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Jazz Workshop

The 1.5 hour jazz workshop focuses on learning to improvise on standard jazz tunes. Both students and teachers who want to experience improvisation are invited to participate. All participants (students and teachers who would like to participate) must register and pay the fee. All will learn the same repertoire for the workshop so they have a baseline for learning improvisation techniques at the workshop. The workshop will be adapted to the skill level of the students who participate. Four pianos will be available at the workshop so participants can try out their improvisation skills in a combo setting.

Application Requirements

Register via email to Katherine Niemann by Jan 15. Write a little about your experience learning the tunes and how you plan to play them or send a recorded sample of you playing them. (Do not use mtfest to register)
Send one check per studio, payable to NVMTA to: 
Katherine Niemann, 4316 Still Meadow Rd., Fairfax, VA  22032

Repertoire Requirements

The tune to learn is How High the Moon by Morgan Lewis. The tune follows a series of ii V7 I chord progressions with several key centers. To be prepared for the improvisation workshop, learn as much as you can of the tune by ear. There are many recordings on YouTube. I’ve included Manhattan Transfer because they stay pretty close to the original melody, an online tutorial, and some backing tracks to try out your improvisation. You’ll hear a lot of improvisational ideas on the melody itself as well as in the solos if you take the time to listen to several other different artists’ recordings on YouTube. Be able to play the melody with simple chords as a piano solo by memory. If you can add in more chord tones, play the chords by themselves, play at different speeds, or improvise a little, that’s great too.
Here is an example of a simple arrangement:


Students of all instruments are encouraged to participate.


Participants come prepared with the tunes posted as repertoire for the workshop.  At the workshop you will learn improvisation techniques and try them out in the group setting.

Teacher Guidelines

All teachers entering students in this event are invited to come and participate. Contact Katherine if you need help with learning the tunes.