J a z z F i d d l e W
i z a r d
(Several presentations and panels recorded at various IAJE conferences are available on CD from http://www.onsiterecording.net)
For my one hour presentations at conventions I choose from the following titles and descriptions:
Was My Solo?" - Methods for Evaluating Improvisation
improvisers can still incorporate advanced story-telling devices such as space,
speed, register and complexity. Using a jazz string demonstration group, the
clinician will show how these devices, converted to evaluation criteria, produce
Title: "What your middle school string students need to know to
perform a successful jazz solo"
Title: "How to turn your orchestra into a jazz string big band"
Reading session featuring arrangements that include improvised solo sections. Issues such as singing jazz rhythms, correcting bowings and shaping jazz lines are covered, as well as techniques for improvising over chord changes. Bring your instrument!
Title: "Integrating Jazz Into the String Curriculum"
In this participatory session, the clinician will introduce easy jazz improvising concepts, techniques, and methods for strings. Using handouts from his books, Jazz Fiddle Wizard and Jazz Fiddle Wizard Jr, he will discuss how to organize concepts sequentially for use in a school string program. Bring your instrument!
Title: "Step by Step Jazz Improvisation in the Studio and Classroom"
Even the classically trained string player can learn to play and teach improvisation! This presentation will introduce easy jazz improvising concepts, techniques, and methods for strings and will demonstrate how to use these in your studio/school, both with your students and for your own professional development. The presenter will use handouts from his books, Jazz Fiddle Wizard and Jazz Fiddle Wizard, Jr. published by Mel Bay Publications. The presentation will include a discussion on how to organize these concepts in a sequential program of study based on students’ background, interest, and ability.
I presented the followed 3 clinics at the 2006 International Suzuki Conference in Minneapolis:
Title: "Integrating Jazz Improvisation Into Group Lessons"
A student’s technical and artistic development can be fostered and enhanced through involvement in a variety of stylistic approaches. In this session, the clinician will introduce easy jazz improvising concepts and techniques. A sequential organization of these elements for use in Suzuki group lessons will be discussed and experienced through participatory exercises. Handouts will be provided.
Title: "Integrating Jazz Improvisation into Heterogeneous Group Classes and Orchestra"
A student’s technical and artistic development can be fostered and enhanced through involvement in a variety of stylistic approaches. In this session, the clinician will introduce easy jazz improvising concepts and techniques. A sequential organization of these elements for use in heterogeneous groups will be discussed and experienced through participatory exercises. Handouts will be provided. Bring Your Instrument.
This clinic, also presented at the Suzuki conference, was geared towards students:
Title: "Explore Your Creative Potential through Improvisation."
This session guides you through a series of steps that will have you improvising immediately in an easy and fun way. We will play jazz and rock pieces with improvised solo sections and talk about phrasing and articulation in Jazz. Bring your instrument.
For teacher in-service days or other events where I present multiple sessions with the same participants, I usually follow a sequential structured divided according to grade levels:
Title: "Beginning Jazz Improvisation in the Classroom Grades 5-8"
Participatory presentation based on the Jazz Fiddle Wizard Jr. series.
The session draws analogies between language and improvising and
demonstrates how to introduce improvising into the middle school classroom.
Reading session featuring arrangements that include improvised solo sections. Techniques for improvising over chords in more than one key. Presentation concludes with a discussion of amplification and other logistical concerns.
The sessions below are some of my sessions from IAJE's Teacher Training Institute:
Title: "Essential solo techniques for high school students"
In high school you can introduce very easy chord theory that will teach the students how to find the inner melodies and basic scales in a jazz chart. The session will also cover how to memorize tunes by singing the melody of the root movement.
One can learn a lot about soloing by transcribing, playing and analyzing jazz solos. The clinician will demonstrate how one can learn everything from simple rhythm figures to advanced jazz solo techniques directly from actual jazz recordings. By organizing the solos chronologically one can organize the theory derived from it sequentially.
Title: "Jazz string reading session"
Improvisation: Rhythm, Articulation, Bowing and Easy Scale Improvising"
typically lag behind beginning horn improvisers in the area of rhythm,
articulation, and jazz theory. This session will quickly bring the string player
up to par by converting classical bowing techniques such as martelé into jazz
accents, by practicing jazz rhythms to a recorded rhythm section, and by filling
in the missing link between scales and improvising. Techniques such as changing
direction, skipping pitches, and adding rhythms to scales will be demonstrated.
Participants will form a jazz string ensemble to play exercises and pieces from
the clinician’s middle school Jazz Fiddle/Viola/Cello Wizard Jr.
Improvisation: Bebop Scales, Major and Minor ii-V-I Progressions, and More"
To the surprise of
many string players, classical theory concepts easily transfers to jazz. For
example, Bach composed with chord notes on the beat; jazz musicians improvise
with chord notes on the beat. The ii-V-I progression is simply the jazz version
of the classical cadence, and guide tone lines are derived from voice-leading
techniques. Lessons from the clinician’s book Jazz Fiddle Wizard will
be used to teach jazz improvising relevant to the advanced high school or
freshman college student. Participants will analyze and improvise on “Pent-Up
House” plus listen to the classic duet by Stephane Grappelli and Jean-Luc
Ponty from Violin Summit.
Improvisation: Arpeggios Shapes, Altering the Dominant, and Playing Tunes"
are expanded to shapes that force the player to view the chord with all its
possible extensions. Non-diatonic notes are introduced using dominant
alterations demonstrated chordally and melodically. The principle of tension and
release is related to all concepts used in this and previous sessions.
Participants will analyze and improvise on tunes from the jazz repertoire
applicable to freshman and sophomore college students.
to Tailor a Jazz String Ensemble to Your Program"
There are two type
of jazz string ensembles: the jazz combo in which amplified strings play to a
rhythm section, and the self-contained jazz string quartet as exemplified by the
Turtle Island String Quartet. All participants will play transposed horn charts
on electric instruments with a live rhythm section. Afterward, they will learn
from the rhythm section how to imitate piano accompaniment, play bass lines, and
use the “chop” technique to imitate drums. The clinician will discuss the
development of the Belmont Jazz String Ensembles, which have won jazz
competitions and have been featured at IAJE and MENC conferences.
String Jazz History into the Orchestra Classroom"
Solo transcriptions and originals by the giants of jazz strings such as Eddie South, Joe Venuti, Svend Asmussen, Stephane Grappelli, Stuff Smith, Jean-Luc Ponty and Zbigniew Seifert are played and analyzed. Participants will recognize elements introduced in previous sessions in the solo and styles analyses and will learn to use licks in their practicing in creative ways.
Resources for the String Educator"
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