Jazz Piano, Composition & Rhythm Section Classes for Everyone!

Posted by on Apr 1, 2017 in Education

Spring 2017 Classes

Jazz Piano


Inside the Rhythm Section

 Saturdays, April 15 through June 3, 2017
Classes at :: Denver School of the Arts – 7111 Montview Blvd., Denver


We are very pleased to announce that Jeff Jenkins will be leading our Saturday classes this semester.

Jeff Jenkins has released six CD’s in the last 2 decades. The most recent on Origin Records entitled “The Arrival”, is his first in the classic organ trio setting.  He has appeared with many jazz greats including: Freddie Hubbard, Eddie Harris, Clark Terry, Marlena Shaw, David Fathead Newman, Teddy Edwards, the Count Basie Orchestra, The New York Voices, Bobby Hutcherson, John Abercrombie, Richie Cole and others.

Jeff attended the University of North Texas, where he led his own groups. After college he moved to New York where he studied with the likes of Richie Beirach, Kenny Barron, and Fred Hersch, while working on Broadway, and in the clubs.  When not playing the piano, Jeff is busy as the jazz piano professor at CU Boulder, and composing documentary film scores for Havey Productions.


Jazz Composition/Arranging :: Saturdays 10:00am-11:15am
The goal of this class is to create a lead sheet of one new original piece of music. This piece will be performed after all classes are completed! We will spend time each week listening and analyzing music written by jazz masters. My goal for students is to become comfortable writing, sharing and discussing music from a composer’s point of view. Topics will include:

  • What do you want to say? How do you say it?
  • The poetry of composing. Trust and embrace your ideas!
  • We discuss form. We talk about shape.
  • Melodic development, repetition, contrast. Melodic accompaniment, counterpoint, counter lines.
  • Melodic tools: inversion, expansion, and fragmentation.
  • Rhythmic frameworks: grooves, and rhythmic treatments, odd meters, odd phrase lengths.
  • Harmony! The dreaded cycle of 5ths. Functional harmony versus non functional harmony.

Jazz Piano II :: Saturdays 11:30am-12:45pm

Jazz Piano II builds on the work of our Jazz Piano I class. Upon completion, students will have a stronger sense of more advanced jazz piano approaches. Many goals including: advanced voicing concepts,
comping rhythms, advanced jazz chord theory and developing a soloing style will be covered and
performed in this class. Classes will include in-depth lectures and demonstrations of all material
presented. Students will be assigned 5 standard jazz tunes to learn for the semester. These
tunes or portions of them will be used to practice the various jazz piano topics in class
and for homework. Topics to include:

  • Advanced Chord Theory
  • Extended Voicings
  • Developing your repertoire
  • Playing styles
  • Advanced 2 handed comping voicings 
  • Creating comping rhythms
  •  Developing your own style of R.H. soloing
Inside the Rhythm Section :: Saturdays 1:00pm-2:15pm

This class is designed for piano, bass, drum and guitar players who are interested in increasing their section skills. The rhythm section is the “boiler room” of the band. It is the foundation that the lead instruments build upon. To be successful, rhythm section players need to form a cohesive unit. Each member needs to have a clear understanding of the unique role they play, and how they mesh with the other members of the section to create the synergy that drives the band.

Topics will include:

  • Playing together as one living, breathing unit
  • Space-The Final Frontier. Listening and responding to the other section players
  • Approaching different jazz styles as a section
  • The unique role each instrument plays in swing, afro-cuban, fusion, ballads, etc

Enroll in more than one class and receive a discount!