J a z z  F i d d l e  W i z a r d





The Author


Jazz  Wizard Junior book 1
(middle school)
Jazz  Wizard Junior book 2
(upper middle/high school)
Jazz Fiddle Wizard

Stringin' the Blues
(grade 3.5)
Swing on a String
(grade 3)
Swing There, Done That
(grade 2.5)

STRING QUARTET MUSIC: Jammin' Jazz Standards


Syllabus 1
Syllabus 2

Seifert Interview



BOOK 1: Middle School: Grade 1 & 2 string orchestra arrangements; improvisation exercises for the absolute beginner. (Click for more info)

BOOK 2: Upper Middle School and High School: Grade 2 & 3 string orchestra arrangements; improvisation exercises for the high school age beginner. (See below)

About BOOK 2:

  • Four new tunes for full string orchestra (grade level 2-3)

  • Inner melody concept

  • Tell a "story" in your improvisation

  • Bass lines included in all version

  • Flexible "line A, B & C" tune format for both homogeneous and heterogeneous groups

Click to download a full mp3 of one of the new tunes: Lazy Note Blues.

Here is the introduction to the Violin version:

Jazz Fiddle Wizard Junior 2 is a continuation of Jazz Fiddle Wizard Junior (Mel Bay, 2002) and is designed for upper middle school and high school string students. JFWjr 2 uses the same basic approach as JFWjr; students learn mainly through imitation, the same way we learn to speak our native tongue. It also introduces very easy optional chord theory but only AFTER the student has experienced improvising with chords aurally. The books come in three versions—violin, viola, and cello/bass—which are identical except for clefs and register; they are designed to be used together in studio and classroom situations. For advanced high school and college violin students, the original Jazz Fiddle Wizard (Mel Bay, 2000) is also applicable.


In addition to the continuing focus on rhythm, this volume introduces three basic concepts that are prerequisites to advanced jazz improvising: solo development, modes, and inner melodies. Solo development is the ability to “tell a story” in your improvisation—essential for connecting with your audience. Learning modes shows students that the finger patterns they already know can be used to create new scales such as Aeolian minor and Mixolydian. Most importantly, this volume introduces inner melodies, an innovative way of teaching improvisation on non-diatonic chord progressions. It focuses the student on the guiding notes that improvisers use to maneuver through changing chords. The goal is for students to be able to audiate (hear inside their heads) inner melodies even as they improvise around them. This concept helps students experience the “big picture” before delving into details. I have found inner melodies to be the single most potent technique to get students to improvise on advanced progressions immediately.


JFWjr 2 contains five lessons and four tunes and includes bass parts for all compositions (though the theory behind bassline construction is left out because it is covered in numerous bass instruction books). The original format of dividing performance pieces into lines A, B, and C is retained for maximum flexibility of instrumentation. Yet I recommend in a string orchestra performance that the violins play line A, violas line B, cellos line C, and basses the bass part. Though a live rhythm section is preferable in an orchestra setting (have the drummer learn the part off the CD and ask the pianist to disregard the left hand in the rehearsal piano part) I have successfully used the CD as background in chamber concerts using a boom box placed right behind the group. Since line A was designed as a violin part, be aware it reaches into the higher registers in the viola and cello books.


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Copyright © 2004 Martin Norgaard. All Rights Reserved.