Research:1) What is an improvisational solo in the jazz idiom? The definition of the word “improvise” is to compose and perform or deliver without previous preparation or in music, it would be to compose, play, recite, or sing (verse, music, etc.) on the spur of the moment. So basically creating an improvisational solo in the Jazz idiom is to create a series of bars that contain any notes that you want, and it has to be made on the spot. Some improvisational solos can be pre meditated, depending on the type of solo, and others can be just in the spur of the moment, playing a series of notes that come to your head.2) How long has Jazz improvisation been around? Jazz music in general started in 1910s in New Orleans. It really picked up in the late 19th and early 20th century, in African American communities in the southern United States. It also started around that time in Cuba. During this time, a lot of the musicians used jazz improvisation to express themselves and their emotions. A big influence on the start of Jazz music was because of the end of slavery. Black people could get jobs in the entertainment business, which led to rag-time music, and playing improvisational piano at bars and they could play at dances and in Vaudeville.3) Who are some of the Pioneers of Jazz Improvisation? One of the great pioneers of Jazz Improvisation was Jelly Roll Morton, who said to have invented Jazz music itself, when he was twelve. Of course we all know Mr. Louis Armstrong ("Pops", "Satchmo"), who was an amazing Jazz trumpet player. He played with groups called Hot Five and Hot Seven, which were categorized as New Orleans Jazz or Dixieland, which was when all the performers would all improvise a series of notes at the same time, thus being Jazz Improvisation. Earl "Fatha" Hines was a pianist who was especially known for his right hand, because he didn’t often play full chords or arpeggios, instead he played "horn-like" melodic lines. Lastly, Art Tatum is considered by many to be the greatest jazz pianist ever. He was said to be the most talented and gifted at Jazz improvisation.

4) How does one get ideas to create a Jazz solo? A jazz musician can get ideas for their solo from anywhere and everywhere. It all depends on your personal emotions and where you get your inspiration. Some people get their solo ideas from other musician’s songs, as in parts of a song that they like. You can also get your solo ideas from the actual song itself. For example, for this project, the solo we are creating is after a 16 bar solo that fits into the chart “River Rat Shuffle”. We could look at the 16 bar solo and get ideas from that, like the scale whether it was going up or down, or where there were one or two beat rests. Some people also like to sing the notes to get an idea of what they would sound like. I know, personally I enjoy singing (although I’m not that amazing) and I sing random solos to myself all the time, because its fun. Artists can get their solo ideas from anywhere from nature to hard rock music, it all depends on the person.5) What is the difference between knowing the chord structure and an intuitive solo? When creating a piece of music, in this case a solo, knowing the chord structure and making an intuitive solo, are greatly different. Writing a solo in regards to the chord structure means that you have limits to which notes you can use. For example, playing trumpet for this solo creating project, I can only use notes from C7 or D7, depending on which bar I am working on, while if I was writing an intuitive solo, I would play whatever came to my mind, with no boundaries or limits, and just go with the flow and my intuition.6) What is a shuffle groove and what are the origins of this Jazz feel? A shuffle groove is a very popular style of jazz music. A Shuffle groove, specifically on the drums would be played with a 16th note high-hat or ride symbol tap, and either the snare drum or a rim-tap, depending on the roughness or edginess of the chart being played. Lilting can refer to swinging or shuffling, but might also indicate syncopation or other subtle ways of interpreting and shaping musical time. A blues shuffle or shuffle pattern is a boogie groove. Shuffle grooves can also be called swung grooves, because “Swung” or “Swing” music are mostly made up of triplets, which is what shuffle sets usually contain. There are many different ways to say “shuffle groove”, as you can see. It used to be called “Boogie” music, which started in 1916, and later became big in the 1920’s and the 1930’s. The origin, according to “Webster’s Third New International Dictionary”, is unknown. It could have been from Black West African English, from the Sierra Leone term "bogi", which means "to dance". It may also be akin to the phrase "Hausa buga", which means "to beat drums.

