At the heart of the Jazzschule Berlin is our state certified “Basic Course Jazz Standards” which can be taken here in Berlin or as a distance learning module and even at our summer camp in Austria. Other classes compliment this course, providing a comprehensive programme of musical training.
What will I learn and how
The question is not so much what you’ll learn, but rather how you’ll learn it. To improvise with confidence, a well-trained ear is essential. Theoretical knowledge alone is not enough. In our “Beginner’s Improvisation Course” (also available as a Distance Learning Course) you’ll discover for yourself how to “hear musically”. Each lesson is structured as follows:
a) Hearing, b) Singing, c) Playing, d) Understanding
Parts a) and b) involve ear-training (developing your aural skills), Part c) transfers what you’ve learned musically to your instrument or voice, and Part d) provides the theoretical principles for technically understanding parts a) to c).
Our method is new and innovative in terms of the order in which you learn to improvise. Traditional methods generally begin with the theory (part d with us) and then progress to the practical aspect of playing. In our experience, this slows down the path to being able to successfully improvise in practice. A typical statement we hear from many students who have been taught with “traditional” methods is “I know the scales and chords, but I still can’t improvise confidently or musically over jazz standards”.
With this in mind, we have developed our system over the years and have been teaching it at the Jazzschule Berlin with great success.
Students improvise right from the very beginning. Our learning order:
First the practical side with hearing, singing and playing,
then the theoretical side and intellectual understanding.
Can you really learn to improvise?
Based on the success we’ve had with our courses, we can say that the answer is definitely yes! The system developed at the Jazzschule Berlin helps you to intuitively understand the relationships between the individual chord progressions and to improvise musically and confidently over them. You’ll learn how to really “hear” the chord progressions.
The musical material we use for improvising is provided in specially designed, simple exercises that are easy to sing, without any academic definitions of scales. By the time we start explaining the theoretical aspects of a scale, you’ll have already played them, got the sound in your ears and used it in relationship to a chord progression. In this way you’ll be able to confidently improvise melodically over simple jazz standards after just a very short period of time. The playbacks for the individual lessons cover a range of musical styles. The jazz standard repertoire serves as a basis for improvisation.
The teachers at the Jazzschule Berlin are professional musicians with regular performances in Berlin jazz clubs and on international stages. The “real working life” of a musician brings new ideas and experiences that flow directly into the lessons. Jazz music lives through live performance – and you’ll benefit from the experiences and insights we gather on stage.
Under the direction of experienced musicians, the goal of the Jazzschule Berlin is to help you to discover your talent and develop it. With this goal in mind, we’ve created a forum to encourage intensive dialogue about jazz music and all of its related musical styles.