MUJS 5760, Graduate Jazz Arranging

General Information
MUJS 5760.500, Jazz Arranging (3 credits)
Professor: Richard DeRosa
Class Time – M 4:00 - 5:50, W 4:00 – 4:50 in room 322.

Course description: MUJS 5760 is required of graduate jazz studies majors who are in the jazz composition/arranging track. This course is also open for elective credit for other graduate students who satisfy the course prerequisites.

Prerequisites: MUJS 4620 with a grade of A, and the submission of an electronic portfolio (PDF scores and mp3 recordings) that shows a substantial writing ability for large ensembles.

Reference texts: Changes Over Time – The Evolution of Jazz Arranging by Fred Sturm plus texts from 3610-20 and 4610-20.

MUJS 5760 is approached from various perspectives:

1) an analysis of the evolution of jazz arranging through significant arrangers from the 1920s to the present; in preparation for the comprehensive exam (outside of this course), each student will give a short lecture presentation (with accompanying handouts) of two arrangers (one prior to 1960, one after 1960).

2) with reference to the presentation of arrangers in item 1, the student arranges a short excerpt to capture that specific style (Ragtime, Dixieland, Basie/Sinatra style, Duke, re-harmonizing Great American Standards, Mulligan/Baker, Gil Evans w/Claude Thornhill or Miles Davis, Bill Holman, Oliver Nelson, Thad Jones, Clare Fischer, Brecker Bros., Latin and Brazilian, etc).

3) a focus on writing for orchestra and voices.

4) the business of composition and arranging (simulating professional assignments - create anything in any style with tight deadlines – essentially “arranging on demand”).

5) creating a public school jazz band chart with all of the restrictions required by today's top publishing companies.

The class is also designed as a forum for the composer/arranger. Students may suggest concepts that they would like to pursue as a group.

All students will be expected to create good MIDI demos (using DP, Logic, ProTools, etc., or minimally using Finale with Garritan sounds) of their writing. This has become beneficial, if not expected, in the industry as it helps performers practice the music for a recording session and provides producers (or clients) with a clear impression of the work prior to the human performance. The professor will guide the students in this endeavor.