Welcome to distance learning @ Jazzschule Berlin.
You can also take our jazz improvisation course from the comfort of your home – wherever you are in the world. We have adapted the lessons from our jazz improvisation course into a distance learning course. Coached and supported by your personal tutor, you work through the lessons at your own pace. To give you a better idea of the program, we’ve have put together a list of the most frequently asked questions (FAQs):
1. What, or how do you learn?
The most important question is not what you learn, but how you learn.
Through our many years of teaching experience, we’ve realised that teaching you chord changes, scales and substitutions etc. is not enough. First we need to give you the ‘key’ that will enable you to apply this knowledge in your playing.
We’ve developed a new system that has been successfully taught at the Jazzschule Berlin for many years. You start to improvise right from the very first lesson of the improvisation course. Our learning order: first the practical experience through listening, singing and playing, then comes the theoretical understanding.
Based on the standard jazz repertoire, we gradually introduce you to the most important compositions in jazz history. These are broken down into smaller units of typical chord progressions that commonly appear in all kinds of jazz tunes. Chord progressions that seem complicated at first will be reduced down to simple musical relationships. Step by step, you learn to improvise intuitively over the different chord progressions.
2. Can you really learn to improvise?
From our experience at the Jazzschule Berlin and our distance learning courses, the answer is definitely yes! The system developed at the Jazzschule Berlin encourages you to intuitively ‘feel’ the relationship between tension and release in the different chord progressions. It helps you to understand the logical relationship between the chords, enabling you to create melodic solos. You learn to really ‘hear’ the chord progressions.
The material (scales) for the improvisation is presented in specially designed, easy to sing and play exercises without any academic scale definitions. Before we explain the scale and theory, you have already played the sound and most importantly applied it in relation to the feeling of tension and release in a chord progression.
It doesn’t take long until you can solo over a jazz standard in a melodically sounding way. There are playbacks for all of the lessons covering a range of different styles. With these songs you learn to ‘hear’ the different chord progressions that appear in virtually all standard jazz tunes.
3. Who can take the course?
If you belong to one of the groups below, the jazz improvisation course offered by the Jazzschule Berlin can help you.
- I cannot read music but I have just started to learn an instrument (or sing) and I want to improvise right from the start.
- I can read music (doesn’t have to be perfect sight-reading), I play an instrument (or sing) and so far have not done any (or much) improvising but would like to learn how.
- I’ve been playing my instrument (or singing) for quite a while, I can read music and understand chord changes, I improvise over jazz standards (e.g. from the Real Book), I want to broaden my repertoire and be able to hear the changes better and play better solos.
- I write my own songs but some parts are not quite right yet and I want to learn how to make my compositions work better melodically, rhythmically and harmonically.
- I teach music (jazz, classical, pop/rock…) and I am looking for a well-founded didactic method to show my students an intuitive way of improvising – also for complex jazz standards.
Since our course teaches you a new way to ‘hear’ and interpret chord changes and a new way to discover scales by ear, everyone starts with the same lessons.
You start improvising right from the start, so it doesn’t matter whether you haven’t improvised before, whether you already have a little experience, whether you can improvise okay or whether you already play good solos.
Regarding your musical knowledge, you will be individually coached and supported in your development by your teacher at the Jazzschule Berlin.
5. How does this distance learning course work?
You learn to break down the standard jazz repertoire into the different chord progressions. The most important thing is that you learn to recognize the different chord progressions by ear. Then you discover the scales you want to use for the improvisation by ear, too. After you have internalized the specific chord progressions, you learn the corresponding jazz standards. First the simple ones, then the more complex tunes.
You decide on the learning pace. We’ll send you new material right after you’ve sent us your latest completed lesson. The material consists of exercises, tasks and playbacks for you to practice with.
While studying, you’ll probably have a lot of questions. Please write them down and ask your teacher. Complete the theory tasks as homework and record the practical tasks (your improvisations) with the playbacks. Record a simple MP3 file of your improvisation and create a PDF of your theory tasks. If you have questions about how to do this, please contact us.
When you have finished each lesson, e-mail everything together with your questions to your teacher at the Jazzschule Berlin.
This is part of an important process. Based on what you send us as well as your questions on the particular topic you have just studied, your teacher can form a pretty good picture of your progress, knowledge and improvisation skills.
– you’ll get corrections for your homework
– you’ll get detailed feedback about your improvisations
– you’ll get individual tips for practicing
– you’ll be able to hear improvements in your improvisations in the next lessons
– you’ll get answers to all your questions
If there is a task that you can’t accomplish, just try to do the other parts of the lesson. Please make a recording of you improvising to the playback for each lesson – even if you don’t really like what you played. Your playing is the center of the course. This is where we can really see how you are progressing and help you to develop your skills.
6. How long does the course last?
The basic course has 24 units (different lessons, tasks, playbacks and feedback from your teacher). Usually you’ll work through one unit per month, so it takes about two years to master all of the lessons. You might do it faster or slower. You determine your own pace.
As soon as you send us your completed lessons, you’ll receive feedback from your teacher and the next unit.
In our experience, musicians who have been playing jazz for a while can complete the course in about a year. Beginners are welcome to extend the course up to three years. There is no extra cost for this.
In the 24 units of the basic improvisation course, you’ll already learn some of the most important jazz standards. The course ends with a certificate from the Jazzschule Berlin.
For didactic reasons, we do not send out the whole course at once. It is very important to receive feedback from your teacher after each unit. This is the only way that we can guarantee your musical development.
7. How much does it cost?
The tuition fee for the basic improvisation course is 87 euros per month. The course lasts for a total 24 months. The maximum duration of study including feedback and coaching is three years.
8. However we have a “test drive” option:
You can try out the first 3 units for 278 euros including all learning material and feedback from your teacher. You can work with this package for up to 4 months and then decide if you want to continue. To do so, simply fill out the enrollment.
9. How can I register and pay?
International payment is via PayPal. Once you have paid, you will be directed to the start page of the course. Here you can immediately download the material for the first unit and get in touch with your personal teacher from the Jazzschule Berlin. This is how your course begins.
If you have a bank account in Germany or would prefer to transfer the course fee yourself, just send us an e-mail and let us know.
10. Why PayPal?
We have chosen PayPal because it offers the safest, easiest to use and most cost-effective payment processing service. PayPal accepts all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express), as well as all major debit cards, electronic checks (“e-check” or ACH) and direct transfers.
PayPal completes over 1.5 million transactions per day with over 100 million user accounts in 56 countries worldwide. PayPal processes over $100 million in payments per day.
11. How do I create a PayPal account?
If you don’t have a PayPal account, just click to sign up for the course. Than follow the link “Sign up for a PayPal account and continue to checkout” and take a few minutes to create your account.
PayPal support will immediately send you a confirmation e-mail. Check your e-mail account for the confirmation e-mail. Just follow the confirmation link in the e-mail. That’s it. You have successfully created your personal PayPal account.
12. More information and guidance
If you have any more questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our consultation hours are every Wednesday from 4pm-6pm CET (central European time).
Tel: +49 30 24 37 37 24. Or simply send us an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org