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.

The THEORY SHED course days we offer this season concentrate on 6 areas from our syllabus, and explore the theory foundations (rhythm, melody, harmony, musical form and culture) of jazz improvising. The sessions are suitable for players of all levels, be they jazz beginners and improvers or those with more experience and a stronger level who have theory 'gaps' in any areas.

I will say at this point that the applied theory we teach here, as expert jazz practitioners, is very different from what you will find in most textbooks. It may be that you don't know yet what you don't know - so please give us a try - I guarantee our ideas and experience will give you new insight into your playing!

I hope I haven't sounded too negative about the benefits of harmony. I'm actually a harmony geeknut myself. We just have to find ways of learning harmony more effectively, so that it becomes a trusted friend rather than an unfathomable dominatrix whom we fear and crave. So we can get on with other more important things in our playing. Here's a video guide to harmonic description:

playing the changes

 

 

online payment

THEORY SHED 2018-19

(Sundays)

OCTOBER 28

NIKKI ILES + NICK WELDON

FORM MAPS

Experienced players turn charts into a simplified form map - once we have an internalised image of the form we have much more freedom to improvise. If you would like to learn this skill, and achieve this freedom, Nikki Iles and Nick Weldon can show you how!

NOVEMBER 25

DAVE LEWIS + NICK WELDON

SAXOPHONE SOUND AND ARTICULATION

Learn how to maximise, enhance and personalise your saxophone sound, and also make it swing!

january 6

NIKKI ILES + NICK WELDON

TARGET TONES AND MELODIC PATHS

One of our improvising goals is to deliver harmonic content -while we may at different times be concentrating on melody, rhythm or dialogue, we always need to be able to 'turn on' the harmonic content at any point. To do this we identify TARGET TONES that we can then link with MELODIC PATHS using scale and arpeggio fragments. An essential day for all improvisers!

february 3

TREVOR TOMKINS + NICK WELDON

DIFFERENT TIME SIGNATURES

Many jazz players spend their days and nights in 4/4 and 3/4, and are flummoxed when they meet other metres. Learning how to feel consistent pulse through a range of time signatures is in fact a very good way of improving our time security and freedom to improvise in all situations. Drawing on his long playing experience in jazz and his extensive study in Indian classical music, drum guru TREVOR TOMKINS has put together an invaluable workshop to introduce jazz musicians to these essential rhythmic skills. For all instruments!

march 3

DAVE O'HIGGINS + NICK WELDON

DIMINISHED RELATIONS

Not, as you might think, a marriage guidance session on the perils of addiction to jazz music, but in fact a day exploring the meaning, extent and practical use of diminished chords and scales in jazz improvisation. Fascinating stuff!

MARCH 31

PETE CHURCHILL + NICK WELDON

JAZZ WRITING

Insights into arranging, composing and chart writing from two experts in the field.

 

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 Please use this booking form to register your interest in any particular days and to let us know how you would like to pay. We will get back to you confirming availability and giving payment details. Once we have confirmed you can also pay online using the link opposite.

CONTACT

NICK WELDON

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

home: 01933 313969

mobile: 07971 409596

You can also contact us by email.

 

Thanks for reading!