"I believe that a truly valuable artist must be an artist who realizes
the impossibility of his task - and then continues to do it."

- Keith Jarrett                     


Copyrighted Curriculum © 2008 Eric Zadan

The Jazz Arts Studio curriculum is presented in six levels, each spanning 23 weeks of classes and combos over the course of approximately six months. All classes and combos are conducted Sunday through Thursday evenings, year-round, with scheduled one or two-week breaks throughout.

Throughout all levels, students are asked not only to learn the material, but also to be able to identify it aurally and integrate it into their playing. Essentially - know it, hear it, play it. Towards this goal, three forms of evaluation are used: written tests, ear training tests and jazz boards.

Graphs are provided above each level to illustrate the approximate amount of class time which is appropriated to each area of instruction. They also provide comparisons from level to level as the program progresses.

The following are integrated throughout the appropriate levels.

Listening Examples
Secondary Jazz Piano
Improvisational Vocabulary
Written Solos
Repertoire Development
Transcriptions and Analysis
Jazz History
Project Participation
Performance Master Classes


Prerequisites for Level One

      Improvisation Students of All Levels Welcome

      Access to a computer and the Internet
      Cell phone - text capable
      Reasonable technical proficiency on your primary instrument
      Immediate recall of key signatures and the circle of fifths
      Ability to read both clefs common to the Grand Staff
      Ability to read traditional music notation
            (Tablature is not an acceptable substitute)

If needed, tutoring is available to help you prepare for Level One

Level One

Jazz Defined: Primary Characteristics

Approach to Jazz Studies: Areas of Study

Theory versus the Ear in Jazz

Intro to Professional Performance Standards

Practice Techniques

Universals of Instrumental Technique

Principal Eras of Western Music

Survey of Jazz History & Artists
     Stylistic Evolution
     Important Performers, Composers & Arrangers

Intro to the Jazz Repertoire
     Jazz Compositions
     The Great American Songbook
     Other Sources from which Jazz Standards Derive

Form & Analysis

Study of Meter
     Duple, Triple & Odd Meters
     Simple & Compound Meters
     Mixed Meters
     Metric Modulation

Musical Terms & Symbols

Scales: Major; Natural, Harmonic & Melodic Minor; Harmonic Major
     Intro to Parent Scales & Mode Relationships
     Historical Significance of Modes

Pitch Sets by Cardinality
     Trichords, Tetrachords, Pentachords & Hexachords
     Monads, Dyads, Triads & Tetrads

     Enharmonic Equivalents

     Common Transpositions
     Transposition in Performance

Triads & 7th Chords
     Classical versus Jazz Nomenclature

Intro to Voice Leading

Intro to Voicings
     Close & Open Voicings
     Rooted & Rootless Voicings
     Drop 2 and Drop 2 & 4 Voicings

Intro to Traditional Harmonic Analysis
     Major & Minor Diatonic Harmony
     Chord Families

Cadential Harmony
     Cadence Types

Major & Minor ii7-V7-I7

Intro to Harmonic Dictation

Intro to Chord/Scale Relationships

Correlating Modes of the Major Scale

Intro to Extended Tertian Harmony
     Tensions/Available Tension Chart
     Double-Diminished 7th Chords
     Upper Structures

Chord Symbols Involving Upper Extensions
     Classical versus Jazz Nomenclature
     Slash Chords/Polychords
     Hybrid Chords

Correlating Modes of the Melodic Minor Scale

Correlating Modes of the Harmonic Minor & Harmonic Major Scale

Modal Interchange

Correlating Synthetic Scales: Symmetric & Non-Symmetric
     Octatonic Scale, Augmented Scale, Whole-Tone Scale, Chromatic Scale
     Major, Minor & Altered Pentatonic Scales
     Major & Minor Bebop Scales
     Major & Minor Blues Scales
     Double Harmonic Scales
     Double Harmonic Minor Scales

Polychord/Scale Relationships

Morph Exercise: Application of Modes through Progressions

Intro to Improvisational Concepts
     The Creative Process
     Composing in Real Time
     Real-Time Editing
     Solo Architecture
     Creative Correlatives
     Melodic Phrasing
     Harmonic Phrasing
     Playing the Changes
     Harmonic Generalization
     Derivative Playing
     Angular versus Linear Improvisation

Melodic Patterns: Use & Practice

Common Jazz Styles
     Swing, Bossa, Samba, Ballad, Jazz Waltz, Jazz/Rock, etc.

Repertoire: Insight & Development

Style & Interpretation
     Jazz Rhythms
     Reading Jazz Rhythms

Principles of Rhythmic Dictation
     Traditional & Jazz Rhythms

Intro to Comping: Rhythm
     Interactive & Supportive

Traditional Harmonic Analysis
     Roman Numeral System
     Diatonic & Chromatic Harmony
     Cadential Progressions
     Tonicization & Modulation
     Secondary Dominant Chords
     Analysis of Classical Literature

Jazz Harmonic Analysis
     Dispensing Diatonic Expectations
     Mehegan System

Hybrid Harmonic Analysis

     Pivot Chords (Dual Function)
     Transitional (i.e. “Back-Door”)

Harmonic Rhythm
     Definition and Use
     Double Time Feel & Double Time
     Harmonic Anticipation

Common Harmonic Tendencies
     Cycles, Turnarounds & Turnbacks
     Back-cycling V7 Chords
     Contiguous V7 Chords

Common Progressions
     Rhythm Changes
     Other Common Progressions




Prerequisites for Level Two
     Satisfactory completion of Level One

Level Two

Professional Notation Standards
     Lead Sheet Techniques
     Jazz & Commercial Chart Techniques

