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Pathways for Teaching Vocal Jazz Improvisation

Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE,volume 14)

Abstract

This chapter will present three common educational pathways used by teachers of vocal jazz improvisation. In the first approach, teachers immerse students in the sounds of jazz. Like a child learning to speak, students subconsciously absorb musical language, then progress to imitating masters and producing spontaneous creations of their own. The second method, in contrast, focuses on a conscious learning of the musical building blocks of jazz. Utilising theoretical analysis, students are guided through a sequenced curriculum that encompasses elements of melody, harmony and rhythm. From this, they attain a base knowledge that serves as a springboard for creation. The third pathway teaches vocalists to improvise on an instrument. This approach is often employed to avoid the difficulty singers experience with applying theoretical concepts without a fixed point of reference for pitch. Overall, this chapter will explore the strengths and weaknesses of the three pathways for teaching vocal jazz improvisation. The discussion makes conscious the options for twenty-first century music educators, and alerts them to the relevant environmental considerations when selecting a method.

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Correspondence to Wendy Hargreaves .

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Hargreaves, W. (2014). Pathways for Teaching Vocal Jazz Improvisation. In: Harrison, S., O'Bryan, J. (eds) Teaching Singing in the 21st Century. Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education, vol 14. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-8851-9_18

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