Writing Jazz Combo Arrangements

Course Outline & Class Schedule

Fall Semester, 2011
Course #: MUSI 3631, section 001  (two credits)
Instructor: Earl MacDonald, Associate Professor
Class meeting times: Fridays 12 noon – 2 p.m.   Room #:   MUSB 107
office hours: Tuesdays, 11 am – 12 noon, Thursdays 1 – 2 pm

Text Book: “Jazz Arranging and Composing, A Linear Approach”
By: Bill Dobbins.  Advance Music.  ISBN 3-89221-006-3


In the first semester of jazz arranging (within a two semester sequence), we will concentrate on writing for small ensembles consisting of one, two & three horns plus rhythm section.  For each of the three instrumentations we will address several arranging techniques designed to create melodic and enjoyable parts for musicians.

Grading:
transposition quiz:  10%
transcription / analysis project: 20%

rhythm section notation project: 10%
3 arrangements: 15% + 20% + 20%

*one must be hand-written, and one must be generated with a computer notation program.

rehearsal & performance coordination / participation: 5%

There will be no formal midterm or final exam for this course.  Expect the workload to be demanding; but know that you are developing skills which can be used for the rest of your musical life.

Proposed timeline for covering the course material
:

Friday, Sept. 9:
- course outline, schedule, policies and grading explained.
- orientation: idea generation, arranging techniques, musical options.
- instrument transpositions, ranges, restrictions & demonstrations.
- transpositions: practice test homework

Friday, Sept. 16:
- grading of transpositions homework
- additional transposition exercises and homework
- rhythm section writing and assignment (due Sept. 30)
- transcription / analysis projects assigned (due Nov. 18)

Friday, Sept. 23:
- transposition / instrument ranges quiz                    10%
- Finale software instruction
- part copying instruction.
- quartet instruction.  quartet arrangement assigned. (due Oct. 7)

Friday, Sept. 30:
- rhythm section notation project due                        10%
- consultations for quartet assignment
- Finale software instruction

Friday, Oct. 7:
- mid-semester progress reports due to students   
- quartet assignments due. 
- reading session in the jazz rehearsal room.        15%

Friday, Oct. 14:
- 2-horn instruction & analysis.
- quintet arrangement assigned (due Oct. 28)   

Friday, Oct. 21:
- additional 2-horn instruction, analysis & discussion.
- consultations for quintet assignment

Friday, Oct. 28:
- quintet arrangements due.   reading session in the jazz rehearsal room.          20%

Monday, Oct. 31:
- last day to drop a class ☹

Friday, Nov. 4:
- 3-horn instruction and analysis.  sextet arrangements assigned (due Dec. 2)

Tues., Nov. 8:   
- rehearsal for Music Convocation performance.  3 – 5 p.m. VDM recital hall.

Thurs., Nov. 10:
- performance of selected arrangements in Music Convocation.  2 - 3 p.m. VDM recital hall.

Friday, Nov. 11:
- additional  3-horn instruction, analysis & discussion.      
- consultations for sextet assignment and Finale projects

Friday, Nov. 18:
- transcription projects due. analysis presentations
- reading session in the jazz rehearsal room.                      20%

Thanksgiving recess: Nov. 20 - 26
- No class.

Friday, Dec. 2:
- sextet arrangements due.
- reading session in the jazz rehearsal room        20%

Friday, Dec. 9:
- assessment of 6tet assignments
- requested topics
- suggested reading and listening lists in preparation for Jazz Arranging II: writing for jazz big band