Main Subject Guitar Jazz & Pop 1

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
339 hours

Form / content / level

Admitted to the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop Guitar main subject year 1.
See Competencies Matrix.
Acquiring the technical basics required for the student's musical development. Students will be able to play the pieces described under Contents or similar material (self-chosen pieces, other genres) with a band and to improvise over the pieces, demonstrating they have laid a sufficiently solid foundation with respect to musicality, technical ability and musical interaction to play the pieces and apply the acquired theoretical concepts to their playing. In addition, students will show that they have further developed their general technical and musical skills as determined during the entrance exam. For improvisation skills, see Contents. Further developing jazz skills. Building a repertoire (at least 10 standards). The students' development is more important than their current level.

Performing works in different styles with an increasing awareness of style;

improvising over chord progressions and rhythms;

repeating short melodies (a few bars) by ear;

playing simple pieces a prima vista;

demonstrating an awareness of adequate posture and motor coordination;

playing and improvising over five standards without sheet music.
Relation to other modules
The level of instrument proficiency corresponds to the contents of the band and theory modules.

Combo playing: feedback from main subject teacher, tackling problem areas.

Posture: introducing the main playing postures, frequent check-ups to make adjustments where necessary, preventing unwanted muscle tension and injuries.

Tone production and sound: guitars, amps, sound technology and finger coordination.

Applied harmonic theory: keys, scale degrees, modulation, cadences, analyzing harmonic progressions, applying the theory.

Solfège in relation to the instrument: intervals and chords, singing in tune with the guitar, playing what you hear, reproducing by ear.

Studying effectively.

Presentation skills.

Tonal imagination, singing themes/scales/rhythms, phrasing, translating rhythms into musical notes.

Training in rhythm, meter and tempo; developing a sense of tempo by using a metronome and drum computer, rhythmic techniques and patterns, different meters, parts of bars, accents, syncopation, groove, laid back.

Listening to examples: input, reference.

Basic instrument knowledge: learning to solve simple technical issues independently, e.g., intonation issues, buzzing strings, crackling potentiometers.

Developing an awareness of one's own playing level and rate of progress in relation to the requirements of the main subject study.


Pick technique: consistent use of alternate picking, left/right-hand technique, coordination.

General introduction to other picking approaches; introduction to classical picking technique (p-i-m-a) and pick with m-a; working on tone production, articulation and dynamics.

Experimenting with various pick grips, analyzing and developing right-hand motor coordination.

All the major (Greek) modes and melodic minor modes (mixolydian #11, etc.), part of the harmonic minor, bebop scales (especially the major and minor sixth diminished scales); minor and major (dominant) pentatonic scales; introduction to octatonic and whole-tone scales; playing scales sequences in these scales.

Drop 2 and drop 3 voicings in all inversions.

Fluently connecting arpeggiated triads and tetrads over standard cadences such as II-V-I and I -VI-II-V and simple standards such as Autumn Leaves, Out of Nowhere, On Green Dolphin Street, A Night in Tunisia.

Specific pop concepts: major pentatonic, dorian, aeolian, mixolydian, ionian, harmonic minor (metal, soul/R&B).

Specific pop techniques: further developing bending, pre-bending, vibrato, hammer-ons and pull-offs.

Left-hand skills: closed positions, position shifts, horizontal playing.

Choosing a fingering for a bebop theme, studying and playing it with adequate picking, using legato techniques for articulation; level of complexity: similar to Joy Spring, Confirmation.

Left hand: developing position playing: open and closed positions, position shifts, simple legato techniques, coordination.


Analyzing and using a systematic approach to chord fingerings and learning to play various chord types at call.

Seventh chords played as triad-over-bass-note; tetrads with optional additions; tetrads/top tone chords.

Practicing jazz standards of a complexity level similar to:

Donna Lee, There Will Never Be Another You, A Child Is Born;

harmonizing simple themes; complexity level: Someday My Prince Will Come;

rhythm skills in various styles such as swing, Latin and funk.

