This course is designed to be an exciting way to increase students' appreciation and enjoyment of music in general and jazz in particular (and of course earn ethnic studies and/or fine arts credits). The instructors are available to guide and serve students in their quest. This class will require a great amount of work and dedication but will allow students to work in their own space (Hawaii, Italy or home?) and time (5 a.m. or midnight?).
This course covers the same information that is included in traditional classroom offerings. However, it will demand more from each one of you, as it is also demanding more from us as instructors. Much of the responsibility for the success of a course like this rests with you. You have to keep on task: do the discussions and team work by the required date, read the lectures and text (you can't just sit back and watch the show), and listen to the recorded examples from both the lecture and the text. In this class you will learn by yourself, with our facilitation.
Because we will not have the luxury of meeting together as a class three hours a week, the total time expected of you to work both online and offline on this course is about nine hours per week (three hours in class and six hours outside work--the usual course time for a three-credit course). Be sure to allow yourself this amount of time in your schedule each week.
You will be asked to do reading assignments in our textbook. In addition, the listening activities are an important and integral part of this course, and we will be asking you to comment on recordings included in both the lectures and readings in your individual assignments.
Any music class is an aural experience. You are strongly encouraged to listen to as much jazz as possible-- live, on the airwaves, and recorded. Public libraries usually have jazz CD and vinyl collections. Look for jazz broadcasts on the radio stations in your area or various TV programs. Black Entertainment Television has jazz programming. LISTEN!
In order to encourage further jazz experiences and listening, you will be asked to write reviews during the semester.
You are all participants-- this is group learning--be a giving part of the learning community. We all learn from your questions and answers. We do not pretend to know everything about jazz. Some of you probably know more about blues and fusion than we do.
Curiosity is an advantage. It is probably more important than being a brilliant student or an experienced musician. Great things can happen when you approach this class with a sense of wonder and desire to learn.
If we are close-minded, we sometimes limit our horizons. Try to meet new things (music, etc.) with a receptive, positive being. Ultimately, we don't have to like everything, but be open to experiencing new things.
UW Colleges Catalog Course Description for MUS 273 - Jazz History and Appreciation - 3 credits. An introduction to the styles and forms of jazz through a study of its history, literature, cultural influences, musical structure, and prominent performers. Includes recorded listening experiences.
The study of American jazz is an examination of over a hundred years of American society and culture. The work songs, field hollers, and early blues songs sung by African American slaves were the foundation for an art form that has been dominated in every era by great African American musicians. Because the majority of important figures in jazz history are African Americans, this course lends itself naturally to a study of the personal struggles of the musicians against discrimination and the racial stereotypes society imposes.
The course will cover four essential areas: a general introduction to the music; a look at jazz origins and its early forms; swing; and the bop, cool, funky, and fusion branches of jazz.
The introduction is a discussion of the elements or basics of music that is intended for persons without any musical background. Here we attempt to answer the question "What is Jazz?" by looking into jazz terminology, musical structure and form particularly related to jazz (12-bar blues and the 32-bar pop song form), elements of improvisation, and jazz instrumentation.
In this look at jazz origins, students begin with a ministudy of the musical culture of West Africa, and consider the slave trade that brought the first Africans to America. Students consider the unique racial and ethnic groups in pre-1900s New Orleans--the Haitian, Creole, African, and European confluence that brought about a new music: the spirituals, work songs, field hollers, the blues, the minstrel show, ragtime, and finally early jazz. MAJOR FIGURES: Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, James P. Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton, The Original Dixieland Jazz Band, Joe Oliver, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, and Bix Biederbecke.
Swing was the popular music in the days of the "big bands." With Benny Goodman came the "scandal" of hiring black and white musicians for the same band. Students will look at the bands of the East Coast and of the Southwest (Kansas City, etc.), racism, and wartime economics. MAJOR FIGURES: Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Benny Goodman.
As jazz continued to evolve, it moved into bebop, and from there into the contrasting "cool" style. Following on its heels came funky or the hard bop return to the roots, then the avant-garde evolution with its free jazz. Finally, the influence of soul, rhythm and blues (urban blues), and rock on jazz culminated in fusion. MAJOR FIGURES: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Horace Silver, Charlie Mingus, Joseph Zawinul, Wynton Marsalis.
Students will investigate the characteristics and the instrumentation of the various styles of jazz, and look into accounts of the people and their times.
Successful completion of this course will enhance the student's ability to:
By completing this course, students will be able to:
You will required to write music reviews during the semester. At least one review should be of a live jazz concert. "Live concert" does not mean that it has to be a $40 ticket to the Lincoln Center Jazz Band. It could be your campus jazz ensemble or Red Ringo's Jazz Ringers at Joe's Corner Tavern.
If you have had trouble loading any of this software or playing MIDI or RealPlayer files, call UW Colleges technical support at (877) 449-1877 or email them.
The most current version of RealPlayer. This plug-in is used to play sound files found throughout the course and can be downloaded free, if necessary.
You will need to play MIDI files (Musical Instrument Digital Interface). The player is often included with your system. Your first practice listening exercise requires a MIDI and RealPlayer. Get them both working.