Principles of Melodic Dictation

The Ensemble: Form, Devices & Techniques
     Roles within the Ensemble
     Listening Skills, Interaction & Comping
     Collective Articulations & Dynamics
     Balance, Blend & Texture
     Visual Communication
     Implications of the Count-Off
     Pocket, Feel & Tempo
     Intros, Interludes, Endings, Vamps, Shout Choruses & Verses
     Trading Passages of Four Bars, Eight Bars, etc.
     Tutti, Harmonization, Counter Melodies & Background Figures
     Ostinato, Contrary Motion, Pedal Point

Rhythm Section Concepts

Principles of Melody & Line Construction
     Range, Contour, Form & Cohesion
     Melodic Rhythm
     Sequence, Repetition & Rhythmic Variation
     Motivic Development
     Melodic Manipulation
     Inversion, Retrograde & Retrograde Inversion
     Types of Nonharmonic Tones

Improvisation Devices
     Target Tones
     Approach Tones
     Horizontal & Vertical Melodic Implications
     Delayed Resolutions
     Melodic Embellishments
     Cliches & Quotes
     Predictability & Surprise
     Augmentation & Diminution
     Stylistic Coloration

Sight Reading Techniques
     Memorization Loops
     Pattern Recognition

Study & Performance of Bach Inventions & Fugues


     Exploring Rootless Voicings
     Shells: 2 Definitions
     Category A & B Voicings
     Drop 2 add Tension

     Employing Rootless Voicings
     Employing Harmonic Anticipation

Guide Tones


Intro to Reharmonization
     Chord Substitutions/Alterations
     Changing Chord Quality
     Diatonic & Diminished Substitutions
     Related ii7 Chords
     Added ii7-V7 Chords
     Passing & Approach Chords
     Tri-Tone Substitutions
     Borrowed Chords
     Incorporating Ascending & Descending Bass Lines
     Reharmonization Examples: Blues & Rhythm Changes




Prerequisites for Level Three
     Satisfactory completion of Level Two

Level Three


Modal Harmony
     Modal Chord Families

Coltrane Changes


Advanced Voicings
     Quartal & Quintal Voicings
     Modal Voicings
     “So What” Chord
     Cluster Voicings
     Fragment Voicings
     Quantified Intervallic Voicings

Advanced Harmonic Dictation

Transcription Techniques

Transcription Analysis

Exploration & Application of Extended Tertian Harmony
     Harmonic Implications
     Tensions in a Lead Sheet or Chart
     Decisions in Real-Time

Comping: Further Considerations
     Employing Tensions within a Progression
     Melodic Comping

Accompanying Skills

Inductive Rhythms

Self-Auditing & Analysis

Advanced Ensemble Techniques
     Anticipatory Interaction
     Improvisational Ensemble Texture
     Complex Style Devices




Prerequisites for Level Four
     Satisfactory completion of Level Three

Level Four

Live Performance Skills
     Performance Anxiety
     Planning & Preparation
     General "On-the-Gig" Skills
     Stage Presence

Business of Music
     Business Terms
     Communication Skills
     Negotiation Techniques
     Music Performance Contracts
     Marketing & Promotion
     The Media as a Resource
     Fair Market Value: Determining Performance Fees
     Performance Rights
     Copyright Protection
     Ethical Standards & Practices
     Financial Skills for the Working Musician

Advanced Musical Concepts
     Perspective Listening
     Performing with Musicians of Varied Backgrounds & Skills

Specialized Performance Skills
     Conducting Skills
     Following a Conductor
     Playing in a Pit Orchestra
     Orchestral Engagements
     Recording Session Work

Recording Studio Techniques




Prerequisites for Level Five
     Satisfactory completion of Level Four

Level Five

Advanced Improvisation Devices
     Scale Superimposition
     Triadic Upper Structures
     Symmetrical Patterning
     Melodic Templates
     Side-Stepping, Parallelism & Planing
     Intervallic Line Construction
     Digital Thematic Patterns
     Phrasing Against the Harmonic Grain
     Hemiola & Other Rhythmic Devices

Advanced Comping Techniques

Advanced Transcription Analysis

Advanced Harmonic Concepts

Arranging & Composing (Large & Small Ensemble)
     Overview of Brass, Woodwinds, Strings, Synths & The Rhythm Section
     Instrumental Ranges & Transposition
     Foreground/Background Interaction
     Melodic Harmonization Techniques
     Advanced Ensemble Voicing Techniques
     Part Writing
     Writing for the Rhythm Section
     Line Writing
     Advanced Devices




Prerequisites for Level Six
     Satisfactory completion of Level Five

Level Six

Study of Commercial & Studio Music

Jazz Pedagogy

Artistic & Professional Performance Studies




Private Study

While classes and combos offer plenty of opportunity for individualized and focused attention, private lessons with Eric Zadan are also available.

Ongoing lessons are available exclusively to qualified students enrolled in the program. Non-enrolled students are instructed on a lesson-by-lesson basis at the single lesson rate.

Private tutorial lessons are available with an assistant on an as-needed basis.

Additionally, private lessons with an associate professional are available for Jazz Arts Studio students at an appropriate level. A recommendation from Eric Zadan is required.



Professional Certificate
Satisfactory completion
Levels One thru Four
(333.50 hours)

Artist Diploma
Satisfactory completion
Levels Five & Six
(253.00 hours)

Extra Combo
(2x weekly)
(1x weekly)
1.25 Hrs.
2.50 Hrs.
  57.50 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
3.00 Hrs.
  69.00 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
4.50 Hrs.
103.50 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
4.50 Hrs.
103.50 Hrs.
2.00 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
5.50 Hrs.
126.50 Hrs.
2.00 Hrs.
1.50 Hrs.
5.50 Hrs.
126.50 Hrs.