An Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Jazz Improvisation
'Life is a lot like Jazz – it's best when you improvise.'
– George Gershwin
You have always wanted to try your hand at jazz or blues, but when you sit down in front of musicians you've never played with, and you are presented with music you've never heard or seen before, what do you play, and how do you play it? Waltons New School of Music's Jazz Improvisation Basics course addresses these questions by taking a step-by-step approach to all of the skills needed in order to effectively prepare you for any improvised setting. Music terminology, scales, ear-training, analysis, transcription, timing and phrasing are among the many tools that are explored. By the end of the course you will have learned:
- What to play – melodies, solos, 'comping' (accompanying) rhythms, bass lines, scales and modes, etc.
- How to play – how best to use the above.
- When to play – using your musical creative judgement to decide when, in the music, it is appropriate to use the techniques you have learned.
- Where you fit – your own role and the role of every other performer in the group.
Jazz Improvisation Basics, which is intended for instrumental or vocal students with at least one year's playing or singing experience, is an ideal introduction to improvised music making. Students can further develop and apply the skills they have learned in this course in the Jazz Blues Ensemble Workshop, followed by Jazz Ensembles I and II.
While this is not an ensemble class, playing your instrument (or singing) in the class is essential in order to apply practically what has been discussed in theory. Participants entering the course should have an understanding of basic music theory, including treble and bass clefs, note values, time and key signatures, scales, and frequently used terms and signs (Music Fundamentals I or Grade 1 music theory). Please print, complete and bring in a brief self-assessment questionnaire to the first class. (This pdf file requires Adobe Reader.)
Back to top
Comments from Students
'I have learned so much from this class! Dave is not only a master of his craft but is a patient, understanding and committed teacher.'
– B. O’Malley
'A great introduction to the mysteries of improvisation – not so mysterious after ten weeks!'
– M. Gould
'The course is both challenging and fun, and the teacher is excellent.'
– S. Walsh
Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire. Each term all feedback questionnaires are entered in a draw for a €50 gift token, which can be used either towards additional tuition at the school or for instruments, sheet music or accessories at Waltons Music shops.
Back to top
David Mooney, Teacher
Dave hails from south Dublin, but his musical pursuits have led him far and wide. He holds a BMus degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he studied with such world-renowned musicians and composers as John Lockwood and Joseph Smith, and also holds a diploma in Jazz Performance from the Guildhall School of Music in London. Dave has performed and recorded with a vast and varied array of artists. He has completed two successful European tours with Gavin Friday and has also performed with Sinéad O'Connor, Sarah Brightman, Jeff Ramsey (Al Jarreau Group), Dick Evans (formerly of the Virgin Prunes), Sarah Brindell, Honor Heffernan, the Young European Strings, Stambandet (a Scandinavian folk group) and many more. He was one of the founding members of the established New England jazz ensemble 3D4tet, and he has had many successful international tours including the Balkans, where he led his own jazz quartet and brought together top jazz musicians from Macedonia, Croatia and Serbia. Dave has performed widely in Ireland, and he was chosen to represent Ireland at the IASJ (International Association of Schools of Jazz) conference and concert in London. He has extensive experience as a music educator both in the US and Ireland, and he has taught both at the New School and for our outreach programme since 2005.
Back to top
2016-2017 First Term Schedule & Fee
Not offered in the First Term.
Tuition Fee: €170
Back to top
Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the course fee. Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. Early enrolment is recommended, as places are limited to eight.
Purchasing this course as a gift? Go to Enrolment & Booking Form Downloads for a Gift Certificate Booking Form.
Located in Dublin city centre, Waltons New School of Music is a comprehensive music centre, combining music tuition of the highest standard with innovative approaches to music education. The New School offers tuition in the broadest range of instruments and subjects of any music school in Ireland, for students of all ages, levels and abilities.
Back to top