Fragment of a lesson on jazz improvisation
(with 10-13-years-old children)

Theme for improvisation is "Ja-Da" arised in 1918. It may be attributed to Dixieland. One can try to improvise on this theme and in Swing style.

  1. Beginning the work on the theme it is useful and very desirable that pupils would familiarize themselves with Dixieland and Swing styles.

    This process is realized by two manners:

  2. When the pupil has acquianted with peculiarities of Dixieland style you may proceed to practical lessons on the theme.

  3. Let us get down to construction of chords. The theme is harmonized by simple chords and consists of four phrases. Three of them are almost the same by musical language.

    As a rule, 10-years-old pupils and older ones quickly build chords in right and left hand. Originally the kid makes each chord from degree I (tonic) and then chords are built in more convenient and closed location by help of teacher.

    As a Result of Ja-Da Improvisation

  4. Later you should offer to play chords according only harmonic scheme with one chord for each part of bar.

  5. Next stage is a combination of melody and harmony (chords). The teacher may acquiant his pupil with principles of arrangement. It is possible to fulfil that in the ensemble playing. In this case one can make an arrangement for two parts:

  6. Now we are proceeding to the melody improvisation. At first one should build and play scales by right hand which correspond to given chords. One may do the same and for arpeggios.

    Scales and arpeggios both are played in different rhythms. Bass (mode degree I-V) in the left hand.

    A very important moment of preparatory process to improvisation is work with a tune. Composing the tune, try to do it with expressive rhythm and melody. The same tune is performed for each bar. One may play the tune from different degree, e.g. in the first bar -- from degree III, in the second one -- from degree I and so forth.

    So, step by step various versions of improvisation are come of scales, arpeggios, tunes and other musical elements during the work process. But, in principle, there is huge number of methods on composing the improvisation.

Improvisation in style "Ja-Da" by Vladimir Galimov and Alexei Kopylov.

© 1995 Vladimir Galimov