Pathways for teaching vocal jazz improvisation

Hargreaves, Wendy ORCID: (2014) Pathways for teaching vocal jazz improvisation. In: Teaching Singing in the 21st century. Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education. Springer, New York, pp. 303-317. ISBN 9789401788502


This chapter will present three common educational pathways used by teachers of vocal jazz improvisation. In the first approach, teachers immerse students in the sounds of jazz. Like a child learning to speak, students subconsciously absorb musical language, then progress to imitating masters and producing spontaneous creations of their own. The second method, in contrast, focuses on a conscious learning of the musical building blocks of jazz. Utilising theoretical analysis, students are guided through a sequenced curriculum that encompasses elements of melody, harmony and rhythm. From this, they attain a base knowledge that serves as a springboard for creation. The third pathway teaches vocalists to improvise on an instrument. This approach is often employed to avoid the difficulty singers experience with applying theoretical concepts without a fixed point of reference for pitch. Overall, this chapter will explore the strengths and weaknesses of the three pathways for teaching vocal jazz improvisation. The discussion make conscious the options for twenty-first century music educators, and alerts them to the relevant environmental considerations when selecting a method.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 48733
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2022 23:51
Last Modified: 08 Jun 2022 23:51
Uncontrolled Keywords: improvisation, jazz, education, vocalists, instrumentalists, pedagogy, singing
Fields of Research (2020): 36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3603 Music > 360302 Music composition and improvisation
36 CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING > 3603 Music > 360303 Music education
Identification Number or DOI:

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only