Reflection: Personally, I was actually excited to be writing a solo for this project. I’m not usually one to do solos in class, in fact I actually hate it, but I liked being free with it and stretching my musical knowledge. I didn’t mind doing the research either, it turned out to be really interesting to me to be honest. I never thought of looking up information on the history of jazz music, but it got me thinking and wanted to know more about the evolution of music and how it went from rag-time and jazz music to what I listen to today. It was really interesting actually. I’ve always loved music, but doing this project made me respect its history and appreciate it more, and think about where it came from, as I listen to it. I learned a lot by doing this project. Aside from the research that I had done for it, I also learned thing about myself. I learned that I can actually create a solo out of no where if I got over the fear of it. When I was making my solo, I would start by just playing random sets of notes either in D7 or C7 and I eventually found a melody that I thought sounded pretty good. I always didn’t want to try to do a solo in music class because of fear of failure, but now because of this project I will participate more in solos, and maybe even volunteer myself to play a solo at our spring music concert. When creating my solo, I started by just playing random notes that I thought sounded good together. I did this on the piano, however because I didn’t have my trumpet with me at the time when I started. This didn’t set me back at all because I can also read piano notes, as they are the same as trumpet notes. I started by just using scales as my solo, then I went and used only whole notes but that was boring and made me look stupid and like I couldn’t play music. I wanted to challenge myself. I’m always singing. It drives everyone crazy but I sing all the time, whether it be a real song or it be just random notes. I was singing down the hall the day I started writing my solo, and it was right after we had had music class. I always find myself singing the tune that we were playing in class, after class, but that time it was just a random made up melody. It sounded good, like it would make a good solo, so when I got to my next class, I took out one of my sheets of music staff paper and I got busy. I knew I wouldn’t be able to use all the notes that I as singing, because of the required chord structure, but I wanted at least the same melody. I wrote down some notes that would go together, that had basically the same melody of what I had been singing, but then I noticed that my solo didn’t really have very much excitement. I looked back on some of the shout courses from the past few charts we have played in music, and noticed that a lot of them had a crescendo; that they all had a kind of “building up to the big bang” type thing in the song, so I used 4 whole notes in a crescendo for the beginning of my solo to bring up the excitement a little bit. During the making of this project, we all had things that slowed us down a bit. For me personally, there were three major things. When we first heard about this moderation project, we were all shocked because we had never had to do moderation for our Art option before and we didn’t know what to expect. We only started the projects towards January, so we didn’t have that much time to think about what to do, considering all the other graduation fundraising and workload we had to do. Making matters worse, our music teacher had been away in the hospital for three weeks during the beginning of the project, so we didn’t know what to do if we needed help. This set all of us back quite a lot. Once he got back, we decided to get to work on our playing right away, but since we hadn’t played in almost a month, we didn’t get very far in our music charts. We were all given a few classes to go to the library to look up the research part of this project, but that wasn’t as productive as we all had hoped. There aren’t very many computers in our library and there were only so many music history books to look through for about 30 kids. Needless to say, that was pretty much a waste of time, although the socializing once in a while between trips stealing books from other classmates and protecting your own chosen music book was fun. I think my teacher’s absence was the biggest set back on the project because we didn’t know where else to go for help. At the beginning of his absence, though, we had a substitute teacher, Mr. Weiss, who had apparently gone to Vanier in their classical music program, so he had a little bit of knowledge. The only problem with this was that no one really took him seriously, because he had always been the kind of “joking around” teacher, not the serious kind that little grade seven kids feared if they were late to their class. Mr. Weiss had also been a teacher at Beurling Academy for a few years, but he had taught History. While he was our substitute, he liked to give us history lessons on famous musicians, most of which were famous guitar players, which no offense, I didn’t really care about, so I just kind of zoned the whole situation out. Another issue I’m sure everyone had was the fact that we had to be filmed playing our solo. There was a lot of confusion with how, when and who it was going to be filmed by. Because we were under such a tight schedule to film our solos, everyone was on edge. I decided to film the first part of the solo with three other people, and then we would branch off into our own solos one after the other. Sounds fool-proof, right? Wrong. It took us about half hour to get everything together, and to get our camera-man, Jordan ready. He had to set us up a certain way and wouldn’t let us move around to where we wanted, which was pretty frustrating. Also, whenever we messed up a TINY bit, he had to erase the tape and start over completely because he couldn’t understand that you could edit the videos on a computer. So this took about the entire class to get the solos done, but didn’t end up even getting done because of all the restarting we had to do. In result to this, our filming was left to the last minute and it didn’t turn out as good as it could have if we would have had more time to do it all. I found the whole process of filming our solos frustrating because if someone messed up, out of the four of us, which was quite likely, we had to restart, and I was beginning to go insane. This project relates to a few different areas of interaction. Firstly it relates to human ingenuity. Human ingenuity is all about creating something that will have an effect on people. We had to create an improvisational musical jazz solo, which has an impact on me, personally because it made me learn more about musical history. This project also has an impact on other people because it could inspire them to want to learn how to play an instrument as well, which is really fun and a good ability to have. This project also relates to health and social education. Health and social education has the trait of knowing one’s place in society, and in my opinion, learning about history, no matter what kind, will teach you where you stand in your life, and how to overcome things that people have already gone through. For example, say you don’t like performing solo’s like me, and you learn through research that an old pioneer of jazz music had the same problem and then overcame it, you could use their resolutions as an example to better your life and resolving your problems. Lastly, this project relates to approaches to learning because it is all about a positive attitude and being organized. During this project, you had to keep a positive attitude because creating a solo could get frustrating and because playing music is supposed to be fun! Also, you have to be organized when creating anything because an unorganized messy space will lead to an unorganized messy project and solo. Structure is really important when working on a jazz solo when you’re using chord structures as a guide.

