As I worked to incorporate the IPad (GoodNotes in particular) more often into Music Theory, I put off recording a video featuring its implementation. Then, as is often the case, it was the end of the semester and I missed my opportunity. Thankfully I had plans to start using the same program with the Jazz Ensemble in the spring of 2020. For that course I was going to introduce some easy improvisation lessons (12-bar blues, ii-V-I progressions, etc.) and work on them as a group during rehearsals. All we had to do was get past the Winter Band Festival concert in mid-February and the Big Band Snowball in early March. Then I would be able to record the planned video to share. Long-story-short…no video. Classes have been moved on-line and I once again missed the opportunity.
However, I was able to find other ways to reach students using the IPad during these unusual times. In Evolution of Jazz I will often sit at the piano and show the class how the music is put together or how one style differs from another. My piano skills are not particularly good (I’m a trombonist) but over the years I have found a few pieces that highlight different styles and can fumble my way through them while getting the point across. So in an attempt to share that experience with the students on-line, I set the IPad up on a music stand and recorded myself at the keyboard. After that it was easy to share with everyone in the course. So easy in fact that I think a great summer project will be recording a few more tunes and having them available for students to view before class or before exams. Stay tuned for more tunes!
This is the video introducing Modal Jazz to the class.
For reference, we just finished talking about much more complicated styles of jazz like Bebop, Cool, and Hard Bop. By contrast, Modal Jazz uses far fewer chords and requires a different approach from the soloists to maintain interest while the harmonies change more slowly.
My biggest takeaway from our DigPINS experience may be the flexibility gained by incorporating more technology in the classroom. I can always revert to more traditional methods when necessary but it is great to have these resources available when the time comes to try something differently. Many thanks for the opportunity and for the upgraded classrooms in APHFA!