theory shed

 

Most questions about jazz improvising are answered in the enjoyable (and long) process of learning tunes. Jazz is a language like any other, and its vocabulary, grammar and conventions are found in the rhythms, melodies and harmonies of our shared repertoire of tunes and solos.

That being said, there is plenty more to think about and work on while we are engaged in this practical tune learning - jazz is a complex music that happens in 12 keys and requires considerable musical sophistication - rhythmic, melodic and harmonic - as well as a quick and flexible mind and very strong instrumental and aural skills. Jazz theory can help us not just with harmony, but in all of these important areas.

Jazz theory, taken in this very broad sense, is potentially a huge subject! Our 4 levels of learning at Jazz School UK, covering beginner to professional level, comprise more than 120 specific theory points, skills and conceptual areas.

In fact jazz theory is so huge a subject that it can (and regrettably often does) become an activity in its own right, quite separate from the real business of playing! Players get so fixated on what they can intellectually understand that they neglect the development of what they can actually do!

The THEORY SHED days we offer this season concentrate entirely on the practical application of theory. So rather than expounding at length on the intellectual whys and wherefores, theories about theories and so on, we will be focusing on 8 specific sound areas and exploring them on our instruments through the keys. The theoretical work will be brief - the practical application will take all day.

All expert jazz musicians recognise the importance of this 'drilling' - only when we have quick and reliable access to the sounds of jazz language all over the instrument and all through the keys do we gain freedom to listen, and freedom to improvise.

Come and give it a try - you'll be amazed at the difference it will make to your playing!

The sessions are suitable for players of all jazz levels, as long as they have good instrumental ability.

 

On a lighter note, here's a video guide to harmonic description:

playing the changes

 

THEORY SHED 2019-20

(Sundays)

OCTOBER 20

II-V-1 TARGET TONES

(1) 3rds and 7ths

(2) joining 5ths and 9ths with chromatics

 

NOVEMBER 17

USING THE b9

 

DECEMBER 15

b9 #9 and ALTERED LANGUAGE

 

FEBRUARY 2

DIMINISHED LANGUAGE

 

MARCH 1

WHOLE TONES & LYDIAN DOMINANTS

 

MARCH 29

BANANAS & JUMPERS

 

MAY 10

TURNAROUNDS

 

JUNE 7

THE ONE CHORD

 

 

 

FAQ

Q Where do the sessions take place?

A The venue is the Shoefactory at Rushden, a beautiful Victorian building (with a grand piano in all three playing spaces), which is also the home of Jazz School UK founders Nick Weldon and Andra Sparks. More details, maps and links can be found on our About Us page. THEORY SHED sessions run 10.30am-4.30pm. The cost of each day is £70 (20% member and U18 discounts available).

Q How do I sign up?

A Register your interest using this form and we will then contact you to confirm your place and arrange payment.

CONTACT

NICK WELDON

Jazz School UK, The Shoefactory, 23b Fitzwilliam Street, Rushden, Northants NN10 9YW

mobile: 07971 409596

You can also contact us by email.

 

Thanks for reading!