Utrecht, Netherlands

Jazz Improvisation and Social Interaction

online course
when 17 August 2020 - 28 August 2020
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 1020

Please note that this is an online course.

What happens during a jazz performance? How do improvisation, notation and social interaction play a role in such events? Which musical and social conventions do the musicians rely on and what do they mean? In this course we critically engage with jazz performance and the meaning of jazz in a wider context through an analysis of audio (visual) recordings, films and sheet music.

The course takes an interdisciplinary approach and invites participants with a wide range of disciplines (conservatory, musicology, sociology, history, media studies, cultural analysis) to discuss the meaning of jazz in different contexts. We will critically engage with different aspects of jazz performance, including improvisation and composition as well as jazz as mediated through recordings, internet, film and literature.

By listening to key jazz recordings and reading key texts, you will become familiar with important conventions in jazz, such as improvisation, swing, leadsheets, big bands, call and response and trading fours. You will get to know musicians and the ways in which their music played a role in political debates, social change as well as popular culture. We will listen to musical examples and visit a jam session.After the course, participants will be able to visit with Rhythm Changes (27-30 Aug, Amsterdam), Europe’s largest jazz studies conference. Reduced fees are offered to participants of this course.

Course leader

Dr. Loes Rusch

Target group

Students interested in jazz and performance studies, including students from music studies as well as from media studies, gender studies, postcolonial studies, and cultural analysis. Basic knowledge of general music theory is recommended, since some of our course materials will involve discussions about musical details.

Course aim

To gain an understanding of the conventions of jazz as well as an understanding of the key theoretical approaches and debates in the field of jazz studies.

Fee info

EUR 1020: Course + course materials
EUR 350: Housing fee (optional)

Register for this course
on course website