Course:         MUS 240 Jazz Improvisation I
Time:              Tu/Th 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Location:       BRB 114
Instructor:     Gary Motley     Office: 305 BRB
Phone:           (404) 727-1068
Email:             gmotley [at] emory [dot] edu

Attendance is expected at all class meetings. Absences due to illness or unavoidable personal circumstances will be excused but should be kept to a minimum.
Required Text: Handouts and materials supplied by instructor
Materials Required: Instrument, music notebook

Course Summary:

This course is an in-depth study of jazz improvisation and the fundamental elements necessary to develop musical ideas in the jazz idiom. Topics will include the study of form, common patterns, vocabulary and style analysis. Techniques will include transcription, practical application, sight singing and the development of original solo ideas. Principles to be covered will include melodic and harmonic analysis, phrase construction, ear training and solo development.

Improvisation Projects (Recording Sessions):

Students will be required to perform/record three improvised solos based on the material covered during the semester. Students are encouraged to listen to recordings of significant jazz stylists that perform on the same instrument as that of the student. Study and analysis of these recordings will greatly assist in the development of these projects. Students will then be required to transcribe a recorded solo of artist of their choice. All recordings must be approved by the professor. The length of the transcription will be determined by the professor. For the final transcription project the student will be required to:

  1. Complete a harmonic/melodic analysis of the solo
  2. Play the solo
  3. Provide class members with annotated copy of the solo.

Grading Policy:
Class Participation                   – 50%
Improvisation Projects – 20%
Blog Posts*                           – 20%
Written Assignments               – 10%
Total                                       –100%

Topic 1           Fundamental elements of improvisation
Topic 2           Major Scale
Topic 3           Dorian Mode
Topic 4           Mixolydian Mode
Topic 5           The ii7-V7-I∆7 progression
Solo 1            Recording Session
Topic 6           Blues Scale
Topic 7           Blues Form
Solo 2            Recording Session
Topic 8           Major Pentatonic Scales
Topic 9           Minor Pentatonic Scales
Topic 10        Dominant Seventh Pentatonic Scales
Solo 3            Recording Session

Topic 11        Bebop Major Scale
Topic 12        Bebop Minor Scale
Topic 13        Bebop Seventh Scale
Topic 14        Optional Topic (TBA)
Solo 4            Final Transcription / Recording Session

Blog Posts
Students will be required to post one excerpt from their video journal to the Jazz
Improv blog each week. Students will also be required to comment on at least
one video blog post each week. Students will also be required to post a comment
on a video posted by the professor. One video will be posted each week.