Jazz Composition and Improvisation—One and the Same: Part 1

by Russ Nolan Jazz Composition and Improvisation: Two Speeds Composition and Improvisation are one and the same, just at different speeds. Composition is Improvisation out of time and Improvisation is Composition in real time. Every piece of music is a penned improvisation and every improvisation is a

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Teaching Jazz As A Language Part 3: Are You Relevant?

by Russ Nolan Teach Jazz Students to be Relevant Jazz as a Conversation Finally, as important as it is to give beginning improvisers the proper tools to build with, it’s equally important to reinforce the idea that these tools are only the means to the end, not the

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Teaching Jazz As A Language Part 2: The Bebop Scale

by Russ Nolan Teaching Jazz As A Language: Using the Bebop Scale for Longer Phrases If the students show a basic understanding of the Blues Scale, I will move on to the Bebop Scale. One of the dividing lines between high school jazz students and college jazz

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Teaching Jazz As A Language Part 1: The Blues Scale as the First Words

by Russ Nolan Teaching Jazz As A Language: First Words One for the most challenging aspects of learning how to improvise or how to teach improvisation is where to start. Most of us did not grow up listening to Jazz around the house, however, we did grow

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JSL-Jazz as a Second Language for Beginners

By Russ Nolan Jazz as a Second Language Just like English, Spanish, German, French, Latin, etc., Jazz is a language. Did your parents sit you down one day when you were a toddler and say, “OK, Son/Daughter, now we are going to teach you English”? NO! We

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