Main Subject Accordion Jazz & Pop 3

Module code
Curricular domain
Practical Classes
Group size
Number of course weeks
Class duration
One 50-minute lesson per week
Total contact hours
26 hours
Study load
450 hours

Form / content / level

Admitted to the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop Accordion main subject year 3.
See Competencies Matrix.
Further developing the technical and professional aspects of playing the accordion in the different styles of jazz, pop and related genres. Students will be able to demonstrate their command of the various elements of the technical exam before an assessment panel. (See Content for learning aims and contents of this technical exam.)
Solo accordion: studying the accordion as a solo instrument. Students will be able to give a solo performance on accordion of a suitable composition from jazz, pop or a related style.
Project: each student will manage a personal project involving an in-depth look at a specific style or musician, with the express expectation that he will also consult other ArtEZ accordion/piano teachers to this end.
Relation to other modules
The main subject lessons are for the most part tailored to the technical exam, the 'solo accordion' assignment and the aforementioned personal project, which means they are slightly more isolated from the other performance and theory modules than in previous years.
All of the criteria mentioned for the technical exam:
Deliberate and healthy posture.
Consistency and control of sound.
Consistency of rhythm.
Relaxation exercises.
Self-regulation skills.
Playing motions.
Scales: all scales over the entirety of the instrument; in parallel, counter movement and mixed movement.
Arpeggios: all arpeggios over the entirety of the instrument; in parallel, counter movement and mixed movement.
Chords: all four-note triads and five-note 7th chords over the entirety of the instrument.
Harmony at the Piano.
Progressions and circles in major and minor.
Modulation and transposition.
A prima vista playing.
Lead sheets.
The student will prepare at least four blues pieces (original or existing), which should be varied in style, tempo, time signature, chord progression, etc.
The student should be able to play each prepared blues in four keys.
Of the four blues pieces, one is required to be performed with both a two beat bass and a walking bass line.
For every blues piece, the student must be able to:
Play the theme.
Play accompaniment (with or without rhythm section).
Play a solo.
In addition, the student is required to be familiar with the historical musical context of each blues.
Note: During the exam, the committee will select at least one blues.
Melodic patterns
Applying chord-tone enclosures, chromatic passing notes and thematic improvisation.
More transposing and reproducing by ear.
The student is required to prepare one piece centered around improvisation over an ostinato, lasting at least four minutes.
Assessment criteria will include tone production, timing, tempo control and coordination, among other things.
Studying the accordion as a solo instrument. Topics of discussion will include, among others:
Rubato modal improvisation.
Rubato playing.
Free improvisation.
Historical solo accordion styles such as tango, latin and French music.
Arrangements of solo piano works.
Each student will manage a personal project involving an in-depth look at a specific style or musician, with the express expectation that he will also consult other ArtEZ teachers to this end.
Bebop themes, lead sheet, big band parts, notating scale degrees, polyphonic music, rhythmically complex structures.
Pieces like Cherokee, Joy Spring, modal pieces (Hancock, Shorter), consciously applying diverse harmonic tonalities, such as altered, octatonic, whole tone, mixolydian #11 and lydian; using upper-structure voicings, improvising with melodic lines, motivic improvisation, free improvisation.
Arranging a melody with chords, e.g., approach chords, planing, quartal voicings and/or pentatonic movement, Coltrane changes.
Studying harmonies from Ellington, Tatum, Monk, Powell, Mingus, Evans, Hancock, Corea, Jarrett, Fischer, Beirach and Wheeler.
Transcriptions for the learning purposes of 'solo piano' and the 'personal project'. Transcriptions are done first by ear, but may also be notated.
By the end of module 3, students are required to have studied at least 60 pieces, preferably knowing them by heart. At the start of the propaedeutic exam (audition), the student will turn in a list of titles and composers, containing both the 40 pieces from the preceding modules and 20 new pieces.
Pieces related to the student's personal project.
Suggested project topics:
Historic piano styles such as stride (James P. Johnson, Thomas 'Fats' Waller, Willie 'The Lion' Smith), boogie (Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons, Jimmy Yancey, Pete Johnson), blues (Cow Cow Davenport, Buddy Montgomery, Roosevelt Sykes, Otis Spann) or New Orleans (Professor Longhair, Dr. John, James Booker).
Music by specific pianists (Scott Joplin, Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Willie 'The Lion' Smith, Thomas 'Fats' Waller, Jelly Roll Morton, Lil Hardin, Earl Hines, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Teddy Wilson, Thelonious Monk, Bud Powell, Erroll Garner, Oscar Peterson, Lennie Tristano, Dave Brubeck, George Shearing, Horace Silver, Ahmad Jamal, Cecil Taylor, Bill Evans, Paul Bley, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, McCoy Tyner, Joe Zawinul).
A specific style of music (hard bop, Detroit Bop, European modern modal, free, 70s funk, rock piano).
A specific skill (arranging pop songs, reharmonization, odd meters).
A specific instrument (Hammond organ, Fender Rhodes, computer).
Mode(s) of instruction
Individual lessons & occasional group lessons (attendance optional).
Material & Tools
Material of module 2, and additionally: Legends Solo, Harmonic Exercises/Clare Fischer, transcriptions.
Student activity
Organizing a performance (band, repertoire, rehearsals) as part of the student concerts and/or project weeks of the faculty; independently organizing a performance (five pieces) as part of the transition exam audition.

Examination and assessment

Mode(s) of assessment
Assessment by the main subject instructor at the end of each semester. A technical exam (an audition for a panel consisting of three examiners) is part of the assessment procedure.
The student should have mastered the elements described under Aims. Specific criteria are: creativity, expression, improvisation, technique, sound, timing, reading skills, repertoire knowledge, progress, self-reflection, session participation, attitude and lesson preparation.
Technical exam: the student should have sufficiently mastered the elements noted under Content.
Pass requirements
The student has completed this module if he is awarded a minimum grade of 5.5 by the instructor as well as for the technical exam at the end of the second semester.
Examination procedure
At the end of both semesters the instructor fills out an assessment form designed specifically for this module. Assessment is comprised of a verbal evaluation and a concluding grade. The instructor reviews this assessment with the student during the first subsequent lesson.

During the spring semester a technical exam is part of the assessment procedure. Examiners use an outline of relevant criteria to assess students, with the average grade being used as the final grade.

Assessment at the end of the autumn semester is formative and expressed in terms of satisfactory/unsatisfactory. It indicates a student's progress in this module. No ECs are awarded and there is no resit. Modules can only be absolved, and ECs awarded, after the end of the spring semester.
Resit options
See the Education and Assessment Plan.

Module summary

This module focuses on in-depth study and development of the student's musical identity and personal taste. Attention is paid in particular to the development of the technical skills required to function as instrumentalist and soloist in various styles of popular/jazz music, including but not limited to: playing in all keys, repertoire knowledge, reading skills, etc. This module is intended to prepare students through weekly lessons for the audition exam at the end of the third year.