Intermediate Level Session

For those of you already familiar with some concepts of jazz improvisation, we can focus on slightly more advanced jazz standards as well as looking at simple ways to re-harmonise/arrange the tunes. For example:

1. How High The Moon
2. My Funny Valentine
3. All The Things You Are
4. Beautiful Love

The Process

The above tunes are slightly more complex for a number of reasons. They include more than one key centre/scale, more than 4 to 6 chords, challenging to improvise over, and include more complex melodies. Breaking this down will be the focus of the day, enabling you to accomplish confident improvisations over each of the standards.

More than one key centre/scale – This can be a daunting task at first. How do you know when to change scale? How do you sound like you’re not just playing up and down scales? Why does that note work over this chord but not that one? Well, it’s simple really and we will follow a very similar process to the first session. By breaking down the harmony into bitesize chunks and exploring the chord tones, melody, root movement and colour tones you’ll have a good starting point. This workshop will include an insight into the theoretical concepts of jazz harmony and modes to help you better understand how to approach improvising over more challenging repertoire. We’ll also rely heavily on the ear, developing aural skills as a group to engage better with the music.

More than 4 to 6 chords – To begin with we will look at connecting the dots. In other words, examining common tones which connect more challenging sections of the repertoire. Common tones are notes which belong to a selection of chords. So if there is a section of music with 4 chords over two bars, there will be a selection of notes that work over all of the chords – even if the tune changes key!

Challenging to improvise over – Using all the tools outlined above we will begin to collectively improvise over each standard. Collective improvisation is a great way to improve confidence as well as helping you to develop as a jazz musician. During this session, we’ll also begin to look at the all-important phrasing of a solo – basically, when to play and when not to play! The idea is that by putting everything together, you will begin to be able to create a variety of interesting improvised solos with an emphasis on storytelling. Think of it as adding new tools to a toolbox so you are better able to complete a task.

More complex melodies – These tunes include more challenging melodies than the previous session. But that’s a very good thing! It means we’ll have more options when using the melody as a basis for improvisation. It also means our ears will be challenged a bit more – which is great! Aural development is fundamental to every jazz musician. Please do click on the pieces above and listen to them as often as you can. We hope to see you in November.

Re-harmonisation & Arranging

In conjunction with the jazz theory being examined, we’ll also delve into re-harmonisation and arranging. There’s certain tricks you can utilise to manipulate the harmony over any standard and we’ll look at the basic principle during the session. We don’t want to give away too much so you’ll have to book a space to find out more!

What we need from you?

An open mind and your instrument. That’s it! There’s nothing else to it. The workshops will take place at Chichester University in the recently built state of the art music block. There is a canteen/shop on site for breaks as well as vending machines in the music block itself. We hope to see you for the first session in October.

For more information please contact us at