Main Subject Composition 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
25 hours
Study load
451 hours

Form / content / level

Admitted to the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop Composition main subject year 3.
See Competencies Matrix.
Learning to compose and arrange in various styles/idioms and for a range of different instrumentations.

further developing artistic and technical skills.

Rehearsing self-written pieces and leading bands.

Learning to navigate in the different domains of applied music and adapting to the world of digital media.
Relation to other modules
The module Harmony at the Piano for Composing 2 teaches students how to effectively use the piano as a tool for composing and analyzing pieces.

The module Ear Training 2 is intended to further develop the student's musical hearing.

The module Computers and Music teaches the basic principles of digitally processing sheet music (Finale or Sibelius) and sequencing (Logic or Cubase)

The module Music Theory for Composing/Arranging Jazz & Pop is taught by a teacher in classical music theory and addresses key aspects of musical theory, including but not limited to: musical analysis, counterpoint, theory of musical form, and twentieth-century music.

Depending on his talents and interests, the student can choose to follow modules in instrument skills, music theory, music technology, music for images, video, etc. See the Curriculum Overview.

The program below will be distributed over the second and third year of the study, depending on the student's interests and collaboration/performance possibilities.

Big band jazz: specific brass and saxophone techniques; early styles (Miller, Dorsey, Goodman); Gil Evans; Basie (Nestico, Hefti, Quincy Jones); Ellington; Kenton; Thad Jones; Brookmeyer; Mintzer; Django Bates, etc.

Jazz quintet to octet: including Dutch musicians such as Braam and Fondse.

Vocal music, a cappella and accompanied, by ensembles from Singers Unlimited to Take 6

Brass instruments in pop and funk.

Strings and woodwinds in e.g., the Metropole Orchestra or a similar ensemble.

String quartets such as Zapp String Quartet.

Other types of bands and crossover, e.g., Meridian Arts Ensemble.

Techniques from contemporary serious music, e.g., Strawinsky, Alban Berg, Messiaen.

Placement, function, and effective use of music with video, theater and dance.

Influence of spoken and sung text on melody, harmony, rhythm, tempo etc., and on musical idiom more generally.


Selected pieces to support the above.

Music for video: aural study of the effective use of music for various genres (e.g., detectives, documentaries, commercials, movies).

Music for theater: aural study with special attention for the relation between script and music.


Detailed general study, with specific attention for Samuel Adler: The Study of Orchestration.


Discussing self-composed pieces. In year two and three, the student should minimally compose:

one big band piece;

one arrangement of an existing big band piece;

one jazz composition for an octet or larger ensemble;

two pop compositions with vocals for a typical pop band instrumentation;

two pop pieces for a different instrument combination;

one piece for string quartet with the possible addition of one or two other instruments;

one vocal piece or arrangement of an existing vocal piece for an a cappella ensemble;

one piece or arrangement of an existing piece for multiple voices and a band;

one 'world music' piece for an instrument combination of the student's choice (latin, balkan, klezmer, african etc.);

one piece for percussion (incl. mallet instruments);

and one or more instruments with audio track or live electronic music.

Applied music:

one piece with dancers and instrumentation of choice (incl. electronic);

music for a short theater production which includes vocal parts;

music for a short movie;

and music for a commercial.
Mode(s) of instruction
Individual lessons and group lessons, which are also attended by students from different years of the main course.

Occasionally attending classes by other ArtEZ composition instructors (Alex Manassen, Jan-Bas Bollen, teachers of the Media Music department).

Occasionally attending classes in which instructors in choreography, theater or film address composed pieces.
Material & Tools
A selection from the reading list above, based on the student's development and the characteristics of his own compositions; selected materials to support the elements mentioned under 'composition/arrangement technique' and 'analysis and transcription'.
Student activity
Composing/arranging original pieces.

Organizing performances; studying and recording compositions by the student.

Attending a wide and diverse range of concerts.

Building a professional network of potential performers and fellow students of Composition, including students at other locations.

Building a professional network, contacting and cooperating with students from other disciplines (Dance, Visual, Film and Theater).

Presenting and discussing self-written pieces with fellow ArtEZ students of Composition.

Examination and assessment

Mode(s) of assessment
Assessment by the main subject instructor at the end of each semester. A technical exam is part of the assessment procedure.
Generally, the criteria are: consistency, efficiency, economy of means, practicality, instrinsic persuasiveness, richness, balance, intelligence, motivation, inventiveness, stylistic awareness, imagination, reflection (analysis, presentation), timing, authenticity, diversity, and multidisciplinary diversity.
Pass requirements
The student has completed this module if he is awarded a minimum grade of 5.5 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. 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

The modules Composition Jazz & Pop (2 and 3) are intended to teach students to compose and arrange in different styles/idioms for a range of instrument combinations and to further expand their artistic and technical development. In addition, students learn to navigate in the various domains of applied music and the world of digital media.