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Contemporary Instrumental Improvisation IV

Course Code: MUSC 2414
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 2314 and is designed for the intermediate level improvisor. MUSC 2414 and 1214 are taken with both levels in the same class, working together. Those registered in MUSC 2414 will be expected to show a higher level of competency on the basic material, and will be asked to demonstrate to their MUSC 1214 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 understanding of 32-bar song and other extended/experimental forms
  • Using lead sheets
  • Playing a melody and adding personal variation
  • Memorizing the harmonic changes of a tune
  • Interpreting more complex jazz rhythms
  • Creating counter-melody
  • 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 coherent 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. Demonstrate II-V-I chord progressions in all key signatures as set out by the instructor
  4. Understand basic jazz standard song formats such as AABA, ABAB, ABAC and others as studied in class
  5. Play selected standard song melodies as studied in class, from memory
  6. Create an improvised counter-melody

course prerequisites

MUSC 2314


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.