Feb 02, 2023  
2023 January Term Course Catalog 
2023 January Term Course Catalog
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JAN 125 - Understanding Jazz Essentials: Ragtime to Bebop

Upper division
Full credit
MTuThF, 9:15 AM - 11:50 AM

This course will lead listeners through a chronological survey of major styles and artists in American jazz from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1960s, tracing the relationship between the music and the historical context that gave birth to this art form. In addition to attending class lectures, students will purchase and access electronic reading and listening materials from Jazz: Essential Listening, 2nd ed. (Deveaux & Giddins), which includes a comprehensive playlist, interactive listening guides, and jazz elements tutorials. Coursework will also provide skills in “how to listen to jazz” by helping students define and recognize primary musical elements and learn how to recognize individual instrumentation. Special attention will be given to important figures in the history of jazz such as Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and Miles Davis, in addition to influential vocalists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sarah Vaughan. We will also be investigating the link between jazz and social justice, tracing significant contributions to Civil Rights by jazz musicians. In a final, collaborative project, students will compose and share with the class a small-group Google slides presentation on a historically pivotal jazz musician (to be assigned). My goals are to help students increase their understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of this great American art form, to sharpen students’ listening skills and their ability to communicate clearly and intelligently about music, and to draw connections between the historical legacy of jazz and what continues to evolve from and within the jazz idiom in music today. Note:  This course will be conducted online. If in-person field trips are acceptable and appropriate, student outings to hear live jazz may be integrated into the course curriculum.

Instructor(s): Victoria “Torbie” Phillips
Email:  vphillip@stmarys-ca.edu

Prerequisites & Notes
Prerequisites:  Some music background is desirable, but not required
Course Fee:  None

Credits: 1

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