Tempo, drive, clarity, rubato, listening and responding.

Jazz/pop: accompanying songs in band and duo settings.


Developing different techniques of playing at sight; difficulty level: Yardbird Suite, Someday My Prince Will Come.

Reading after preparation: bebop themes such as Blues for Alice; medium tempo: Out of Nowhere, On Green Dolphin Street; fusion themes: Bright Size Life by Pat Metheny or Ideofunk by John Scofield.

Reading while transposing octaves.

Chord progressions with simple rhythm notation;

playing a prima vista accompaniment over a simple chord progression;

melodic lines in various meters;

introduction to vertical reading: harmonized guitar arrangements;


Transcribing, analyzing and playing along with themes, chord progressions, and solos by guitarists such as Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, John Scofield and Mike Stern.


Applying all the elements described under Technique.

Understanding the relation between harmony and position playing; extensive practice using simple jazz standards; developing ready skills.

Learning to use neighbor tones and passing tones;

understanding solo structures and melodies: consciously using expressive tools such as rhythm, timing, dynamics, articulations, motifs, tonal density, pitch, tonal coloring;

embellishing themes, musical vocabulary, creating phrases, listening and responding, instant composing, creativity.


Studying and memorizing a representative repertoire (scores and recordings) in various styles: blues, rhythm changes, standards such as Afternoon in Paris, Solar, Beautiful Love, bebop pieces such as Ornithology, Scrapple from the Apple, simple modal pieces such as So What, fusion pieces such as Friday Night at the Cadillac Club, Red Baron, Latin pieces such as Recorda Me, How Insensitive.

Developing style-specific skills: timing, microtiming, interpretation, phrasing, rhythm;

musical forms: aaba, abac, aa', blues, bridge, interludes;

classical études: e.g., Bach partitas; Villa-Lobos études.
Mode(s) of instruction
Individual main subject lessons, group lessons focused on a single theme and guest teachers.
Material & Tools
Study material indicated by the instructor (reading, accompanying, harmonization, analyses, theory, chord, scale and arpeggio studies, schemes, etc.).


William Leavitt: Melodic Rhythms For Guitar; M.T. Szymczak: Reading Contemporary Guitar Rhythms.


(New) Real Books, Charlie Parker: Omnibook,


Mel Bay: Complete Book of Jazz Guitar Lines and Phrases;

Les Wise: Bebop Bible;

Jerry Coker: Patterns for Jazz;

Howard Roberts: Guitar Compendium;

Prolicks (Jazz Rock);

Joe Diorio: Fusion Guitar.


Peter O'Mara: Chordal Concept for Jazz Guitar;

General improvisation theory: Joe Pass Guitar Style;

Play-along methods specifically written for guitar, e.g., by Jimmy Raney;

play-along cds, e.g., by Jamey Aebersold;

instruction DVDs.
Student activity
Self-evaluation: identifying weak and strong points; learning by comparing with others; setting individual study aims.

Study planning: study time management; devising a daily practice schedule for techniques like ear skills, sight-reading, etc.; making an inventory of personal strengths/weaknesses and subsequently determining learning aims.

Independent organization: independently organizing a performance (five pieces) as part of the propaedeutic audition (see examination and assessment).

Concert attendance.

Examination and assessment

Mode(s) of assessment
Assessment by the main subject instructor at the end of each semester.
The student should have mastered the elements described under Aims. Specific criteria are: creativity, expression, improvisation, technique, sound, intonation, timing, reading skills, repertoire knowledge, progress, self-reflection, session participation, attitude and lesson preparation.
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

This propaedeutic year is intended to prepare students in weekly lessons for the audition exam at the end of the first year. Students are expected to be able to master a diversity of styles and repertoire at an introductory level (later years focus on in-depth study and specialization).

The crucial criterion is whether students will be able to prepare and perform a successful final exam in the time available.