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Jazz & Blues General Music Presentation
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Jazz & Blues General Music Presentation

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Presentation given in a general music methods course at the University of Miami on April 27, 2010. Topic is teaching jazz and blues in secondary general music courses.

Presentation given in a general music methods course at the University of Miami on April 27, 2010. Topic is teaching jazz and blues in secondary general music courses.

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  • Picasso: 3 Musicians
  • Chicago Picasso
  • Chrysler Building


  • 1. Teaching Music in the Historical Setting
    Blues and Jazz
  • 2. What IS Jazz?
    “Man, if you have to ask what it is, you’ll never know.”
    –Louis Armstrong
  • 3. Improvisation was the main source of melody
    Blues Scale was widely used
    “Blue Note” – Lowered 5th Scale Degree
    Musical Characteristics-Melody
    “Blue” Note
  • 4. Swing Style-Asymmetrical 8th Notes
    Accent on upbeats
    Other Styles:
    Latin (Salsa, Bossa Nova, Afro-Cuban)
    Musical Characteristics-Rhythm/Style
  • 5. Blues Form
    12-Bar form separated into three sections
    I III | IV IV I I | V7V7 I I
    IV in measure 9
    ii-V7in last measure (“turnaround”)
    Turn mm. 9-12 into one big turnaround:
    Musical Characterstics-Form
  • 6. Extreme dynamics on both ends
    Miles Davis
    Dizzy Gillespie
    Pushing the envelope of extremes
    Experimenting with new sounds
    Emotional vocal timbres
    Musical Characteristics-Dynamics/Timbre
  • 7. Extreme tempi on both ends
    “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” – Count Basie
    “Naima” – John Coltrane
    Pushing the envelope-“As Fast as Possible”
    Musical Characteristics-Tempo
  • 8. Small Ensembles (Combos)
    Horn Players (Trumpet, Sax, Trombone, etc.)
    Rhythm Section (Piano, Bass, Guitar, Drums)
    Sometimes included vocalist
    Sizes Varied (duet/trios up to eight or more)
    Large Ensembles (Big Band)
    Horns (5 Saxophones, 4 Trombones, 4 Trumpets)
    Rhythm Section (Piano, Bass, Guitar, Drums)
    Sometimes included vocalist or “featured” instrumentalist
    Musical Characteristics-Texture/Instrumentation
  • 9. How Did We Get Here?
    Historical/Socio-Cultural Contexts
  • 10. Map - http://bit.ly/jazzmap
    New Orleans
    New York
    Los Angeles
    Beginnings of Jazz
  • 11. The Blues
    Call-and-Response “work songs” on plantations
    “Lament” style lyrics
    Primarily string instruments (drums not allowed)
    New Orleans
    The “birthplace” of the blues
    Louis Armstrong becomes popular
    Socio-Cultural Contexts
  • 12. Inter-Related Arts: Painting
  • 13. Inter-Related Arts: Sculpture
  • 14. Inter-Related Arts: Architecture
  • 15. Additional Information
    Performance Practice
    Vocal/Instrumental Trends
  • 16. Swing Performance Practice
    Heavy accent on beats two and four (backbeat)
    Accented upbeats
    Exploring new instrumental techniques
    Trumpet-Growls, Shakes, ½ Valve
    Saxophone-Altissimo Register
    Trombone-Growls, Shakes, Glissandi
    Came from a need to express emotion in a different way
    Performance Practice
  • 17. Vocal/Instrumental Trends
    Remember: Jazz roots were vocal!
    Instrumental jazz became predominant
    Louis Armstrong brings improv to voice
    Billie Holliday continues the tradition
  • 18. Duke Ellington (1899-1974)
    Prolific bandleader/composer of jazz music
    “Take the ‘A’ Train”
    “Do Nothing ‘Till You Hear From Me”
    “It Don’t Mean a Thing…”
    Count Basie (1904-1984)
    Bandleader and composer
    Laid-back style
    Thad Jones (1923-1986)
    Continued jazz composition into middle of century
    Wrote for his band, along with Mel Lewis
  • 19. Supportive Materials
    Listening/Composition Lessons
  • 20. Compare/Contrast Jazz Styles
    Solo Piano-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0t8WSu6Tcc
    Discuss diversity of Jazz
    Listening Lesson #1
  • 21. Links:
    Student Handout/File: http://bit.ly/cceK3O
    Lesson Plan: http://bit.ly/cVwgyO
    Composition Assignment
  • 22. Rhythmic Differences-Dave Brubeck
    “The Duke”
    “Take Five”
    “Blue Rondo a la Turk”
    Discussion on use of rhythm in dances
    Is “Blue Rondo” easy or difficult to dance to?
    Listening Lesson #2
  • 23. “Goodbye! (Yesterday)”
    Buddy Rich Big Band