In order to be exempted from MUJS 1371 (Jazz Keyboard Fundamentals), you must demonstrate your proficiency by comping through a variety of common jazz progressions using the following voicing structures:
- Rooted voicings: with 2 notes, 3 notes, and 4 notes
- Rootless voicings: with 2 notes and 3 notes only
You must also be able to play all major, minor, augmented, and diminished root position triads and their inversions, as well as all root position seventh chords (major, minor, dominant, half diminished, fully diminished).
The textbook for MUJS 1371, “Jazz Keyboard Harmony” by Phil DeGreg, is the most helpful tool in preparing for this exam.
- First, consult pages 1-18 to review keyboard fundamentals and learn about effective practice strategies for internalizing voicings at the keyboard.
- Then, study, memorize and internalize the voicings from Chapters 1-4 (pages 22-99). Use Appendices A and B (pages 225-230) to practice the voicings through a variety of common jazz chord progressions. Be sure to practice minor ii-V-I’s, dominant cycles, major cycles, and the diminished/tri-tone sub pattern…do not simply learn major ii-V-I’s.
- In the exam, which takes about 10 minutes, you will be asked to play through randomly selected progressions found in Appendix B (pages 227-230) at approximately 88-100 bpm, using randomly selected voicing structures from Chapters 1-4. You can expect to play through a variety of progressions: major ii-V-I’s, minor ii-V-i’s, dominant cycles, major cycles, and diminished/tri-tone sub progressions.
- You are allowed to miss up to four chords in any progression. If you miss a chord, simply keep going in tempo…do not stop and try to correct yourself. Play the exercise as if it were a real-world performance situation.
- If you miss more than four chords, you will be asked to stop the exercise. You will be given an extra minute to practice the progression and then you may try again. If you fail the exercise again, you may be asked to take MUJS 1371.
The instructor reserves the right to make final placement decisions based on overall performance in the exam.
Aim to become generally proficient with these voicings rather than memorizing a single exercise.