Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:The jazz toolbox: Investigation of a linguistic supplement to jazz pedagogy
Author(s):Tomski, Ryan
Contributor(s):Stephens, John Chip; Lund, Erik; McNeill, Charles "Chip"; Spencer, Joel
Department / Program:School of Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Abstract:The goal of this study is to test the practicality and effectiveness of supplementing traditional jazz improvisation pedagogy with a method book that centers around rhetorical devices more commonly associated with the field of linguistics. Although research in this field has proven that a codified system of rhetorical analysis of jazz is not only possible but fruitful, predictions and assumptions regarding their effectiveness in applied lessons have not yet been tested in any systematic way. This original method book, tested on six undergraduate, non-music majors interested in learning jazz piano, is designed to teach beginning and intermediate-level instrumentalists about rhetorical devices including figures of repetition and analogy, starting with the most basic and universal and increasing in complexity chapter-by-chapter, as a means for constructing convincing solos. Questionnaires and performance assessments judging twelve improvisation-related skills hypothesized to be most or least affected are gathered and compared against a control group of two additional students being taught using more traditional methods that focused on chord-scale relationships, learning patterns or “licks,” and understanding goal tones. Conclusions are drawn from the results of this study including the meaning of the overall positive impact of this teaching tool, positive and negative effects on specific skills and ways to use this information to the benefit of students. Additionally, possible reasons for and importance of incorrect hypotheses, and the potential for future work are also explored.
Issue Date:2018
Publisher:School of Music, College of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Ryan Tomski
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-06-07

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