Jazz Clinic

After Six offers a jazz clinic for pianists who want to cross the Rubicon and play jazz. The clinic teaches three elements: Theory, Harmony, and Improvisation. We call it “performance jazz.” After Six offers the opportunity to “sit in” with our trio from time to time to exhibit your jazz “chops.”

Theory: Think first, play later. Unlike classical music, with jazz it is essential to understand music theory. Classical music flows and changes keys without the player needing to understand anything other than playing the notes well and keeping proper time. With jazz the notes are a suggestion. Our jazz clinic focuses on the Great American Songbook. Each tune has its own structure. Jazz tunes often are in an A-A-B-A format. Each has its own key, but usually changes key within the tune. The B section, known as the “bridge”, is usually in a different key or keys. s.

Harmony: jazz melody is supported by chords, which are the harmonic elements of each tune. There are 12 major and 12 minor keys. Jazz players need to be able to play in all twelve major and minor keys. The notes within each chord can be moved around and added to. This iscalled chord “voicings.” It’s about the ways the notes are arranged and chord complexity.

Improvisation: Improvisation requires knowing many different scales. Each key has its own key signature, which means how many sharps or flats. The options are dizzying: major and minor scales, blues scales, diminished scales, pentatonic scales, be-bop scales, whole tone scales.

Rhythm: Rhythm is learned by listening and dancing. The clinic features frequent on-line communications featuring examples of jazz tunes and renditions that illustrate the jazz canon: composers, artists, genre. The idea is to listen and interpret, play it your way, and have fun.

Musical composers and artists include George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini, Neal Hefti, Carole King, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, Tadd Dameron, Hoagy Carmichael, Oscar Peterson, Andre Previn, Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, Fats Waller, Bill Evans, Marian McPartland.

Teaching sources include John Mehegan’s Jazz Improvisation, Mark Levine’s The Jazz Theory Book and The Jazz Piano Book, Gene Confer’s Interpretations, Richie Beirach’s Teaching Notes.

Contact us at aftersix@aftersixjazz.com to join the Jazz Clinic.






About the Band

After Six combines the musical talents of some of the finest jazz musicians in the Northwest. After Six as been entertaining the region with the music of Ellington, Gershwin, Arlen, Mercer, Rogers, Hefti and many other jazz and blues luminaries for 25 years. Our band members exhibit extraordinary improvisational musicianship at both public and private venues.