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Jazz Studies Certificate
Course Offerings
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Dr. Anthony DJ Branker

Department of Music
Woolworth Center

Princeton University
Princeton, NJ

Course Offerings

Jazz Theory SessionStudents in the jazz program have the opportunity to participate in a number of academic courses from the music department curriculum, as well as other interdisciplinary offerings, that encourage the study of the historical, social, theoretical, stylistic, and creative issues that pertain to the jazz idiom. Such courses include:

  • Music 215: Projects in Jazz Performance - A performance seminar that focuses on the development of style, concept and repertoire in the jazz idiom. Students are coached by faculty in extended projects in performance.
  • Music 262: Evolution of Jazz Styles - An introductory survey examining the historical development of jazz from its African origins through the present. The course will place emphasis on the acquisition of listening skills and explore related musical and social issues.
  • Music 311: Jazz Theory Through Improvisation and Composition I - An exploration of the melodic, harmonic and rhythmic principles of the bebop paradigm. The course includes analysis of the solo vocabulary of such jazz masters as Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Clifford Brown, and Miles Davis. In addition, this course will examine the harmonic approach of the composers of bebop and standard compositions, and will place a strong emphasis on student projects in improvisation and composition.
  • Music 312: Jazz Theory Through Improvisation and Composition II - This course intends to expose the student to the theoretical principles of modal harmonic systems in an effort to formulate a basis for self-expression as improvisers and composers. Students will gain familiarity with this harmonic approach through analysis of representative works by such composers as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Ralph Towner, and Ron Miller. The course will place a strong emphasis on student projects in improvisation and composition.
  • Music 319: Seminar in Jazz Composition - An advanced course in jazz composition that places emphasis on the process of creation. Students will be expected to develop original works utilizing a variety of compositional approaches, including: creating in collaboration, improvisation as a compositional strategy, as well as non-musical techniques that will be translated into some form of musical representation.
  • Music 320: Jazz Performance Practice in Historical and Cultural Context - This course intends to examine the repertoire and associated performance practices that are representative of various styles and conceptual approaches found during different stages in the development of jazz. Topics and prerequisites will vary from year to year.
  • Music 321: The Improvisng Ensemble - A course designed to provide instrumental and vocal students with opportunities to reimagine the process of creative music-making through the use of improvisational concepts and activities in group collaboration. Course will feature several guest lecturers/performers and concert presentations focusing on the creation of collectively improvised performances.