Main Subject Viola 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
339 hours

Form / content / level

Admitted to the ArtEZ Jazz & Pop Viola main subject year 3.
See Competencies Matrix.
Further developing the technical and artistic aspects of viola playing in the different styles of pop/jazz. Students will be able to demonstrate their command of the various elements of the technical exam before an assessment panel.
Relation to other modules
The contents of the main subject lessons are for the most part tailored to the technical exam, which means they are slightly more isolated from the other performance and theory modules than in previous years.

All common scales and chords in first to sixth position, including difficult tetrads such as maj7#5, maj7#4 and dom7#5; applying the Gustorff lick system to pieces like rhythm changes.


Fred Lipsius: Reading Key Jazz Rhythms 1-24; playing uptempo jazz themes such as Moose the Mooche, Crazeology, Confirmation; big band parts (medium).


Transcribing solos, e.g., by Jean-Luc Ponty, Didier Lockwoord, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderly.


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, free improvisation, improvisation in first to sixth position.


Self-chosen pieces, jazz standards, bebop themes and fusion pieces, in various tempi and with increasingly complex chord changes, e.g., Invitation, Bolivia, playing circa 60 pieces by heart and improvising over them.


A selection of the following items (note that by the end of year three the student should have mastered all parts):

1. Scales.

Major, lydian, melodic minor, dorian, altered, mixolydian#11, pentatonic, blues scale, octatonic, chromatic and whole tone. All played over three octaves, in thirds (two variations), in fourth (two variations), as diatonic triads, as diatonic tetrads and in different patterns.

2. Chords.

Major, minor, diminished and augmented triads and major7, minor7, dominant7, half diminished and major-minor tetrads. All played chromatically, in a circle of fifths, in inversions and with different patterns.

3. II-V-I

All kinds of II-V-I chord progressions using mixolydian#11, octatonic and altered scales, diatonic progressions, chromatic progressions and thirds / fourth / Coltrane changes.

4. Classical Etudes.

A classical etude or a Bach solo sonate of choice. For example: Kreutzer: Etudes ou Caprices, Dont, Mazas, Sitt, Gavanies: 24 studies, Polo: double stops.

5. Transcription

A transcription of a non-violin player with a 'higher' difficulty.

6. Specials.

Playing and using several techniques in a self-written etude or prepared improvisation: riccochet, ponticello, pizzicato, chord playing (arco en pizz), flageolets, glissandi, trills and tremolos, one tone fingering, chopping in different rhythms and grooves.
Mode(s) of instruction
Individual lessons & occasional group lessons.
Material & Tools
Real Books, Charlie Parker: Omnibook, Fred Lipsius: Reading Key Jazz Rythms, Gustorff lick system, recordings of the pieces to be played.
Student activity
Organizing a performance (band, repertoire, rehearsals) as part of the annual Jazz & Pop strings student concert.

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, intonation, 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 Contents.
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 module is intended to prepare students through weekly lessons for the audition exam at the end of the third year. 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 high positions and all keys, repertoire knowledge, reading skills