Jazz Questions 101
All questions were submitted by public school band directors. Earl hopes his responses will be helpful for teachers who don’t consider themselves “jazzers”, but who wish to further develop their ensembles, program and pedagogy. Please feel free to submit additional questions to Earl via e-mail. As with all his online articles, readers are encouraged to respond with comments, further insights or countering opinions. Please submit questions & comments to Earl via the “contact” portion of this site. Indicate whether or not he may post your response and if you would prefer to remain anonymous or have your name included.
- What is the protocol for kids who want to “sit it” with some local groups?
- What books would you suggest local piano teachers use to encourage authentic jazz playing
- What big band albums do you suggest we play for our high school students?
- My band has a strong guitar player and a young, inexperienced piano player. What strategies should I employ in rehearsal to balance the sound?
- If you could turn back the clock to when YOU were 15, what would you practice?
- Fill in your dream quartet. Who would you hire?
- Are there criteria for deciding on acoustic or electric bass during a set?
Jazz Composition and Music Arranging
Lecture notes, handouts and thoughts relating to the process of composing and arranging orchestral jazz music are included here.
- Jazz Arranging 1: Writing Jazz Combo Arrangements – Course Outline & Schedule
- Jazz Composition – Course Outline and Schedule
- Idea Generation
- Jazz Arranging Text Books
Selecting the right repertoire is a crucially important and challenging role for the director of any large jazz ensemble. Here, Earl shares his performance sets for several guest conducting engagements of regional high school and middle school jazz bands. He has also provided titles of level appropriate, educational jazz band charts which caught his attention while on the road adjudicating.
- 2009 Connecticut Northern Region Middle School Jazz Ensemble
- 2009 Massachusetts Central District High School Jazz Ensemble
- 2011 Connecticut Eastern Region High School Honors Jazz Ensemble (CMEA)
Instruction and handouts from Earl’s many years of teaching jazz improvisation in courses and master classes are listed below.
- Intro To Improvisation: Course Outline – Fall 2011
- Intro To Improvisation: Class Schedule – Fall 2011
- How To Transcribe Music
- Jazz Solo Transcription Project
- 12 Bar Blues Songs
Jazz Piano Lessons
The following jazz lessons are designed for young pianists with classical training who want to learn how to play jazz. Lesson topics include reading a piano chord chart, chord voicings, chord substitutions, etc.
- Lesson #1: Triads and 7th Chords
- Lesson #2: Chordal Extensions and Alterations
- Lesson #3: Labeling Voiced Chords
- Lesson #4: Left Hand Shells
- Lesson #5: Rootless Left Hand Voicings
- Lesson #6: Rootless Voicings, demonstrated
- Lesson #7: Fourths Piano Voicings (Maj7, V7 and mi7)
- Lesson #8: Fourths Voicings Applied To The Blues
Earl hopes that many aspiring jazz pianists will benefit from the lessons posted here. They are free for the taking, but if you find them beneficial, please consider buying one of Earl’s CDs, joining his mailing list and attending one of his performances.