The ensembles are at the very heart of our learning programme at Jazz School UK - the regular meetings and carefully graded repertoire ensure steady and consolidated progress for players of all abilities and experience, from beginning improvisers right through to aspiring professionals.
Knowing the tunes in advance - exploring new improvising skills and coming back to them repeatedly to consolidate knowledge - establishing musical relationships in a regular group - all these things give purpose and meaning to your practice between each meeting. Improvement is unavoidable!
‣ HOW TO LEARN JAZZ LANGUAGE
The language of jazz improvisation consists mainly of the melodies and rhythms of its repertoire. That's why good jazz musicians, as a matter of course, learn repertoire by heart.
Hence our Jazz Ensembles - tutored playing groups working through a set of tunes and standards that have been decided in advance, giving you the opportunity to acquire real jazz language.
We have put together a great collection of tunes - ranging from Fats Waller to John Taylor, and everything in between! We have chosen them mostly not only for the specific improvising challenges they throw up, but also because they are now in themselves part of the jazz lexicon.
Learning repertoire by heart, and learning how to transfer what you hear directly onto the instrument without conscious calculation - these are the most important steps in improving your jazz playing.
As we go through each season, we also explore the fundamental principles of the music - the rhythmic foundations both of swing and latin pulse, how to play both on and through chords (two different things!), how best to use all the scales and modes in different situations, how to lock in with the rhythm section, how to practise, how to create dialogue, shape and atmosphere in your solos, and much much more.
As you can tell from the tune lists, the higher ensembles become more and more challenging, musically and technically. The pace and intensity of the sessions also increase - and while Gollumites may do a lot of work on basic principles and skill development, the advanced Gandalfinis will concentrate more on advanced ensemble techniques and improvising concepts.
The ensemble programme (rhythm section plus frontline) covers the whole range of playing experience and ability from jazz beginner through to aspiring professional.
‣ ensembles and LEVELS
Bilbo (intermediate/intermediate +)
Jazz Singers and Accompanists (improver/intermediate/advanced)
The Shoefactory Band (intermediate +/advanced)