Skip to main content
For students Search

Jazz Impro­visa­tion

  • Year of study: Two semesters, fall and spring. Thursdays, 10:00 – 12:45.
  • Final assessment: Assessment from the course coordinator.
  • Language of instruction: Norwegian or English.

Course description

Jazz improvisation for bachelor students, except jazz performance students and music education jazz students.

Admission to the course requires that the participants can form a functional ensemble.

Course coordinators: Atle Nymo, Eyolf Dale, Roger Arntzen

Learning objectives

Upon completion of the course, students are expected to

  • be acquainted with structure and composition in various types of jazz music
  • can orient themselves in various musical sequences in different types of jazz music through their aural training
  • can adapt and function as accompanists and soloists
  • can improvise solos over standard chord sequences
  • can improvise solos over modal structures
  • can express themselves creatively and communicatively in improvisational interactions, using the above tools


The course consists of 3 parts and is practical craft-oriented, based in an ensemble with a maximum of 8 students. This forms the basis for all work within the course. Work within the supporting courses (main instrument, aural training, harmony, composition, etc.) will be integrated as far as possible in the work of the ensemble. Vital emphasis is put on an aural-based presentation in the various topics. The vocal performance will be central - regardless of the main instrument.

In the first part, work is done within tonal jazz harmony and basic modal harmony, both with associated scale theory/issues of form, etc. As a starting point, melody material containing the aforementioned ingredients is used, taken from the history of jazz, or specially composed / self-composed material.

In the second part, students will receive a practical introduction to a variety of genres within the course, based on the genres that are active and relevant today. Related work in the supporting courses will reflect the selected genres.

In the third part, the students' own activities will be central. It is expected that the participating students develop and rehearse the main part of the compositional material or material from other relevant sources. Work within the supporting courses will here as well reflect the material.


The course is taught in class for 5 hours per week. Part of the teaching can be project-based by agreement.

Guiding distribution of the teaching:

  • Ensemble / main instrument: 3 hours per week for 24 weeks.
  • Supporting courses (aural training, harmony, composition): 2 hours per week for 24 weeks.
  • Ensemble instruction, individual instruction on the main instrument and teaching in supporting courses will be integrated with each other.

Course requirements

  1. Attendance is mandatory. More than 20 % absence from class will normally cause the student to fail the subject.
  2. Students must perform in a concert at the end of the second semester.
  3. Students must arrange/compose a song and hand in a score including individual parts, that will be performed in a school concert at the end of the second semester.

Final assessment

All coursework requirements must be approved prior to obtaining a final assessment.

Assessment is based on learning objectives. The final assessment is given as a pass/fail mark, which is determined by the course coordinator based on each student’s level of achievement throughout the course period.

New assessment

Students who do not pass the course must attend the course in its entirety again.

Published: Apr 3, 2020 — Last updated: May 10, 2021