Provided below are various educational resources designed to help both jazz educators and their students. The Valley Jazz Cooperative, in conjunction with the education area of Music Serving the Word, offers these downloadable handouts free of charge, in support of the continuing development of young musicians. If you find these materials helpful, feel free to share them with your friends and peers.
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Chord Symbol Nomenclature
Not certain what chord symbols mean or don’t know for sure which notes are in a given chord symbol? This handout clearly lays out the rules of chord symbol usage with both text-based explanations and musical examples. It can be valuable resource not just to performers, but to composers and arrangers as well.
When learning more about jazz harmonies, it can be helpful to understand how chord symbols that look very different may actually be closely related. Such an understanding can help a keyboardist, guitarist, or composer/arranger find voicings for harmonies they might not realize they already know (instead of having to learn a completely new series of voicings)..
Common Progressions from Major Keys in "Drop 2" Format
Want to develop your harmonic vocabulary, learning voicings that effectively outline ii – V7 – I progressions typically found in jazz lead sheets and chord charts? This handout takes a very common voicing format (the “Drop 2” chord) and runs it through the twelve Major keys in all inversions. In addition to helping a keyboardist learn a lot of voicings for chord symbols, this handout is great for learning voice leading concepts as one harmony moves to the next.
Common Progressions from Minor Keys in "Drop 2" Format
As a companion to the similar materials for ii – V7 – I (Major key) progressions, this document helps developing jazz keyboardists expand their harmonic vocabulary in Minor key settings. This handout takes the familiar “Drop 2” voicing format and runs it through iiø – V7 – i progressions (commonly found in jazz lead sheets and chord charts) in the twelve Minor keys in all inversions.
Fundamental Rhythm Section Performance Concepts
Unsure as to how guitar, piano, bass, and drums are supposed to work together in a jazz rhythm section? Or unfamiliar with the basics of swing 8th note conception? Whether you are a rhythm section student or a band director, this handout provides foundational information that will help create more successful music-making experiences in jazz ensembles.