This project relates to a lot of IB Learner Profiles. Firstly, it related to “Inquirers” because we had to acquire skills such as learning to play our instrument, in order to make our solo. Also, “knowledgeable” relates to this project because we had to explore and research information on musical history considering pioneers and the jazz idiom. “Thinkers” also applies to this project because we had to effectively apply our thinking skills through our creativity which is our creation of our jazz solo and making it our own. We had to think of the chord structure and play around with notes to make the perfect solo in our opinion. Also, we had to be “open minded” throughout this entire project because we were constantly getting help from our teacher and our fellow classmates. We would play our solo for one of our classmates, and they might have had something criticizing to say about it, and we had to listen in order to make our solo that much better, instead of just ignoring their opinion and point of view and using our own judgment alone. In conclusion, this project relates to a lot of aspects in the IBO program, and was interesting to accomplish. In making my solo, I didn’t really find that listening to other people’s solo’s really helped me write mine. I wanted mine to be original and from my head, and I trust my own judgment when it comes to my music and I wouldn’t want anyone to change my opinion. Also, it could have made me feel bad about my solo if I felt someone else’s was better than mine, so I kept my solo to myself most of the time.

I actually am pleased with the way my solo came out. It has some depth to it, but I mean, it could be better of course since there’s always room for improvement. Overall though, I do like my solo and I am now a little bit more comfortable with performing solo’s in music class. Even through all the ups and downs with this project, I did learn a few things, and I also learned about myself, that if I take it slow, I can overcome things that I don’t like doing, like solo’s. Also, this project was really useful to me because it broadened my musical knowledge and made me feel more comfortable playing music and made me more sure of myself when it came to performing.

Creating a solo in the Jazz Idiom


Hello there, I am Amanda Lee and I am sixteen years old. I have been in the music program at Beurling Academy for the past 5 years, since I entered high school, and I absolutely love it. Each year we are faced with new charts and new opportunities to learn even more about playing music, for me, trumpet specifically. I almost live for our spring and winter music concerts because I get to show everyone how I can play an instrument and what I have learned throughout the terms. I have learned to love jazz music, as I never had before the music program. In music this year, we were given the assignment of creating an eight bar solo in continuation of the chart “River Rat Shuffle”. The solo’s notes had to be from, for trumpet players, in C7 and D7 chord structures. We then had to write out our solo with the proper structure on music staff paper. Before we could actually write our solo however, we were given the opportunity to learn a little more about musical history. We were given the assignment of researching jazz improvisation pioneers, the origin of swing and shuffle music, which is what we have been playing primarily for the past five years in the music program. Going through this project I have done, you will hear a little more about my new knowledge considering jazz music, and my new found love for it. You might also learn a little more about me, and my life. I hope you enjoy it!

Table of contents

Introduction……………………………….Page 1

Research……………………………………..Page 2

Reflection……………………………………Page 4

River Rat Shuffle Solo…………………..Page 8

Improvisation solo………………………Page 9 Bibliography………………………...……Page 1o

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Teichroew, Jacob. "History of a jazz saxophone." 2010. 25 Mar. 2010 <>.

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