Office: MUSB 207
Office Hours: Mondays, 10 – 11AM; Wednesdays, 12:05 – 1PM, and by appointment (room MUSB 207)

Text Books:

“Maiden Voyage, Fourteen Easy-To-Play Jazz Tunes,” by Jamey Aebersold
Volume 54.
* play-a-long tracks can be downloaded via iTunes.

“The Jazz Theory Book,” by Mark Levine (optional)
Sher Music.  ISBN 1-883217-04-0

A great jazz solo consists of: 1% magic & 99% stuff that is
explainable, analyzable, catergorizeable, doable.
– Mark Levine, jazz pianist/author

The intent of this jazz improv course is to focus on the “99% stuff”.  By concentrating on elements of jazz theory, ear training, transcription, and playing, students will attain a solid foundation upon which to build as beginning jazz soloists.

Course material will include: chord symbol notation, chord/scale theory, basic chord progressions, song forms, rudimentary reharmonization, transcription & analysis of jazz solos, ear training (aural recognition of intervals, scales, chords and progressions), jazz terminology, the application of “licks”, bebop fundamentals, and other relevant topics.

Grading:

Performance tests: 50%
Solo transcription(s) and performance project(s): 20%
Written quizzes: 30%

A:    94 – 100%
A-:    90 – 93%
B+:    86 – 89%
B:    82 – 85%
B-:    78 – 81%
C+:    74 – 77%
C:    70 – 73%
C-:    66 – 69%
D+:    62 – 65%
D:    58 – 61%
D-:    51 – 57%
F:    0 – 50%

*The course content, schedule and grading scheme are subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.

Some useful telephone numbers:
Counseling and Mental Health Services: 486-4705 (after hours: 486-3427)   www.cmhs.uconn.edu
Career Services:  486-3013   www.career.uconn.edu
Alcohol and Other Drug Services:  486-9431   www.aod.uconn.edu
Dean of Students Office:  486-3426   www.dos.uconn.edu


Student Code:
You are responsible for acting in accordance with the University of Connecticut’s Student Code. Review and become familiar with these expectations. In particular, make sure you have read the section that applies to you on Academic Integrity:

●     Academic Integrity in Undergraduate Education and Research

●     Academic Integrity in Graduate Education and Research

Cheating and plagiarism are taken very seriously at the University of Connecticut. As a student, it is your responsibility to avoid plagiarism. If you need more information about the subject of plagiarism, use the following resources:

●      Plagiarism: How to Recognize it and How to Avoid It

●      University of Connecticut Libraries’ Student Instruction  (includes research, citing and writing resources)

Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment and Related Interpersonal Violence: The University is committed to maintaining an environment free of discrimination or discriminatory harassment directed toward any person or group within its community – students, employees, or visitors. Academic and professional excellence can flourish only when each member of our community is assured an atmosphere of mutual respect. All members of the University community are responsible for the maintenance of an academic and work environment in which people are free to learn and work without fear of discrimination or discriminatory harassment. In addition, inappropriate amorous relationships can undermine the University’s mission when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their authority. To that end, and in accordance with federal and state law, the University prohibits discrimination and discriminatory harassment, as well as inappropriate amorous relationships, and such behavior will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. Additionally, to protect the campus community, all non-confidential University employees (including faculty) are required to report sexual assaults, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking involving a student that they witness or are told about to the Office of Institutional Equity. The University takes all reports with the utmost seriousness. Please be aware that while the information you provide will remain private, it will not be confidential and will be shared with University officials who can help.

University Policies: Please get familiar with the university policies originate from the University Senate, the Office of Institutional Equity, Community Standards, and the Office of the Provost: http://provost.uconn.edu/syllabi-references/

Comments are closed.