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Contemporary Instrumental Improvisation II

Course Code: MUSC 1214
Faculty: Language, Literature & Performing Arts
Department: Music
Credits: 1.5
Semester: 15 weeks
Learning Format: Lecture, Tutorial
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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 their technical and aural ability beyond the blues, modes and basic chord/scale theory to include 32 bar song form (standards). 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 1114 Contemporary Instrumental Improvisation I, and some limited experience in improvisation is expected.

Course Content


  • Understanding 32-bar song and other extended/experimental forms
  • Using lead sheets
  • Playing a melody and adding personal variation
  • Knowing the harmony and associated scales
  • Assimilating more complex jazz rhythms
  • Developing a rhythmic flow based on chord/scales
  • Developing individual jazz phrasing
  • 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 basic solo over a 32-bar jazz standard song. Examples are (but not limited to), "Oleo", "A Night in Tunisia", "Take the A Train"
  2. Read chord changes as found in many jazz standards using the proper chord/scale combinations.
  3. Understand II-V-I chord progressions in selected key signatures as set out by the instructor
  4. Apply knowledge of the basic jazz standard song formats (AABA, ABAB, ABAC and others) as studied in class
  5. Demonstrate understanding of selected standard song melodies as studied in class
  6. Express some individual phrasing ideas during a solo

course prerequisites

MUSC 1114


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

curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.