The development of an imitative instructional approach to improvising effective melodic statements in jazz solos
This study was initiated after college-level students in a beginning jazz improvisation class and in jazz performance groups were observed to be having difficulty improvising effective melodic statements in improvised jazz solos. The problem was observed to affect both music majors and students majoring in other subjects. All of the students observed had been exposed to several types of instruction and as would be expected, the music majors were more successful at improvising jazz solos. However, all of the students involved in the beginning jazz class and in jazz performance groups had difficulty improvising effective melodic statements in jazz solos. At the same time, all of the students seemed highly motivated to learn how to improvise jazz solos.A pilot study involving a questionnaire directed to selected professional jazz musicians helped to identify the theories examined in this study. Although several theories were examined, the theory of this study is that learning to develop effective melodic statements in improvised jazz solos is positively influenced by imitating the melodic improvisation of musicians who are judged to be exemplars representative of several diverse styles. This theory is supported in the literature and is not a new theory in that historically, effective jazz improvisation both in and outside of formal educational institutions has involved imitation.The purpose of this study is to develop an instructional approach and corresponding materials centered on the theory that learning to improvise effective melodic statements in jazz is positively influenced by the systematic utilization of imitation.After the introduction of the study and exploration of several theories pertaining to the problem, some pertinent literature is reviewed and the scope of the study identified. Following that, there is an identification and detailed discussion of the elements used in formulating effective melodic statements in jazz solos including sound, rhythm, pitch and dynamics. Next, there is a review of selected psychological research on imitation and an examination of some implications for using imitation in instruction.This study is limited to the development of an instructional approach and corresponding materials using imitation as a means to improve the improvisation of effective melodic statements in jazz solos. A further study would be required for testing and evaluating the approach and materials.
- Music