Contemporary Instrumental Improvisation III

Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Course Code
MUSC 2314
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Method Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined
New Westminster


Course Description
This course deals with the further study and application of the rhythmic and harmonic language of jazz and related contemporary music, with a focus on solo improvisation.

Through class participation, students will develop technical and aural ability through the study of the blues, modes and selected II-V-I progressions.

Students may participate on either their primary or secondary instrument. Drummers will play either a mallet instrument (vibraphone) or percussion in addition to drums.

This course is the continuation of MUSC 1214 and is designed for the intermediate level improvisor.

MUSC 2314 and 1114 are taken with both levels in the same class, working together. Those registered in MUSC 2314 will be expected to show a higher level of competency on the basic material, and will be asked to demonstrate to their MUSC 1114 counterparts. Repertoire is carefully managed by the instructor to ensure that students in both levels are exposed to as much new material as possible.
Course Content


  • Applying knowledge of the blues form, II-V-I progressions and modes
  • Reading lead sheets
  • Playing a melody
  • Memorizing the harmonic changes in a tune
  • Interpreting jazz rhythms
  • Playing by ear
  • Improvising using limited resources
  • Creating backgrounds and riffs
  • Developing a rhythmic flow
  • Developing individual jazz phrasing
  • Understanding the importance of a vocabulary of "licks" and patterns
  • Organizing an improvised solo
  • Studying the masters
  • Transcribing solos
  • Interacting in the group setting
  • Comping (improvised accompaniment for guitarists and pianists)
Methods Of Instruction


Means of Assessment

Class participation up to the mid-term: 15%

Class participation from the mid-term to the end of the course: 15%

Solo improvisation - tested at the end of the course: 30%

Written Exams (mid-term and final): 20%

Transcription projects (2 minimum): 20%

Total: 100%

Learning Outcomes

The successful student will be able to:

  1. Perform a coherent solo in the blues style
  2. Read basic chord changes as found in the blues using either the blues scale or accepted chord/scale combinations
  3. Demonstrate understanding of the basic blues formats (12-bar, 16-bar, minor, modal)
  4. Play selected blues melodies as studied in class, by memory
  5. Play selected jazz standard melodies as studied in class, by memory
  6. Express some individual phrasing ideas during a solo
  7. Create a unison background line to be taken up by ear, by the other players
Textbook Materials

The instructor may assign a text book such as: Creative Jazz Improvisation by Scott Reeves (Prentice Hall), or A Guide to Jazz Improvisation by John la Porta (Berklee Press) – students will purchase the version that applies to their instrument.




Registration in one of the following MUSC courses: 1150, 1250, 2350, 2450, 1152, 1252, 2352, 2452, 1153, 1253, 2353, 2453



Requisite for

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

Institution Transfer Details Effective Dates
There are no applicable transfer credits for this course.

Course Offerings

Summer 2021

There aren't any scheduled upcoming offerings for this course.